Tag Archive | "Governor David Paterson"

Gilbride Takes Fight for MTA Roadbed to Governor

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Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride has taken his battle to secure a sliver of waterfront property belonging to the Long Island Railroad to Governor David Paterson this week after receiving word the land would be sold to an adjacent property owner and not the village.

On August 19, Gilbride penned a letter to the governor, state senator Kenneth LaValle, state assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and Queens Borough President Helen M. Marshall, asking Paterson to assist the village in acquiring a parcel of land next to village owned beachfront adjacent to the Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge. Last week the village was told by the Metropolitan Transit Authority that it would sell the land to East End Ventures, an adjacent property owner that has long sought to develop condominiums on Sag Harbor’s waterfront.

According to a letter from MTA vice president-general counsel and secretary Catherine Rinaldi, the MTA board approved the sale of the property to East End Ventures in July at a fair market price of $82,025. Rinaldi writes that under public authority law, the MTA was required to seek fair market value for the parcel and the sale would end current litigation between the MTA and East End Ventures, which has sought adverse possession of the parcel. Rinaldi said part of the sale includes a provision that allows an easement for public access.

“The LIRR has determined that it is in the best interests to proceed with the sale of the property to the plaintiff, as authorized by the MTA Board,” writes Rinaldi in a letter received by the village on August 24. “The LIRR will be conveying the property to the plaintiff via quitclaim deed, which means the plaintiff will only be getting those interests that the LIRR has the power to convey. Importantly, the deed does not extinguish any rights that the village may have in the property, and the village’s outside counsel may still elect to assert a legal interest in the subject parcel on the village’s behalf.”

In Gilbride’s letter to Governor Paterson, the mayor asserts the village’s prior legal claim to the abandoned roadway, citing a LIRR express easement granted to the village in 1915. Gilbride notes the village has had numerous correspondences with the MTA regarding the parcel since 1996, which it was conceived adjacent beachfront already owned by the village could be turned into a park using the LIRR land.

“The MTA failed to consult the Village or take into account the clear public benefit and long term public use of the land,” writes Gilbride.

“Sag Harbor has been in for the forefront of maintaining and expanding public access to the Waterfront and is proud to be the first Village in our State to adopt a [Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan],” Gilbride continues later in the letter. “The acquisition of this parcel would continue this important tradition.”

On Tuesday Gilbride said despite the letter from the MTA, the village planned to continue this fight, noting that in addition to the board of trustees, residents and government officials alike have been reaching out to Governor Paterson to assist the village in this venture.

In related village news, the board of trustees has hired the law firm of Jaspan Schlesinger to fight a lawsuit filed against the village earlier this month by East End Ventures regarding the environmental review of the village’s new code. They claim village officials did not review the new code properly before its passage. The code drastically changes what is possible on the waterfront property East End Ventures hoped to develop into luxury condominiums.

East End Digest – December 4

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Holiday Tea and Décor Light Up Cormaria

Over 100 people turned out for Cormaria Retreat House’s annual holiday tea and Christmas décor workshop on Saturday, November 29. Sister Ann Marino and her fellow sisters in the order opened the doors of the former captain’s mansion for an afternoon that featured a workshop in creating holiday table décor.

Michael Grimm of Sag Harbor Florist, a longtime supporter of Cormaria, led participants through the intricate yet straightforward creation of floral designs to grace their holiday tables. Following the workshop, guests moved into the great entranceway of the mansion for a concert of seasonal carols and hymns performed by the Harbor Bells handbell choir. At the concert’s end, Sister Ann invited everyone to participate in one of the nun’s old traditions of marking pristine white starfish with the name of loved ones ill or lost who they wished the nuns to keep in their prayers. The starfish were then placed on the sister’s Tree of Remembrance with the promise to have their loved ones remembered in prayer.

New York State: Property Tax Relief Report Accepted

On December 2, the New York State Commission on Property Tax Relief issued its final report to Governor David Paterson and the state legislature. The report contains dozens of measures that are aimed at reducing the costs for local school districts and provide relief to New York taxpayers, who pay some of the highest local taxes in the nation.

The report contains 32 recommendations, including a property tax cap and several additional proposals designed to rein in school districts’ costs, therefore addressing what the state perceives as the root cause of high property taxes. Included in those recommendations are consolidation measures, a property tax cap, limiting of school district operational costs, among others. Also suggested is a STAR “circuit breaker,” which would provide targeted relief to individual taxpayers based on income and ability to pay through an income tax credit.

“This report provided many thoughtful recommendations that I am in support of,” said State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. on Tuesday. “The main recommendation is the need for a property tax cap. As one of the initial supporters of the cap, I am encouraged that the commission, as well as the governor are continuing their support of this measure.  I am also in support of the commission’s recommendation to promote school consolidation. I am currently drafting a bill based on a Maine law recently passed which will provide for such consolidation.  Finally, I support the commission’s finding that unfunded mandates are a large part of high property taxes and that they need to be eliminated.”

Southampton Town: County Road 39 Workshop

Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot and members of the town’s department of land management invite all residents to a public workshop this week to discuss the future of the County Road 39 “corridor” and the issues facing decision makers regarding the area’s future land use.

Running concurrently with the CR 39 corridor moratorium, the town’s consultants and planning staff will conduct a full-fledged area study in order to make recommendations on design, zoning, and possible future uses. The results of the public workshop, consisting primarily of input from residents and business representatives, will then be incorporated into an overall plan.

The workshop will be held at the Tuckahoe Common School cafetorium on Magee Street in Southampton on Thursday, December 4 from 7 to 9 p.m.

New York State Assembly: Enforcing Gas Laws

New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. has called upon State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo to investigate existing illegal gasoline pricing practices and enforce the new prohibition on zone pricing of gasoline. The new law went into effect on November 24.

“In enacting the zone pricing law, the state legislature found that zone pricing was ‘artificial price manipulation.’ Zone pricing is the setting of different wholesale prices for gasoline for gasoline retailers that operate in different geographic areas. The legislature further found such practices harm consumers around the state, including the South Fork. We have outlawed this practice. It is clear that the major oil companies are challenging the state to enforce the law. The Attorney General must meet that challenge with quick and aggressive enforcement.”

Under the law, the state attorney general may seek to enjoin violations of the zone pricing law as well as seek restitution, additional allowances and civil penalties.

“My informal survey of gasoline prices indicates that there exist price differentials of 20 cents or more between the South Fork service stations and other regions just miles away,” added Thiele. “It is clear these differentials are based only on geography and not legitimate economic factors.”

Thiele urges South Fork residents to write or e-mail his office with any evidence of illegal zone pricing, which he will forward to the state attorney general.

Sagaponack: Deadline Extended For Pike Farm

The Hopping family in Sagaponack has decided to extend the amount of time the Peconic Land Trust has to raise over $8 million to preserve and save Pike Farm Stand on Sagg Main Street. The Peconic Land Trust originally had until mid-October, but the Hopping family has decided to extend that until April.

Hallockville Museum Farm: Victorian Christmas

Hallockville Museum Farm’s annual Victorian Christmas will take place on Sunday, December 7 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes guided tours of the fully decorated historic Hallock Homestead, costumed interpreters, musicians performing through the day, antique dollhouses, antique toys and much more. Something new this year is a celebration of a Polish-American Christmas in the recently restored Cichanowicz Farm House. The Depression-era home will be decorated as it would have been in the 1930s.  Sometime in the afternoon, Santa is expected to arrive in Hallockville’s own bright red 1939 Ford farm truck. There will be special activities for children, horse-drawn carriage rides and antique trains from the Long Island Railroad Museum. A holiday market in the Naugles barn will feature hand-made crafts and Christmas accessories. Admission for adults is $8 per person, including free cider, hot chocolate and mincemeat tarts served in the Homestead kitchen; $4 for children ages 6 to 12; younger children are free; and families (two adults and children 12 and under) are $20. All fees directly support the museum farm’s educational programming and mission of re-connecting the community with its agricultural heritage.

Nature Conservancy: Green Gifts 

This holiday season, The Nature Conservancy on Long Island is encouraging consumers to give gifts that will go twice as far – gifts that will delight loved ones while also protecting and preserving some of our most precious habitats for future generations.

“Interest in green gifts is at an all-time high, and starting at just $10, the Conservancy makes it easy to stretch each dollar,” said Nancy Kelley, Executive Director of The Nature Conservancy on Long Island “It’s an opportunity to give your friends and loved ones a unique holiday gift that’s also a lasting and secure investment for the future of our planet.”

For 2008, the Conservancy’s green gift offerings include opportunities to adopt an acre of a threatened landscape, protect Palau’s stunning coral reefs, and plant trees in South America’s Atlantic Forest. The conservancy’s new holiday gift site at nature.org/giftguide features an interactive map, photos, and fact sheets to introduce holiday shoppers to the regions they’re invited to protect.