Tag Archive | "Harbor Committee"

Sag Harbor Yacht Yard Told to Shove Off

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By Stephen J. Kotz

Sag Harbor Village this week gave Lou Grignon, the owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, 30 days to vacate a parcel of village-owned waterfront land has used for the past 20 years as a boat storage area.

The village issued the eviction notice after negotiations to reach a new lease agreement failed. The yacht yard’s 20-year lease for the property ended on May 31.

On Wednesday, Mr. Grignon, who owns the buildings adjacent to the village property he has been leasing, said the village’s decision would effectively put him out of business.

“If I don’t have room to store boats, I don’t have room to be a boatyard,” he said, adding that he typically stores about 130 boats on the property each winter.

He said he had hired attorney Dennis Downes to represent him as he seeks to stay at the site.

“Mr. Grignon had an opportunity” to sign a new lease, said Mayor Brian Gilbride. “It’s time for the village to move forward and get that property back.”

Mr. Gilbride said the village had options for the property, which could range from using it as a park, for a parking lot or a place to expand the Sag Harbor farmers market, but he said nothing had been decided yet.

Mr. Grignon said he had been paying $15,592 a year for the boat storage area in the last year of his lease. He said the village told him an appraisal found the property should be rented for $20,000 a year.

“So I put forth an offer of $20,000 a year for the first year, which is roughly a 25-percent increase,” he said. Mr. Grignon added that he sought a 10-year lease with a 10-year option to renew with annual increases of 2.3 percent.

“That was right on par with cost-of-living increases and everything,” Mr. Grignon said. “Not to mention that we just went through the worst recession in history.”

The village countered with an offer for a five-year lease, with the first year at $22,500 and annual increases of 5 percent, he said.

“This is a dollar and cents issue,” he continued. “For them to raise the rent 33 percent and then 5 percent more a year doesn’t make sense. We’d have to power wash a lot of boats to make it work.”

The property, which was once used by the Mobil Corporation to store fuel oil, was contaminated by leaks from storage tanks. It was turned over to the village for a nominal fee under an agreement that there would be no buildings constructed at the site.

Mr. Grignon said the site had been used as boatyard dating to 1797 and is the only boatyard outside the Sag Harbor-North Haven Bridge.

Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait said the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan requires that the village try to maintain water-related uses and businesses. He said it would not be suitable for parking because that is not a waterfront use and it is too far from the business district.

“This village is a maritime village. The last thing you want to get rid of is the boatyard,” said Dr. Tom Halton, a committee member at Monday’s meeting.

“What’s in the best interest of the people of Sag Harbor?” asked Mr. Grignon. “Do they need more parking or do they want a boatyard?”

Sag Harbor to Weigh Moratorium

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By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board will be asked to consider a moratorium on most developments requiring setback relief from wetlands, pending a revision of its wetlands law.

Denise Schoen, the assistant village attorney who represents the village’s Harbor Committee and other regulatory boards, requested that a moratorium be considered when the village board held a work session on Thursday, July 10, to consider a series of revisions to its zoning code while building inspector Tim Platt, who left his position this week, was still with the village.

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. said this week he would present a draft of a possible moratorium to the village board at its August 12 meeting.

“There have been issues cropping up more and more frequently,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride, “and we probably need to put on the brakes.”

“I think the changes are gong to be pretty comprehensive,” said Ms. Schoen. “Instead of reviewing the applications, we should be going through the wetlands code to see how we need to rewrite it.”

Richard Warren, the village’s planning consultant, said about a dozen applications  requiring relief from wetlands law setbacks are currently in the pipeline and would have to be put on hold during a moratorium.

The idea for the moratorium was first suggested by Harbor Committee chairman Bruce Tait in June. In a soliloquy before that board began its regular meeting last month, Mr. Tait expressed frustration that his committee was often being asked to weigh in on applications that had already received variances from the village Zoning Board of Appeals, rendering his committee’s input moot.

He also criticized the village for failing to enforce Harbor Committee decisions and said applicants have on occasion ignored the committee’s conditions for approvals.

At that time, Ms. Schoen said there were so many problems with the wetlands law as written that the village might be better off scraping the current law and writing a new one. A key goal, she said, would be to clearly define which applications should go before the Harbor Committee first and which ones should go before the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Besides confusion over where applications should go first, Ms. Schoen said there was a major problem with a provision allowing the Harbor Committee to reduce its own setback requirements “on lots that are so undersized that the applicant can’t possibly build without having that relief.”

The problem, she added, is that provision has “been interpreted by applicants and their attorneys that they automatically qualify for that relief. That’s not true. It’s a decision the Harbor Committee has to make.”

Mr. Warren recommended that the village simply remove the language describing undersized lots. “Right now the burden is on the Harbor Committee,” he said.

“Applications are coming in bigger and bigger,” he said. They want more and more swimming pools 20 feet from the bluff and on 10,000- square-foot lots 6,700-square-foot houses.”

The board also discussed changing the formula for determining how many parking spaces are required for restaurants from one space per three seats to one space per four spaces.

Although Mr. Platt said he thought the change would trigger requests from more restaurants for an increase in seats, others said the change would only bring restaurants into closer conformity with the state fire code—and besides, there are no parking spots anyway.

“You can put in 3,00 more seats and you aren’t going to get any more cars,” said Trustee Robby Stein. “It’s almost self-regulating.”

Trustee Ken O’Donnell, the owner LaSuperica restaurant, agreed. “I can put 200 more seats in, but if have a weekend like this when long Wharf is going to be covered with a tent, my backroom is going to be light.”

“I don’t know what to do with parking variances, I don’t know what to tell the board,” said Ms. Schoen. “I don’t know how we are supposed to enforce them. There are no parking spots so the analysis, legally, doesn’t work.”

Mayor Gilbride said he was concerned that if a restaurant were overcrowded, “and some bad event happens then people are going to be reaching out to find out who is liable.”

But Mr. Platt said if someone violates the fire code “the judge is going to take that much more seriously” than if they simply get slapped with a zoning code violation.

Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee Focuses on Water Quality

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By Kathryn G. Menu

The Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee has been tasked with protecting the waterfront one addition, pool and dock at a time — imposing a wetlands buffer as each new project comes before the committee in an effort to reduce the amount of fertilizers and toxins entering bays and estuaries.

Most applicants have sought to comply minimally with the wetlands buffer legislation, seeking 25 feet of natural vegetation to a wetlands area — allowed under the code for properties that are undersized and therefore permitted to seek a buffer below the standard 75 foot requirement.

According to Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Richard Warren, of Inter-Science Research Associates in Southampton, that exception was created within the wetlands code specifically because of the often small lot sizes in Sag Harbor Village. However, on Monday night during the Harbor Committee’s monthly meeting, Warren suggested the board review the wetlands regulations and what it feels it should require. Should a property owner, for example, be granted a wetlands permit with a 25 foot buffer under the rule for undersized lots when they are proposing a large house, with a pool on the waterfront, Warren wondered.

And the committee largely agreed that as more applications come in on the waterfront, hammering out very specific conditions for exceptions and standards for what kind of native vegetation it would like to see planted as a result of waterfront development was crucial moving forward.

On Monday night, the board heard from one applicant hoping to gain the board’s approval for what would ultimately be a smaller wetlands boundary than minimally required under the village code. Outside of a “lawfully operating marina or recreational marina” any construction requires a 75 foot setback under village code. The installation of wastewater disposal systems requires a 100 foot setback and clearing, fertilizing of vegetation, use of herbicides or the establishment of turf, lawn or landscaping requires a 50 foot setback.

Josh Schwartz, who has proposed reconstructing a rock bulkhead with a new corrugated bulkhead, after he said erosion has threatened his property, came before the board also proposing a 4-by-76-foot dock. For either project a minimum 25 foot buffer would be required under the code.

However, according to Warren, the buffer only stretches along one portion of the bulkhead, leaving a sandy beach — where the family enjoys its outdoor Adirondack chairs — untouched.

Warren said he had no issues with the change in the style of bulkhead but was concerned the vegetative buffer was not significant enough.

“This is not really, in my opinion, consistent with what the code says, which is you have to plant and replant a buffer if necessary,” said Warren.

Schwartz noted the sandy beach has been there since before his family purchased the property, dating back 25 years on the most recent survey.

“When we have a house that has had grassy lawn right up to the bulkhead for 100 years and they come in to improve their property, they lose 25 feet of that lawn,” noted committee chairman Bruce Tait. “The only way we can get these buffers back is through new applications for construction.”

“What we are trying to do, the purpose of this is to protect the waters we have out there,” explained Tait. “The only way we can is apply a 25 foot buffer is on new applications.”

Tait noted if Schwartz wanted to keep his beach, he would need to either not make an application for either the bulkhead or dock or apply to the zoning board of appeals for relief from the wetlands law. Schwartz has proposed 25 feet of wetlands buffer, but just on one side of the bulkhead.

Schwartz said he would talk with his family and return to the board before making a suggestion.

After that business was closed, Warren suggested the board take a second look at the wetlands law — not to reduce it, but rather to strengthen the code as its stands.

“You are starting to see a theme here where people don’t see they are required to have a 50 foot setback and you are automatically giving them 25 feet,” he said.

The board agreed.

Board member Stephen Clarke, following board member Jeff Peters suggestion, noted the committee should also have a strict planting plan, designating which species of native plants and how big they should be for any buffer system.

The board’s next meeting is on July 8.

Boat Party in Jeopardy

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web Boat Party 2010

by David McCabe

The Sag Harbor Village’s Harbor Committee discussed issues related to an annual boat party in Sag Harbor during its meeting on Monday, opening up the possibility that village authorities could stop the event from happening this year.

Bruce Tait, the chair of the Harbor Committee, told the event’s organizer, Charles Canavan, that he could order a consistency review of the event — which assesses if a proposal is in line with the policies outlined in the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP). That would make it more difficult for the party to take place in Sag Harbor Cove, where it has been held since 2010.

Tait noted that if the board’s hypothetical review were to find the proposal inconsistent with LWRP policies, then the state would have to overrule the board before the event could take place.

The boat party, which drew some 150 to 200 vessels last year, has been in existence for around two decades. Every year, boats and their owners have converged at a location on the East End to eat, drink and listen to live bands which perform on a barge set up by organizers. However, that location has hardly remained constant. In the past, the event has been held within the jurisdiction of Shelter Island and East Hampton, but both town’s passed ordinances that would have required the party’s organizers to file for an event permit.

Now, it may be Sag Harbor’s turn to give the party the heave ho.

At the Harbor Committee meeting, members of that board, led by Tait, raised concerns about the potential environmental impacts of the event.

“We’re concerned about so many boats and so many people congregating in such an environmentally sensitive area,” Tait said.

Sag Harbor Cove, which is the site of multiple shellfish beds, has been the focus of studies in recent years that indicate it is particularly susceptible to environmental pollution, said Tait. When the State of New York conducted dye tests on the area — which involve pigment being released into the water to assess which way it flows and how fast —  Tait said the dye left the cove, but then went back in, indicating the cove has a weak “flush” system. In basic terms, this means that water does not strongly circulate through the cove.

The committee told Canavan, one of three people in attendance at the meeting, that it was worried party goers would need access to restroom facilities which would be unavailable on some of the smaller boats.

“I know that when I start drinking at 12 o’clock and go on to 6 o’clock that there’s a certain point that I would need to find the facilities,” said Tait.

“I know for a fact that there are many, many boats that are under 20 feet that don’t have holding tanks, that don’t have facilities,” Tait added.

Canavan protested that local authorities seem to like the party’s presence. He claimed that when he almost shut down last year’s boat party because of inclement weather, members of the police department urged him not to.

He also said the event serves people of all ages, from seniors down to children.

“What I’ve noticed in the past is grandparents dancing with their grandchildren,” he said.

Canavan said that his event will likely raise funds for the non-profit Peconic BayKeeper, which aims to protect the Peconic Bay. He indicated that the Peconic BayKeeper himself — Kevin MacAllister — would attend the Harbor Committee’s next meeting.

Tait expressed worry Wednesday that having McAllister give a statement on the environmental impact of the boat party when his group stands to gain financially from the event could create the appearance of impropriety.

“I’m a little concerned about the money trail on that,” he said.

Tait also said he is personally wary of an event that puts swimmers in close proximity to outboard motors.

“In this thing you have boats and swimmers co-mingling with no lines of delineation between the two,” he said.

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees has introduced legislation aimed at allowing the village to regulate mass gatherings — events over 75 people — even if it is held on the water. A public hearing on that legislation will be held at next month’s village board meeting on July 10.

The committee tabled the discussion, but Tait said he plans to bring it up at the Harbor Committee’s July 9 session.

Harbor Committee Approves a Limited Buffer

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The most basic tool the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee has at its fingertips to improve water quality is to demand natural vegetative buffers to any wetlands when homeowners on the waterfront improve their properties.

For three months now, the Harbor Committee has been wrestling to require homeowners meet even the minimal requirement — a 25-foot vegetative buffer to any flagged wetlands area. The village law actually requires the board demand 75-feet of vegetative buffer, but with the many undersized lots in Sag Harbor, the committee is allowed to reduce that requirement to 25-feet.

After months of debating whether or not to require one of the Harbor Committee’s own board members to meet that minimal standard, on Monday night the committee’s chairman Bruce Tait was the lone vote against board member John Christopher’s application.

Christopher — the newest member of the Harbor Committee — is adding a one-story addition to the landward side of his 92 Redwood Road home, some 80-feet from the wetlands. His current home sits about 45-feet from the wetlands. The Christopher family originally asked the committee to grant them the permit with no vegetative buffer to the flagged wetlands, pointing to the fact that while neighbors have cut back their wetlands they have maintained theirs.

It is illegal to cut back wetlands, under village law and under the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation regulations.

After months of debate, the Christophers came back with a plan that shows 15-feet of vegetative buffer. They have argued any more of a buffer would make their lawn too small to enjoy.

Under their proposal, the Christophers would have 28-feet of lawn on the most heavily planted side of their yard, and 50-feet of lawn on the least heavily planted side.

“I think the buffer is adequate given the size of the lawn,” said board member Dr. Tom Halton.

Board member Jeff Peters agreed, praising the Christophers for not cutting back their wetlands in the first place.

Tait cautioned the board that without being very specific about why the Christopher property should be allowed to not meet the minimum requirement laid out in the village’s wetlands code, they could be setting a precedent.

“I think we have to take these case by case,” countered Dr. Halton.

The committee approved the Christopher application, with Tait voting against the measure. A permit will be formally voted on at next month’s December 12 meeting.

The board also unanimously granted David Sokolin a wetlands permit to construct a pool in an existing deck space, provided he provide 20-feet of vegetative buffer to the deck.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Rich Warren noted that the board could allow this exception simply because the footprint of the Sokolin house is not expanding, and the pool is being reconstructed in its original location on an existing deck.

Lastly, T & K Redwood Associates at 64 Redwood Road will be granted their permit next month to allow for the demolition of a non-conforming residence, the reconstruction of a new home, decks, spa and pool. They have agreed to plant a 30-foot vegetative buffer to the wetlands.

In addition to the board’s December 12 meeting, the committee agreed to host a work session on Friday, December 9 at 10 a.m.

Sag Harbor Village Takes a Closer Look at Erosion on West Water Street

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Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait and village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren examine the effects of erosion on West Water Street Monday evening.

Photographs taken in 2009 of the village owned waterfront on West Water Street in Sag Harbor show a healthy beachfront bordered by grasses and a few trees before the landscape meets the roadway.

But pictures taken at the same location two years later show a wide beachfront with sections of small bluffs that protect the roadway from the water fallen in large clumps. Orange cones protect pedestrians and drivers along entire lengths of the beach where erosion goes to the base of the road. In one spot, a tree’s roots are almost entirely exposed on one side to the elements.

And this was the second winter in a row that this happened.

For two years, the Village of Sag Harbor Board of Trustees has been monitoring the erosion at the beachfront directly across from the now stalled West Water Street condominium project. The erosion is largely attributed to heavy snowfall and storms that slowly picked away at the waterfront, presenting the possibility that the septic and electric lines underneath West Water Street could eventually be compromised by the deterioration, let alone the roadway.

The Sag Harbor Village Department of Public Works has instituted stopgap measures each winter, dumping snow and even rocks on that section of beach — at the ire of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The NYSDEC issued the village notices of violation last year for installing those temporary fixes on the waterfront. Last month Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Rich Warren announced formal plans to construct a bulkhead on the property to prevent any long term damage to the roadway.

The proposal, which is still awaiting approval from the DEC as well as the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee, entails constructing a 568-foot vinyl bulkhead along the length of the waterfront.

In addition to the bulkhead, five 4 x 4 foot platforms with stairs are proposed. These would provide access to the beach, which also has a number of village dock spaces that are accessed through a cable-tie pulley system. That system is un-operational without users standing on the beach.

According to a report filed with the village by Warren’s firm, Inter-Science Research Associates, the current stairways to the beach are so few, there is evidence that people are gaining entry to that section of beach by climbing down steep slopes of dune, which is causing even more damage to the area.

On Monday night, Warren presented the concept to the Harbor Committee, which is being asked to weigh in on the matter immediately while the project awaits approval from the NYSDEC as well as funding from the Village Board of Trustees, which Warren noted have pushed for the plan’s completion.

Warren said the issue was not a new one, and in 2006 the village board attempted to protect the area with gabions. These are essentially stones held in place by a metal wire cage, but the idea shot down by the NYSDEC, which no longer views that a viable method of shoreline hardening.

According to Warren’s memo, the department is probably not wrong, at least in this instance.

The gabions, he says, would eventually erode after being washed in the salt water of Outer Sag Harbor Cove for several years, and if people tried to scale the structures down to the beach they could be injured. They could also imperil boaters trying to access their crafts off the cable-tie pulley system, and high velocity waters, which have wracked the area in recent winters, can also damage those structures.

The only other alternative to the bulkhead is not doing anything to the waterfront, which Warren states would eventually lead to the roadway collapsing into the beach over the course of several more years.

After the village was cited by the NYSDEC for trying to shore up the beach with rocks, it met with the agency and enlisted Warren and Hampton Bays engineer Steve Maresca to draw up plans for a long term solution.

Warren said in addition to the bulkhead, the plan has been conceived to allow for the future construction of a walkway over the beach, similar to Marine Park so should the waterfront erode over time there is still access to the dock space.

“I think it is a good plan,” said Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait. “It works to solve the problem down there.”

While the committee as a whole appeared supportive of the concept, Tait and the board agreed to review the plan and formally review its consistency to the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) at next month’s August 8 meeting.

Havens Beach Discussion Stalls

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The village Harbor Committee stopped short of having a discussion on the results of water quality testing at Sag Harbor’s Havens Beach during its Monday night meeting, after chairman Bruce Tait announced there may be inconsistencies in testing conducted by professors and students at Stony Brook University’s Southampton campus and the Suffolk County Department of Health. According to Tait, next week officials from the county will meet with mayor Greg Ferraris and village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren to review both results.

Tait reminded the committee that just over a year ago the village and Peconic Baykeeper Kevin MacAllister, who had engaged the services of Chris Gobler, Stony Brook-Southampton associate professor and director of the Coastal and Estuarine Research Program, had agreed to a testing protocol and schedule. Testing at Havens Beach, a site the BayKeeper has long maintained has a stormwater runoff issue, has been ongoing for roughly a year as the BayKeeper, Gobler and village officials promised to determine whether stormwater runoff or another factor was polluting the popular bathing beach.

A year and a half ago, in part because of a brochure issued by the Peconic Baykeeper, the village began looking at the possibility of contaminants at Havens Beach and in a drainage creek that runs north to south through marshland and onto the beach. The dreen collects stormwater runoff from drains throughout Sag Harbor, allowing the runoff to dissipate into the Sag Harbor Bay just off Havens Beach.

Village officials hoped specifically to discern the cause of any elevated levels of bacteria, whether it be storm water runoff, animal waste, effluent from boats in the bay or even a result of the village’s own wastewater treatment facility. The BayKeeper and Gobler agreed to take the reins, although village officials last week said they were kept in the dark about the findings at Havens Beach prior to a public presentation at the college about water quality Island-wide.

Although the team vowed to continue testing, according to a presentation made last week, the results indicated bacteria exceeded appropriate levels for shellfish and bathing 31 percent and 44 percent, respectively, during the course of the full year.

“Recently Southampton College has a symposium and a talk on many issues going on in the waters on the East End and they touched on the testing that is ongoing at Havens Beach,” said Tait. “They have found some elevated levels and different things going on, although our agreement was they would keep us informed and they did not do that, they just made this announcement.”

Tait said until that data can be compared with the data collected by Suffolk County, he felt it was too early for his committee to weigh in on Havens Beach or any remedial plan that could be a result of the testing.

Havens Beach will remain a monthly discussion for the committee, said Tait.

In other committee news, member Brian Halweil apologized to the rest of the board, which was missing members Jeff Peters and Dr. Tom Halton on Monday night, about his absence at the last board meeting. At the April Harbor Committee meeting, the board was unable to offer recommendations to the board of trustees on a proposed zoning code that changes zoning on the waterfront for many businesses making them special exception, rather than permitted uses as they could not reach consensus on whether this was an appropriate change. All existing businesses are grandfathered, and would continue to operate as permitted uses should the code be adopted.

At last month’s meeting, Tait was unable to sway the rest of the committee into voting in favor of the code, although the measure was strictly advisory and the committee will have to determine if the code is consistent with the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan (LWRP) after the village board of trustees has deemed the code complete.

On Monday, Halweil said he was satisfied with the code, but stressed the committee would remain a staunch advocate for waterfront businesses and help them navigate the new zoning, if necessary.

But a couple of waterfront businesses in Sag Harbor continue to take issue with the code, including the Sag Harbor Yacht Club and Lou Grignon’s Sag Harbor Yacht Yard. Both have said the change in zone, despite their grandfathered status, will have an economic impact on their businesses and the yacht club has gone as far as to ask for an economic impact statement on not just the code’s effect on the waterfront, but the whole of the business district.

On Monday, Tait reminded Grignon and yacht club representatives that until the consistency review is underway, they should approach the board of trustees, which held its monthly meeting on Tuesday and will hold a special meeting on the new code on Friday at 5 p.m. 

Harbor Committee Weighs In on New Code

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Harbor committee meetings are usually relaxed, quiet affairs, but on Monday evening, members of the public and Sag Harbor’s planning consultant Richard Warren shared a charged conversation over the proposed new village zoning code, particularly over the zoning revisions that will be made to the waterfront district.
The committee opened the meeting with an hour-long public work session, in which Warren explained changes that would be made in the waterfront district if the proposed new village zoning code passes. According to the chairman of the committee, Bruce Tait, Warren paid particular attention to explaining permitted and special exception uses in the waterfront district.
After the work session, the meeting was open to the public and several community members, including Ted Conklin, owner of The American Hotel, and Lou Grignon, owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, voiced their concerns over the code.
The harbor committee had called Warren in to clarify their confusion over permitted and special exception uses. A majority of the uses in the waterfront district are deemed special exception under the proposed code. These special exception uses include boatyards, commercial fishing charters, yacht sales and charters, marinas, boat dealerships, restaurants and yacht clubs. Many of these uses are permitted under the current code.
After the meeting, Tait said re-categorizing these uses, from permitted to special exception, will help the village safeguard the harbor in the village, where there is a premium on space, and keep the uses diverse.
“With the harbor so built up, [I feel] it is appropriate for the village to make the most of special exceptions … A special exception use is still a permitted use but with special criteria [the project] has to meet,” said Tait.
“This gives the village a chance to look at each project to determine its appropriateness,” added Tait. “I don’t think the special exception will handicap any of the harbor businesses.”
Grignon, however, believes letting the board decide if a special exception business is appropriate within the waterfront district gives the board too much power. He feels marina businesses should remain permitted uses.
“My question is how come the most water-dependent uses are now being made [into special exception uses],” asked Grignon.
Grignon feels the proposed code is inconsistent with the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), a planning document for Sag Harbor which protects the harbor and encourages maritime business.
“The LWRP states that the village should avoid legislation that will adversely impact [marina] businesses,” said Grignon.
Tait, however, feels the proposed zoning document and the LWRP are in accord.
“As I looked at [the new village zoning code] through the eyes of the LWRP, in general, I didn’t have a problem with it,” said Tait.
Conklin’s concerns were of a different sort. He claims the village board of trustees didn’t fully incorporate the harbor committee into the drafting process of the code as it pertains to the waterfront district. Although Tait conceded the committee could have been more involved in the process, he added that Warren frequently updated the committee on changes made to the zoning document.
According to Tait’s understanding of SEQRA (State Environmental Quality Review Act) procedure, the committee couldn’t fully weigh in on the proposed zoning code, and give it a consistency report with the LWRP, until after a final version had been drafted.
The committee, however, did manage to come up with a few suggestions for the board during Monday’s session. They suggested adding additional maritime operations into the use table, like sail storage and sail repair shops. Warren said these additional uses would likely be adopted by the board as they are in line with the village’s vision for the waterfront district. Warren added that listing art galleries as a permitted use in the new code was actually a typo, and won’t be permitted in the waterfront district.
At the close of the meeting, the committee agreed to draft a letter to the board of trustees asking for more time to further review the proposed zoning code. The committee plans to hold a special meeting in the coming weeks.

East End Digest, January 15

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Stony Brook Southampton

Bay Street Co-Founders Create New Programs at Stony Brook

Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program announced two new initiatives for 2009: a Playwriting Conference as part of the Southampton Writers Conference, and the Young American Writers Project, an interdisciplinary writing program for middle and high school students.
The Playwriting Conference will be directed by Stephen Hamilton and Emma Walton Hamilton, co-founders of the Bay Street Theatre. The conference will run concurrently with the Children’s Literature, Southampton Writers, and Screenwriting conferences, in three sessions from July 8 to August 2. Established and emerging playwrights will have the opportunity to develop their work in a collaborative setting with professional actors, directors and members of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Three graduate credits are available to eligible students in each conference.
“When Stony Brook acquired the Southampton campus, we promised to build real strength in the arts,” Robert Reeves, director of the MFA in Writing and Literature program said. “We are proud to be able to carry out that mandate by broadening our programs. We are also thrilled that Emma and Steve accepted our invitation to become the newest members of the MFA program.”
For seventeen years, Stephen Hamilton served as the Theatre’s Executive Director and produced over 50 productions. Emma Walton Hamilton is a theater professional and arts educator, as well as a best-selling author and editor. Until 2008 she was Director of Education and Programming for Young Audiences, and spearheaded the Young Playwrights Program in area schools.
In addition to the new Playwriting Conference, Stony Brook Southampton’s will also establish the Young American Writers Project (YAWP). The inaugural YAWP program, focusing on playwriting, will be offered to middle schoolers in the spring of 2009. The YAWP curriculum calls for teaching artists to visit designated classrooms twice weekly during a two-month period, guiding students to create and develop their own plays. One play from each participating class will be produced at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theater in April of 2009. Among participating schools in the inaugural YAWP program for 2009 are: Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, and Eastport South Manor.

Inaug. Invite

Several local students will attend the inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20 in Washington, D.C. Jocelin Kalish of Bridgehampton was invited to attend by the University Presidential Inaugural Conference. Kalish is an alumni of the National Youth Leadership Forum and was the valedictorian of Bridgehampton High School last year. Fellow Bridgehampton graduate, Eddie Gholson is working for Ultimate Staffing and will help chaperone a group of children around D.C. and accompany them to the inauguration ceremony for the company. Ross tenth grade students Spencer Kuzon and Devon Leaver will also be in attendance. Kuzon and Leaver will participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference from Saturday, January 17 to Wednesday, January 21. This five-day program provides students with a deeper understanding of the electoral process and its history, as well as the traditions surrounding the presidential inauguration.

Harbor Committee
“Mary E” Sails Elsewhere for Home

After months of dialogue between the owners of the “Mary E” schooner and the village Harbor Committee board, the board has finally decided to deny the owners request to permanently dock the schooner on Long Wharf. Although, the decision ultimately lies with the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, the Harbor Committee agreed to draft a letter to the board recommending the denial of the owners request. During a committee meeting on Monday, January 12, Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait cited the owners lack of a comprehensive plan for upland support for the “Mary E” as the primary reason for the refusal of their petition. The owners of the “Mary E” sought to run a charter sailing business from the boat. Tait said at a previous meeting that parking would need to be provided for charter clients.
Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees member, Ed Deyermond swung by the meeting to treat the committee members to an update on the Keyspan/National Grid remediation project in the village. Deyermond said there wasn’t much to report as the project is on somewhat of a hiatus due to a delay in the shipment of equipment, specifically a tent.

East Hampton
Farmers Market

The Peconic Land Trust is requesting proposals for usage of the
farmland adjacent to the Amagansett Farmers Market located on Main
Street, Amagansett. The farmland consists of 5.7 acres of conserved
land that the Trust anticipates leasing in early 2009 with the idea
of integrating the produce into the Amagansett Farmer’s Market.
Interested parties are asked to submit a letter of interest to Pam
Greene, the Director of Stewardship, by February 1. A formal proposal
will be requested from those submissions. The formal proposal will
require a business plan and land use plan for the farm. For more
information call 283-3195.

SH Rotary Club
Inter. Grants

Kevin Luss, President of the Southampton Rotary Club has announced that Rotary International (RI) has approved a matching grant application, submitted by Southampton Rotary and the Rotary Club of Guntur (India). The approved matching grant, sponsored by the Southampton, Northport and Riverhead Rotary Clubs, will be used to finance the purchase of equipment that is critical in the medical mission being undertaken by International Surgical Mission Support, a group of local doctors who will be traveling to the NRI General Hospital, located in Andhra Pradesh, India.
During their short stay in India, the doctors will conduct several hundred medical screenings and life saving surgical procedures and will leave the newly purchased equipment with the local medical center.
Southampton Rotary will coordinate the project internationally, while the Rotary Club of Guntur will coordinate on a local level. The total grant budget for this project is equivalent to $62,000.

New Dem. Chair

The Southampton Town Democratic Committee has unanimously elected Gordon Herr to succeed retiring Chairman Mike Anthony.
Anthony assured the committee that he was not leaving and would still play a significant role in the Democratic Party. He added that working with Gordon Herr for the past few years gave him full confidence that his efforts would be built upon for even greater Southampton Town Democratic Party achievements in the future.

Suffolk County
New EPA Chair

Legislator Jay Schneiderman has been named chair of the County’s
Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee (EPA) by presiding
Officer William Lindsay for the second year in a row. Schneiderman
has a background in science education and has been involved with
numerous environmental initiatives including land preservation and
water quality protection. Schneiderman currently has a bill pending
before the EPA committee that would establish a county-wide setback
from wetlands for fertilizer application. “Nitrogen and phosphorus
from fertilizers are contributing to nutrient overload in our bays
and harbors,” claims Schneiderman, “this is causing algal blooms that
are devastating shellfish populations and other marine life.”
Schneiderman believes the new law will be adopted earlier this year.

Wharf to Embrace the “Mary E” Schooner?

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The \"Mary E\" sailing in the waters of the East End.

Matthew Culen returned to the Sag Harbor Harbor Committee, on Monday, December 8, looking for a new home port for his 75-foot Schooner, “Mary E.” Culen hopes to permanently dock his boat on Long Wharf and to run a sailing charter business on it. This highly visible location is imperative to the success of the business, said Culen because it would attract walk-on clients. The committee, however, had many concerns. They told Culen his venture would require upland support. Among the committee’s chief concerns were parking accessibility for charter clients.

Previously, the harbor committee recommended to the village board to disallow permanent or transient docking on the north end and the west side of the Long Wharf. This recommendation targeted larger boats and yachts which obstructed views of the water and impeded local children from fishing off of the wharf. This decision, however, meant the village lost revenue from dockage fees.

“We made a decision to lose docking fees. We gave it over to public use. This boat would have a different historical use, but this seems like a revision of our decision,” said committee member Brian Halweil. The committee believed the “Mary E,” built in 1902, could be used for educational purposes with school children. The committee finally suggested that Culen return to next month’s meeting with a proposal for upland support, especially provisions for parking.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant, Richard Warren, gave a brief status report on the study of storm water runoff contamination at Havens Beach. Warren said the Peconic BayKeeper, who is conducting the study, will deliver a full report by April. Jim Early, of the village department of public works, has also provided Warren’s office with a list of existing drainage systems in the village, and they are in the process of plotting them out on a map. Warren also reported that the village is looking into installing filter systems, which would be installed in the drainage catch basins.