Tag Archive | "Ferry Road"

Ferry Road Developers Back with Smaller Condo Plan

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Ferry Road

The old Harborview Professional Building, left, and Remkus Fishing Station in Sag Harbor Village, are once again slated for replacement by a condominium development.

By Stephen J. Kotz

East End Ventures, LLC, the development firm that has tilted with Sag Harbor Village for years over its efforts to build waterfront condominiums behind the 7-Eleven convenience store and next to the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge, is back with a new plan.

In a pre-application submission to the Village Planning Board on Tuesday, attorney Tiffany Scarlato said the firm now wants to build a total of eight condominiums that would be distributed among four separate buildings, with views looking west over Sag Harbor Cove under the name 1,3,5 Ferry Road.

None of the units would be over 2,500 square feet, said East Hampton architect Frank Greenwald, although board members asked why cellar space devoted to family rooms, home gyms and similar amenities was excluded from that calculation.

“The intention is to break the buildings down to as many pieces as we can to keep the mass down,” Mr. Greenwald told the board. The designs would reflect “a Sag Harbor vernacular” with some construction in brick, others in clapboard or shingles, he added.

Ms. Scarlato told the board the project as proposed would not require any variances, and Planning Board chairman Gregory Ferraris said his board would lead the review of the project through the requirements of the State Environmental Review Act process once a complete application is submitted, perhaps as early as next month.

The property is in the office district zone, but apartments can be built in the zone if an applicant obtains a special exception permit. The old Harborview Professional Building and the former Remkus Fishing Station buildings would be razed as part of the project.

In prior applications, the developers have claimed a right to build up to 40 units and submitted varying proposals calling for 22 or 18 condos at the site.

In 2009, their plans were caught in the middle of a villagewide upzoning, and the firm, whose principals are Emil Telal and Michael Maidan, filed two suits against the village, one seeking to challenge the village’s right to halt their application, and the other a civil rights suit that sought more than $30 million in damages. Both suits were dismissed.

Mr. Ferraris, who was mayor at the time of the prior application, said the East End Ventures application could not be processed at the time because the firm had not submitted a complete application before the village changed its zoning code.

The property being eyed for the latest development totals 71,630 square feet, although a site-plan filed with the application indicates that some 13,443 square feet of property would be given to the village as a gift. That parcel would apparently be next to a parcel the village is considering developing as Cove Park.

The developers also plan, at some time in the future, to come in with an application to redevelop the site of a large white residence formerly owned by the attorney Bruce Davis of 1-800-Lawyer fame.

SEQRA requires that the two applications be reviewed together, Mr. Ferraris said, because they are adjacent parcels.

In taking their first look at the application, planners had two basic concerns. New board member James Larocca questioned why the 1,250-square-foot basements in each unit were not listed as habitable space, even though floor plans said they would be used for things like family rooms and home gyms.

The board’s attorney, Denise Schoen, concurred that they application should be amended to include those areas in the habitable space.

Mr. Larocca and board member Larry Perrine also said they were concerned by how the condominium property would interact with the neighboring public waterfront.  Ms. Scarlato said the developers’ chief concern would be security, and Mr. Greenwald added privacy would also be an issue.

Harbor Heights Project

In other action, the board adopted a negative declaration under SEQRA for the amended and vastly scaled back redevelopment of the Harbor Heights service station under the name Petroleum Ventures, LLC.

A negative declaration means the board will not require an environmental impact statement with the project. It also issued a negative declaration in 2012 for the original project.

The board also scheduled the application for a public hearing at its next meeting, on November 25.

In its prior incarnation, the plan spurred heated opposition among neighbors who raised concerns about increased traffic and lighting and who objected to plans to expand a pre-existing business use in a residential zone. Petroleum Ventures sought a slew of variances from the village Zoning Board of Appeals, of which one, were denied.

The board’s environmental consultant, Richard Warren, said the applicant now plans to use a 600-square-foot portion of the existing 1,855-square-foot building for a convenience store and plans to have three pump islands under a 15-foot canopy. A 30-foot landscaped perimeter between neighboring properties is also proposed.

ZBA Application Fees Up $350 in North Haven Village

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By Claire Walla

Citing net losses of nearly 30 percent over the past few years, the North Haven Village Board of Trustees have voted unanimously to raise the fee for applications before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The cost will increase from $600 to $950 — effective immediately.

“We shouldn’t be losing money,” said Village Trustee Diane Skilbred, echoing the sentiments of her fellow board members at the trustees monthly meeting on Tuesday when the vote was taken.

Village Clerk Georgia Welch explained that while applicants have historically paid to have their applications heard by the board, in recent years the number of applications has risen dramatically. Whereas the board used to hear anywhere from zero to three applications a month, since 2008 the board has typically seen around five applications.

One year Welch said the board ultimately took in $3,000 in application fees, but ended up spending $5,000 in service fees; another year applications totaled $6,000, while service fees cost $9,000. These fees include payments for a stenographer and other legal services, “because it’s a quasi-judicial board,” Welch explained. “There are avenues where court action can be taken.”

The fee will apply to all new applications going forward. Welch said all applications that are currently in the process of being heard will be unaffected by the village’s new fee.

Unsatisfactory Signage, to Some

North Haven resident Carol Ahlers isn’t pleased. In reference to a wooden sign bearing block lettering that was recently erected at the corner of a residence on Ferry Road, she wrote, “you can’t miss it, it’s ugly, it’s illuminated at night and it’s huge.”

She continued, “Can we make this sign disappear?”

Members of the North Haven Village Board said they had already contacted Village Attorney Anthony Tohill about the matter.

“It’s awfully close to the road,” said Trustee Jeff Sander.

“We suspect it’s on village property,” added Welch.

In fact, the only signs permitted in the village are nameplate or professional signs (not to exceed two square feet); real estate signs (not to exceed four square feet); and subdivision signs (not to exceed 10 square feet), for which residents are also required to obtain a building permit.

Sag Harbor Village Expected to Bid on MTA Property

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The Village of Sag Harbor will bid on a 16,405 square-foot, waterfront property owned by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Long Island Railroad – a piece of land the developers of the stalled Ferry Road condominium property are also trying to acquire through an adverse possession claim.

On June 4, the Village of Sag Harbor received the MTA’s request for proposal (RFP) packet for the sale of the property after having expressed interest in the land for a number of years. While the developers of a proposed luxury condominium project adjacent to the LIRR-owned land, East End Ventures, originally said they were in contract to buy the property from the MTA, after those talks stalled, they filed an adverse possession claim with the county Supreme Court.

That claim has yet to be adjudicated, according to Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and according to the RFP the site is being sold subject to that claim and any purchaser will be substituted as the defendant in that case and must indemnify the MTA and the LIRR in any further claims against the authorities for selling the land.

East End Ventures has also cited the village’s interest in the parcel in a $30 million claim against the village, its attorneys and planning consultant. They argue the village, in the revision of its zoning code, specifically sought to stall plans for the proposed luxury condominium project.

That case is also ongoing.

According to Thiele, the MTA has gone out publicly to bid on the parcel as a part of changes to state laws regarding how public authorities operate.

“There have been a lot of concerns about the way public authorities operated typically,” said Thiele of the public authority reform bill. “There have been concerns over the lack of transparency, openness and accountability.”

Thiele said governing bodies of public authorities are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the state senate, but after that they have been able to operate independently. One change in the legislation, that particularly affects Sag Harbor and this piece of LIRR-owned land, is a new requirement where, when authorities dispose of land, they must publicly offer it in an RFP. Thiele said previously, there were cases where authorities disposed of land to private entities “behind closed doors” without local public input or the knowledge of local government.

Now that the MTA has publicly put the sale of the land out to bid — with a minimum purchase price of $82,500 — Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said this week the village would certainly bid on the property with the hopes of creating a larger waterfront park for residents.

According to Thiele, when the MTA entertains the various bids submitted — the deadline is July 23 — it must not only consider taking the highest financial offer, but must look at the community benefit of any sale.

“Obviously this is somewhat relevant here because there is the potential interest of the village in the property,” he said. “And there would be an overt public benefit to the taxpayers of the State of New York if a public park was created.”

Ferry Road to Close for Culvert Repair

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A portion of Ferry Road in North Haven will be closed sometime early next year, between Sunset Beach Road and Tyndall Road, to repair an eroding culvert.

Because Ferry Road, also known as Route 114, is state owned, the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) will pay for and oversee the reconstruction, reported North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch.

The culvert has been damaged for several years but it is now compromising the shoulder of the roadbed. Before beginning the project, the DOT is waiting for a permit from the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). The construction is expected to take around a week to complete. During this time, however, a section of the road must be closed to traffic.

At a village meeting on Tuesday evening, Welch reported that the best time for the project would be in early January. If the DOT receives the permits in time, the repairs will likely start at the beginning of the new year. Traffic to and from the Shelter Island Ferry will be redirected through Sunset Beach and Tyndall road.

Welch said the DOT will contact homeowners in the area and put up electronic signs on the road to alert drivers of the roadwork up ahead.

“I have been dying to get that [culvert] fixed for the last five years,” remarked village trustee James Morrissey.

The board also discussed the successful program to get abandoned boats off of the beach at the end of Sunset Beach road. At the end of October, there were 13 seafaring vessels at the beach but now there is only one red kayak on the shores without a permit. Welch said the board should assess the condition of the kayak and then decide how to dispose of it.

Village Braces for Second Suit over Waterfront Condos

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The village of Sag Harbor has been served with a notice of claim by East End Ventures, the firm that has sought to construct 18 condominiums on Sag Harbor’s waterfront. The claim lays the groundwork for a possible multi-million lawsuit against the village over a new village code that drastically changes what development is legal on the parcel known to village residents as Ferry Road.

The same firm has already filed suit against the village over the enactment of the village code, which they allege was done without proper environmental review.

During a Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, September 8, Mayor Brian Gilbride confirmed the village had received the notice of claim. According to village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. such an action is required before a formal lawsuit seeking monetary damages can be filed against a municipality.

The notice of claim charges that the village “acted in bad faith in delaying [East End Ventures’] applications while the zoning code was changed.” In addition to seeking monetary relief, the notice of claim also asks East End Ventures’ proposal for 18 waterfront condos and 18 accessory boat slips be reviewed under the old village code.

In addition to prohibiting the construction of three-story buildings, which was proposed by the developers, the new code also reduces the number of units allowed on the parcel by more than half. In July, building inspector Tim Platt informed the Sag Harbor Planning Board, which has been reviewing a number of different proposals for the property over the last two years, that the current project did not comply with the new village code, effectively ending the review.

In related news, Mayor Gilbride said a title search was currently underway regarding a parcel located between the Ferry Road property and village owned beachfront. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority announced last month it intended to sell the property to East End Ventures, despite village requests since 1996 that the authority sell the land to the village with an ultimate goal of creating a public park next to the Lance Corporal Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge.

Budget Woes

Sag Harbor Trustees are closely watching the current village budget, facing unexpected increases in retirement benefit costs as well as a decrease in transient dock rentals.

On Tuesday, Gilbride said the cost of the village’s retirement system for civil service employees and police officers could increase by $100,000 in February. According to Gilbride, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli informed municipalities that the state has seen a 27 percent decrease in investment revenues for the system.

“What happens is when the plan earns more in interest our contribution is less,” explained Gilbride on Wednesday. “In real hard times, when we can least afford it, our contribution goes up.”

Gilbride said increases may not be limited to this year alone. The village is currently exploring pending state legislation that would allow the village to pay for the increase over a 10 year period, said Gilbride, but may choose instead to pay upfront depending on the interest rate the state offers municipalities under the amortization plan.

In other budget news, trustee Tim Culver announced the village’s transient dock revenues are down $8000 from projected revenues in the current village budget, although Labor Day revenues have yet to be calculated. Last budget cycle trustees planned for a decrease, budgeting $25,000 less in revenue from the harbors and docks.

“It may turn out we are right on budget,” said Culver.

However, trustees said use of the village docks was noticeably down this season.

“This is the first year we have actually had slips available and sometimes there are even vacant slips down there and that never, never has happened,” said Gilbride.

Justice Court Talks Renewed

On Tuesday, the board voted to support a grant application for the Town of Southampton for the creation of video arraignments in its justice court, although Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano said he would like to see talks of a Sag Harbor Village Justice Court renewed.

With discussions of Southampton Town moving its justice court out of its village and into Hampton Bays, talk of a village court has been on the table since 2004. After lawsuits, the addition of a fourth judge in Southampton Town, talk of video arraignments and the town’s continued use of its Southampton court, trustees pulled back from the concept in 2007.

“The video arraignment is nice, but it will not resolve the issues we have,” said Fabiano on Tuesday, citing transportation costs, loss of potential revenues and a lack of control as reasons to re-open discussions about a village justice court.

“Southampton Village went to its own court and it has been more profitable and they have had more control over village issues,” said Fabiano.

Madison Street resident Patricia Field approached the board on Tuesday night, objecting to Stacey Pennebaker’s requests to expand an accessory housing law to include detached units. Under the current code, accessory apartments are allowed as attached units. Pennebaker has approached the board on a number of occasions asking them to broaden the law in favor of creating more affordable housing opportunities.

Field charged that Pennebaker, who is her neighbor, has made these requests for personal reasons, alleging a barn on Pennebaker’s property has been converted into an illegal apartment.

On Wednesday, Pennebaker said this is “a private dispute between two neighbors that regrettably has become public.” She said she would cooperate with village officials as they look into the matter.

In other village news, the board granted village planner Richard Warren of Inter-Science Research Associates permission to increase water quality testing at Havens Beach after rain events in order to test more locations at the bathing beach. The village is hoping current testing will identify a source of contamination in a stormwater runoff ditch at the bathing beach so they may remediate the area.

“It certainly seems like the right thing to do,” said Gilbride

“Without a doubt,” said Trustee Tiffany Scarlato.

Schedule Hearing for Ferry Road

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During the Village of Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting on Tuesday night, the board scheduled a public hearing for Monday, August 10 at 7 p.m. on a waterfront condominium project on Long Island Avenue known as Ferry Road, but not before the village attorney had sharp words for the developer’s attorney and planner.

Michael Maidan and a group of investors under the limited liability corporation East End Ventures have proposed 18 waterfront condos with 18 accessory docks on a parcel of waterfront adjacent to the Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge. The planning board has been waiting for several months for the completion of a draft environmental impact statement, in which the developers answer questions posed by the community and board members about effects the project may have on the village.

Last Wednesday, the village received copies of the massive document, which enables the board to bring the project in front of the public for review, although Sag Harbor Village Attorney Anthony Tohill scolded the project’s attorney and planner for a lack of communication and timeliness in delivering the tome of research.

In accepting the documents for public review, a resolution drafted by Tohill pointed to the fact the board expected to receive the work prior to last’s months meeting. As the meeting neared, village consultants attempted to reach consultants at VHB Engineering, Surveying and Landscaping Architecture, which was preparing the impact statement, only to discover the applicants would seek an extension just hours before the meeting. Tohill added the documents were then handed in late, placing a burden on the board and its planner to review the work prior to Tuesday’s meeting. 

Despite what the resolution termed “the failures of communication by the applicant’s representative,” and the disruption of the regulatory process, the board agreed to accept the documentation for review, although Sag Harbor Building Inspector Tim Platt will need to determine whether the plan complies with village code. The village has recently adopted a new zoning code that changes what is allowed at the parcel, limiting the developers to just six-units, although the board will rely on Platt’s determination, expected to be filed by July 17, before they can discuss the new code in relation to the luxury condo project.

VHB representative Kim Gennaro stressed to the board it was not the intention of her firm to frustrate the board with minimal time to review the documents, but that she believed the board would have a longer period of time to go over the work. At the request of village planner Richard Warren, Gennaro promised to have copies available for review by members of the public and other involved government agencies by the July 4 holiday weekend. 

In other planning board news, board member Ann Hansen submitted her resignation on Tuesday night. Hansen’s replacement will be announced at the village’s reorganizational meeting on July 6 at noon.

“It has been my privilege to serve the village since 1994,” said Hansen. “Good luck to my successor.”

New Proposal for Ferry Road; Challenge to Parcel Ownership

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By Marissa Maier and Bryan Boyhan

Developers for the planned condominium complex on Ferry Road adjacent to the bridge in Sag Harbor have proposed what they hope will be a plan that will satisfy local boards who have been skeptical and critical of previous incarnations.

At the same time, a local organization has commissioned a title survey for the property, the results of which challenge the developer’s ability to build as large a project as proposed.

Mark D’Andrea, project manager for developer Michael Maidan’s East End Ventures delivered to the village this week a design he said addresses most, if not all, the concerns the village’s boards and the community have about the project.

It is, he said, smaller and offers a less intensive use of the property.

“We could, by right, have 40 units there,” claimed D’Andrea last week. Instead, the current plan is for 18 units, the same number as proposed last year, but still fewer than the 22 when the project was first pitched two years ago.

The most recent plan also features a new architect, Kathryn Fee of Bridgehampton.

Fee proposes to break the development up into five separate buildings. There will be small streets around the buildings to create the feeling of a “village within a village.”

    ”The concept is to break down the massive feeling, and create more of a townhouse façade,” said Fee. In earlier proposals, the development was housed in one large brick building. Fee said separating the units into townhouse buildings was more consistent with the architectural character of the village.

    With the new design, four buildings will have three units and will surround a center building, containing six units. Each of these buildings will use different colored brick material to make the buildings look like “they had evolved over time.” Every unit will have a balcony. Fee also designed gardens on two rooftops.

    In addition to the rooftop gardens, Fee incorporated several eco-friendly building features into the design of the project. Insulated concrete form will be used for the buildings, which lessens the amount of energy needed to heat and cool the units. Fee also integrated the use of efficient gas boilers, which are activated only when a person is occupying the unit.

    Overall these green building designs will increase the price of development by almost seven percent, said Fee. She added that this percentage will probably translate to a few hundred thousands dollars.

    Fee hopes the project will receive a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, and believes this certification will make the project more agreeable to the village. Fee’s design concept was already presented to the village’s Historical Preservation and Architectural Review board last fall. During these meetings, Fee said her designs received favorable feedback from the board.

But ownership of an abandoned road may stand in the way of the project moving forward.

At issue is a parcel of land once used as an approach to the first bridge that crossed between Sag Harbor and North Haven. In the late 1800s, the Long Island Rail Road acquired, through condemnation, much of the property that East End Ventures hopes to develop. The LIRR in the early part of the last century granted an easement on that property to the village for a road that led to that bridge, which was several hundred feet further to the west than the current bridge.

The bridge was eventually moved in the 1930s, and the access road abandoned. In the ensuing years the land owned by the railroad was sold to a succession of owners, including former Sag Harbor mayor James McMahon, members of the Remkus family, and members of the Diner family, all who used the property — including the road bed — to some degree.

But whether the road bed itself was actually transferred from the rail road company to any of the successive owners remains a question.

“The subject had come up in several public meetings,” said Save Sag Harbor member April Gornik, “and we felt we wanted to spend the money to find out ourselves.”

The proposal as designed would need the 15-feet to the center line of that road — which East End Ventures claims it owns — in order to meet set back requirements.

The group hired attorney Marcia Finkelstein of Lamb & Barnosky, who in turn commissioned First American Title Insurance Company of New York to do a title search on the property.

Their findings indicate that none of the successive transfers of title, from the time the rail road owned the property, included the road bed. A description of the transferred property, in metes and bounds, seems to specifically exclude the road bed, and in fact uses its southern edge to create a border for the old rail road property. Maps indicate the land on the northern side of the road bed belong to Sag Harbor Village, and on one map provided with the search, the piece of road is simply listed as former state road 114. It does not even include a tax map number, the report says.

“East End Ventures does not own it,” said Finkelstein in an interview this week.

But Dennis Downes, attorney for East End Ventures — and for the Diner family — disagrees.

“The rail road property included everything to the center line,” Downes maintained in an interview this week, and contrary to the title search commissioned by Save Sag Harbor, says that when the rail road sold the property to McMahon, the southerly side of the road bed went with it.

In April, on behalf of East End Ventures, Downes filed an action for adverse possession of the narrow strip of property, and he argues that all of the previous owners back to McMahon regularly made use of the abandoned road bed, ultimately giving them the rights to it.

But claiming land through adverse possession is tough, especially when it involves a government entity.

“You can’t claim public land through adverse possession,” said village attorney Fred Thiele, adding the piece, whether owned by the LIRR or the state, would still be government property. The LIRR, he said, was under the Metropolitan Transit Authority, a state agency.

Downes disagreed, saying “it wouldn’t be the first time” governmental land was annexed via adverse possession.

“That will be for the court to decide,” he said.

“Clearly the road bed was for a public benefit,” continued Thiele, and argued that, if the LIRR or state were to give up the property, it would more likely go to another public agency, such as the village which owns the adjoining land.

But an argument over ownership would not necessarily derail the project, said Thiele. As long as the developers have an insured title to the property, the application for developing the property can go through the process.

“Obviously, though,” said Thiele, “if we have other information that put a cloud over this, we wouldn’t ignore it.”








Ferry Road Condo Plan Changes Gears

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The Sag Harbor Village attorney had sharp words for a proposed condo project at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road at a Tuesday planning board work session, the night after the developers of the plan presented new architectural renderings for the 18-unit project.

On Monday night, East End Ventures, the firm proposing the luxury condo project with accessory docks on Sag Harbor’s waterfront presented new architectural rendering to the historic preservation and architectural review board.

The concept, developed by architect Katherine Fee, revolves around the industrial, row house character of historic waterfront communities as its inspiration. Fee presented the board with a cluster of five townhouses separated by streets. Fee said the canal-style streets were implemented as a design feature intended to reduce the overall mass of the proposed buildings. A parking garage is located under a green roof – a grass covered expanse – adjacent to the condo development. The parking garage is proposed to house roughly 20 vehicles, said Fee, over half the parking proposed for the site.

By and large, the ARB was impressed with the concept, although they did suggest Fee vary the height of the buildings, even if a variance was necessary to create the sense that these structures were built over time, instead of in one development. They also suggested looking at finding a way to get all of the parking underground, instead of just about half.

While ARB Chairman Cee Scott Brown called the presentation “helpful,” he added the developers should wait to come back to the board until they have reached the phase where the village boards, save the planning board, can get involved.

Which was one of the problems village attorney Anthony Tohill had with the presentation. The plan presented to the ARB on Monday night varied greatly from the plan the village’s planning board is in the midst of reviewing under the state environmental quality review (SEQR). The project under review by the planning board presents a single 43,040 square-foot building with 18 accessory dock slips and 36 above-ground parking spaces, while the design presented by Fee is vastly different with five buildings, underground parking and a green roof shown as aspects of the new design.

According to Tohill, if a plan changes drastically in the midst of this review, the whole process must start from scratch as the planning board has been evaluating the potential impacts of the original design, not this new incarnation. New designs are generally reserved for the alternatives section of an environmental review.

Another problem, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris, is that while the application was originally slated for the Monday, October 27 meeting, the applicant’s attorney pulled it from the meeting agenda on October 6. Only hours before the ARB meeting on Monday was set to commence did the attorney ask it be put back on the agenda, without meeting the deadline for submission and without the village attorney or village planner being notified by the village building department.

Both were absent from the ARB meeting as a result.

“Trustee [Tiffany] Scarlato has reviewed the board policies and procedures that need to be followed,” said Ferraris on Wednesday. “This will be rectified and will not happen again moving forward.”

On Tuesday night, prior to the board’s regular meeting, Tohill discussed the situation with the planning board in a work session, stating it needs to be clear that submissions cannot be made at the “last minute,” essentially introducing “complete chaos” to a state regulated review process.

Tohill said the developer’s move to show the ARB a new design could weaken the whole process for both the applicant and the village.

“There are no excuses for it,” he said, adding if another design is shown again the environmental review may have to start from the very beginning.

The project’s attorney Dennis Downes disagreed with Tohill saying he would address the issue during the regular meeting.

“I have to comment about a problem we have been having with this application in the past but it became a bit more acute last night when architects showed up at the ARB with a set of plans this board has not seen and was not aware of,” said board chairman Neil Slevin during the regular meeting. “That, we believe, was inappropriate at best.”

Slevin then questioned a fence that has been put up at the project site by National Grid, which is using the space for staging for a brief period while it performs a nearby remediation of coal tar. Downes explained the situation regarding National Grid, and in reference to the ARB meeting, said it was impossible for the applicants to do their job without being able to discuss the project with interested agencies like the ARB.

Tohill disagreed and cut the conversation short.

In other Ferry Road news, the board adopted a list of potential impacts East End Ventures must explore in the next phase of this review. The ball is now in the developer’s court, as they must provide responses to the litany of questions the planning board has asked.

 Top photo: Architect Katherine Fee presidents the Sag Harbor ARB a new design for proposed luxury condos at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road Monday night. 


Sag Harbor Planning Board Wants LWRP on Focus of Condo Review

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Sag Harbor Planning Board Chairman Neil Slevin wants to ensure the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) is comprehensively addressed in the environmental review of a proposed luxury waterfront condominium project at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road. He also demanded that when applicable, state-licensed professionals complete reports on a number of potential impacts the project may pose for the community.

On Thursday, October 16 the planning board convened a work session to discuss potential impacts of the proposed 18-unit condominium project, which is also proposed to include 18 accessory boat slips. By law, the board must submit a final list of potential impacts to the developers, East End Ventures, by November 4. East End Ventures will then be responsible for exploring each potential impact in the environmental review of the project, overseen by the planning board. Next Tuesday, October 28, the board is likely to adopt a final list for the developers.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Rich Warren walked the board through some of the potential impacts identified by the village, impacts brought up by residents at a jam packed village meeting at the end of September, as well as other information he believes the developer should provide the village.

One issue Slevin said he would like clarified is the issue of ownership. Warren has requested in a draft document that the applicants provide a site plan clearly delineating the overall boundaries of ownership, both upland and underwater, and addressing a state controlled right-of-way adjacent to the property.

Slevin asked Warren if the information would explain why documents originally submitted by East End Ventures showed a different property line than what the board is looking at now.

Warren explained East End Ventures will also need to provide a title grant, and assured Slevin the village, with his aid, would be able to confirm any information provided in that grant.

When looking at another section of questions regarding existing land use and zoning on the site, Slevin continued to hammer away at the ownership issue, referring to a comment made by attorney Jeff Bragman in a memo to the board regarding impacts where he notes a 1992 application for a marina at the same site was turned down.

Bragman is representing the group, Save Our Waterfront, a sister organization of Save Sag Harbor, which formed in opposition to the Ferry Road development.

“I would like to see in this section a connection to [the 1992 application] and why it was turned down,” said Slevin, adding he wants a narrative explanation for why a new use that includes extensive docking should be allowed by the board when a previous board denied it.

Warren said he would ask for copies of any prior decisions regarding the property as to illustrate what has been proposed there, what has been approved and what has been denied. He added the village attorney would look into any questions of ownership.

Slevin also would like detailed discussion by East End Ventures regarding the LWRP, specifically when it comes to looking at impacts to existing character and viewsheds of the area.

Warren added Slevin is not the only one who has expressed concerns in this arena — the zoning board of appeals previously brought up viewshed concerns, as have a number of Sag Harbor residents.

East End Ventures will also be asked to evaluate the marine environment of the area where the docks are proposed, including a catalog of marine life in the vicinity, as well as a number of habitats in the area, the tidal flow and an assessment of current water quality conditions.

Board member Jack Tagliasacchi asked Warren if the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) would analyze this evaluation, which will be completed by East End Ventures.

“My intention is we would be sending some of this information out to different agencies,” said Warren, noting the NYSDEC or the Harbor Committee, for example, could be tapped during the review to provide their expertise.

In addition to water quality on the site of the docks, East End Ventures will likely be asked to assess soil and water conditions around the property, based on questions about possible contamination on the site, which were raised at the September public hearing.

Slevin wondered how the results of the soil sampling could be verified.

Warren explained to Slevin there are standards that must be used when conducting environmental assessments.

“I am not worried that they are going to come back with information that is altered,” said Warren, adding the village will have its own professionals to review any results 

Brown To Replace Toy On Sag Harbor Planning Board

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The Sag Harbor Village Planning Board has had a fair amount of heavy lifting to contend with over the course of the last two years. In that time, it has engaged in a lengthy review of the now approved condominium projects at the former Bulova Watchcase Factory and at 21 West Water Street, as well as the conversion of the controversial Havens Bar and Lounge on Bridge Street into retail and residential space, and the review of the Loeffler office building across from the Breakwater Yacht Club on Bay Street.

And as the board is about to embark on yet another prolonged review – this time of the proposed 18-unit luxury condominiums at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road – it has said good-bye to its former chairman, Jerome Toy. Barring a dramatic turn of events, the board will accept new member Nathan Brown at its October 16 work session.

On Tuesday, October 14, the Sag Harbor Board of Trustees is expected to appoint Brown to the planning board in a unanimous resolution, according to Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris. Brown will take Toy’s seat on the board. In August, board member Neil Slevin replaced Toy as chairman of the planning board and will continue to lead the board through its review of the Ferry Road application. (See interview on page 9).

According to Ferraris, after interviewing Brown, his appointment was inevitable.

“It really came down to what his thoughts were on the village,” said Ferraris. “Where it has stood now, where it has evolved from, and where he thought it should evolve to. We talked a lot about the process, and how he would handle hypothetical situations. In terms of being able to digest information and make educated decisions, I think he really showed he would have the village’s best interest at heart.”

Brown, who along with his wife Gloria, can be seen at virtually every meeting that takes place in Sag Harbor – from village board meetings to library board meetings and forums arranged by the Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor (CONPOSH) – has been an active member of the community, noted Ferraris, a key quality the mayor was looking for in a replacement for Toy.

“He knows the process, and what the planning board is up against,” he said.

For Brown, deciding to throw his name in the hat was a simple decision.

“I live here,” he said on Tuesday. “I figure I have the time to get involved and make it better. This is my home. I can’t see living in a place and sitting in the background doing nothing.”

Brown’s background is in technology. He worked for 25 years at IBM before retiring and starting a small company for himself in New Jersey. Brown and his wife have owned their home in the Chatfield Hills neighborhood of Sag Harbor for 24 years, and are now retired there.

In addition to his service as the co-president of the Chatfield Hills Property Owners Association, Brown is also a member of Save Sag Harbor, has worked with CONPOSH, is a trustee with the Suffolk County Library Association and volunteers at the Sag Harbor Food Pantry each week.

“I know this is going to be quite a challenge,” said Brown. “But at least I know I have the time to devote to this.”