Tag Archive | "Long Wharf"

Long Wharf Purchase Imminent

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Sag Harbor Village
Long Wharf Purchase Imminent

At the next Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting, on Tuesday, February 8, Mayor Brian Gilbride will make a push for the board to formally accept Suffolk County’s offer to sell the village Long Wharf and the adjacent Windmill Beach for $1.

On Tuesday morning, Mayor Gilbride said the village received a formal offer from the county to purchase Long Wharf and Windmill Beach two weeks ago, and that he would like to take action on the matter immediately. The board’s first budget work session will be held on February 25, he noted, and if purchased Long Wharf could cost the village as $340,000 in short term repairs, with the long term maintenance likely in the millions.

Late last year, the county approached the village about the sale of Long Wharf, which was once owned by Sag Harbor Village, but was transferred into county ownership decades ago. While the county has paid the bill for the long-term maintenance of the wharf as its owners, the village has taken in revenues from dockage at the site, last year earning $93,000.

While funding was in place, through a bond, for the county to complete some $600,000 in repairs to Long Wharf — something Mayor Gilbride hoped would be completed before the sale — no financial help has been offered to the village in correlation with the sale.

“I am at a point where I feel like we should just bring this to an end and just do it,” said Mayor Gilbride.

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees will meet on the second floor of the Municipal Building at 6 p.m.

East Hampton Town
Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee on the Horizon

At tonight’s East Hampton Town Board meeting, it is expected the board will formally adopt the creation of a “Multi-Town Helicopter Noise Advisory Committee” to give a small group of experts in East Hampton, Southampton, Southold, Shelter Island and Riverhead the ability to work towards addressing helicopter noise, long viewed as a regional issue affecting a number of residents across the East End.

Last summer, in response to years of complaints by residents about the amount of helicopter traffic, and ensuing noise they bring to the East End, the Federal Aviation Administration proposed a draft plan aimed at regulating helicopter traffic and curbing chopper noise.

Under the proposed regulation, helicopter pilots would be required to follow a northern route one mile offshore over Long Island Sound to Shoreham where they would split off either to Gabreski Airport in Westhampton, the Southampton Helipad, Montauk Airport or East Hampton Airport following voluntary routes established in 2007, some of which bring flights to and from East Hampton directly over Sag Harbor and Noyac.

Regulations also propose that pilots keep a minimum altitude of 2,500 feet.

However, many residents and municipalities feared the regulations would do little to address the problem, and according to East Hampton Town Board Councilman Dominick Stanzione, four East End towns began working together to come up with a regional noise abatement program. In their talks, Stanzione said it became clear a multi-town helicopter noise abatement committee should be formed to create a draft plan to tackle the problem. If the East Hampton Town Board and the East End Mayors and Supervisors sign off on their plan, it would then be formally presented to the FAA.

“I think the issue of helicopter noise in our town has gotten to the point where we need multi-town solutions,” said Stanzione at a town board meeting on Saturday, January 29.

The committee, which will be comprised of one citizen representative from each of the four towns, as well as airport managers and New York State Senator Ken LaValle and New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. will look toward suggesting voluntary solutions to the noise issue, such as re-routing of helicopters, as well as long term legislative and regulatory suggestions.

Stanzione will serve as the town board liaison to the committee, and Peter Wadsworth, a member of the town’s noise abatement committee, is expected to be appointed the town’s representative during Thursday night’s meeting.

East Hampton Town
MTK Concert Continues to Draw Protest

Despite the refusal of the East Hampton Town Board to rescind a mass gathering permit that will allow a two-day music festival, MTK: Music to Know Summer Music Festival at Oceanview Farm in Amagansett, some Amagansett residents continue to hammer the board about their concerns regarding the August event.

During its Saturday, January 29 meeting, the East Hampton Town Board heard once more from Amagansett resident John Broderick, a concert designer who has worked with musical acts like Madonna and Metallica.

Broderick called on the town’s police department and fire marshal to take a closer look at the music festival site plan, stating he does not believe it is possible to pull off what promoters Chris Jones and Bill Collage have presented and calling the festival a safety concern.

Both the fire marshal and East Hampton Town Police Chief Eddie Ecker have already signed off on the plan, which was approved by the town board in December.

On Saturday, Broderick questioned whether or not emergency service personnel will have adequate access to the site, which is located off Montauk Highway just outside downtown Amagansett. He charged should a stroke or injury occur, there is “no fast way” for an ambulance to enter the site, as there are only two entrances off the highway onto the farm and the back of the property is “barricaded” by the Long Island Railroad tracks. He said the same issue should raise safety alarms in the event of a fire.

East Hampton Town
Planning Board Changes

Last week, East Hampton Town Planning Board member Reed Jones was named the new chairman of that board, which has been led by acting chairman Bob Schaeffer since John Lycke stepped down from the post in September for personal reasons.

Schaeffer will continue to serve on the board as vice chairman.

Jones is an East Hampton resident and is an insurance broker at Amaden Gay Agencies.

On Tuesday, February 1, the East Hampton Town Board also appointed Amagansett resident Frank Falcone to the planning board. He replaces board member Sylvia Overby, whose term has expired. The appointment was almost unanimous, with councilwoman Julia Prince abstaining from the measure.

Taking a Long Look at Long Wharf

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By Kathryn G. Menu

According to a report compiled by the Suffolk County Department of Works and sent to Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride, while Long Wharf has “no structural deficiencies,” short term repairs to the wharf will cost the village about $340,000 should Sag Harbor Village officials decide to take the county up on an offer to buy Long Wharf for $1.

Included in the purchase of Long Wharf is also ownership of Windmill Beach, and the deed to a Hempstead Street property the county has previously offered the village for the development of affordable housing.

However, according to a larger engineer’s report, furnished to the village on Wednesday afternoon, sometime in the next decade the village will need to spend $621,000 to cover repairs to the wharf to ensure no serious structural damage occurs as a result of not keeping up with the maintenance of the facility.

In the initial letter, written by Suffolk County Department of Public Works Chief Deputy Commissioner James Peterman, he notes that while Long Wharf was once owned by the Village of Sag Harbor, it was transferred to the county and placed in the county road system, he says, “to take advantage of certain funding opportunities then available under the New York State Highway Law.”

“Today, Long Wharf is a central part of the village’s downtown area and provides parking and recreational opportunities to residents and visitors,” writes Peterman.

While the county has footed the bill for the long-term maintenance of Long Wharf as its owners, the village has taken in revenues from dockage at the site, last year earning $93,000.

At this point in time, continues Peterman, the county would like to transfer the ownership of Long Wharf and Windmill Beach to the village, making the first formal offer by the county to Mayor Gilbride and the board of trustees.

Attached to Peterman’s letter, are the estimated costs to clean, paint and refurbish the wharf area, at a total price tag of $340,000.

According to Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, that $340,000 in work would need to be performed in the next few years to ensure the long-term structural health of Long Wharf. The $621,000 costs laid out in the engineer’s report detail long-term maintenance required at the site. Schneiderman said if the county retained ownership of Long Wharf, it would likely seek to bond for the whole of the project rather than parse it out.

Schneiderman said he has been debating with county officials over the Long Wharf issue, trying to get an agreement for $340,000 in funding for the Village of Sag Harbor. While the county cannot bond a project and then sell the subject property without charging the buyer for all costs, Schneiderman suggested that if the county retained a partial ownership for the life of the bond, perhaps a deal could be struck.

However, while he supports that kind of measure, Schneiderman said he has not found similar support within the county.

“The county’s position is to give the wharf to the village, as is, and not to do anything” said Schneiderman. “I am just not sure I will be able to get that approved. The county is strapped for cash and can’t see why it would maintain and own this.”

Schneiderman said he believes it is in Sag Harbor Village’s best interest to retain Long Wharf and Windmill Beach as its own, and that he would hate to see a worse case scenario emerge, where the county sold the properties to a private owner who would then set up a paid parking system, and charge for docking and use of the facility for private events like the Bay Street Theatre Gala.

“It’s in the village’s interest to own Long Wharf so they can have total control over its future,” he said.

Village trustees have discussed taking ownership of Long Wharf in earnest, with a majority of the board appearing in support of the concept. Last month, trustees laid out tentative plans to create a budget line to fund the long-term maintenance of Long Wharf by socking away $100,000 each budget year, ideally funded through dockage at the site. Harbor Master Bob Bori has also discussed expanding the village’s transient docks as a way to increase revenues.

Schneiderman suggested additionally that a “Friends of Long Wharf” organization could be created and suspected many members of the community would be keen to support the long-term costs of maintaining Long Wharf and perhaps making it more pedestrian friendly.

On Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Gilbride said he had received both reports and would discuss them in detail with the village board of trustees before the village makes a formal decision.

The next Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting is on December 14 at 6 p.m.



Before Cuts, Sag Harbor Village Budget Up Six Percent

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Plugging the wish lists of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees and those of all the department heads into the next year’s draft budget would result in a six percent spending increase over last year’s approved budget, according to village treasurer Eileen Touhy.

But following a worksession on Friday, Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said the board would pare down the tax increase before the budget is formally presented to taxpayers. Gilbride also said the village would look into ways to increase revenues, including through the possible expansion of Long Wharf.

The nearly $8 million draft spending plan includes $104,350 to fund the creation and staffing of a proposed village justice court. Other big-ticket items on the wish list include $250,000 for a new boat for the fire department and a $100,000 increase in the contingency account to a total of $120,000 that Gilbride said was being set aside to cover repairs to the various municipal buildings.

Sag Harbor fire chief Robert Mitchell has also applied for a grant from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for the replacement of the department’s air packs, which would cost between $320,000 and $390,000. But the chief has yet to hear whether the grant will be awarded to Sag Harbor; if the village budgets for the expenditure, it will no longer be in contention for the grant.

Touhy explained that both the boat and the packs, if budgeted, would come out of the village’s capital reserve fund, which the budget pays down annually.

The chief said the department currently has four different kinds of packs which could present a safety hazard should a volunteer grab the wrong canister. Only 12 of the packs, he said, are from 2007, and neighboring fire districts are already using an even higher standard of air pack.

“I’ve got some bottles from the 1970s still,” he said.

While the state has been handing out grants to other fire departments, a grant award could come as late as October. Board members Tiffany Scarlato and Robby Stein said the trustees should reach out to New York State Senator Charles Schumer to see whether Sag Harbor is a likely candidate, or whether trustees should consider budgeting the expense.

Expansion of Long Wharf?

Looking at a $50,000 shortfall in revenues from the village’s harbors and docks, Gilbride said the board had looked at possibly raising the cost for resident slips in the village, but discovered Sag Harbor’s rates were on par with what other municipalities charge.

However, after consulting with former mayor and village trustee John Ward, Gilbride said he would like to consider expanding dockage at Long Wharf to boost revenues. After consulting with village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr., Gilbride said he believed the village could obtain state permits for the expansion, which would add two fingers to Long Wharf. The village needed to plan, and price, the project, he added before moving forward.

Gilbride also mentioned he would consider renting the west side of Long Wharf for a few more weekends than the board has already approved. At the request of the Harbor Committee, they allowed one yacht to lease the space for holiday weekends, leaving the west side open to the public the remainder of the season. Harbor Master Bob Bori said the village could see an additional $20,000 in revenue if they allowed yachts to lease additional weekends on the west side.

The board empowered Bori to advertise for the rental of the west side of Long Wharf as well as for the village’s transient docks, which now accept advance booking.

“A lot of people don’t know we are taking reservations for transient slips, which we have never done before,” he said. “This way they know when they are coming from Connecticut that they have a slip waiting for them in Sag Harbor.”

MTA Payroll Tax

Sag Harbor Village is also anticipating spending just over $10,000 to cover its share of the Metropolitan Transit Authority payroll tax, although Touhy noted there is state legislation pending that would reduce the cost of the tax on Long Island and other counties outside the five boroughs of New York City. That legislation would reduce the amount of tax on businesses and municipalities in outer counties from $0.34 to $0.17 per $100 of payroll while increasing the tax in the boroughs to $.054 per $100 of payroll.

In addition, New York State Senator Kenneth LaValle and state assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. have joined assemblyman Marc Alessi of Wading River in co-sponsoring legislation that may create the Peconic Bay Regional Transit Authority, which would replace the MTA on the East End, on November’s ballot.

Law enforcement is looking at a two-percent increase as currently budgeted, which includes the addition of a 13th police officer. Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Thomas Fabiano said most of the other increases in his department were contractual in nature. Three years ago, New York State issued a report on the Sag Harbor Village Police Department that said the department should increase its police force by two officers. The addition of this officer will still leave the department one shy of that recommendation.

The police department, fire department and volunteer ambulance department have all seen the cost of radio dispatch raised this year, although volunteer ambulance president Ed Downes noted his department has seen an estimated $14,147 increase for their dispatch alone to a total of $95,353.

All three departments contract with the Village of East Hampton for the service, as does the Bridgehampton Fire Department. The village’s police dispatch is estimated to rise from $41,071 to $45,960 and the fire department’s from $39,762 to $41,790.

“How do they come up with these figures,” asked Trustee Scarlato.

While Downes said the figure is supposed to be based on calls, he believes his department actually saw a decrease in the number of calls it received this year.

Village Clerk Sandra Schroeder said she would reach out to East Hampton Village’s administrator Larry Cantwell about the figures and ask about the formula they use to calculate the cost.

The next Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees meeting on the draft budget will be held on Friday, March 26 at 4 p.m.