Tag Archive | "page at 63 main"

Page Tangles With Sag Harbor Planning Board Again

Tags: ,


backpage

By Stephen J. Kotz

The uneasy cease-fire in the battle between Page at 63 Main and Sag Harbor Village officials over the restaurant’s expansion efforts ended when the village planning board again took up the application on Tuesday, March 24.

Last summer, the restaurant was cited by the village for overreaching its site-plan approval when it constructed improvements for the Back Page on Division Street behind the main restaurant. The village maintained that what was supposed to be a waiting area, where diners could have hors d’oeuvres and a drink while waiting for a table in the main restaurant, had been used instead as a late-night hangout and outdoor dining area. When the matter was not cleared up, the village board revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license. Page sued and won a temporary restraining order, but its suit was later dismissed.

Dennis Downes, the attorney for the restaurant, conceded the Back Page has “functioned a little differently” than what was originally approved but said the restaurant should still be granted site-plan approval for the work. “The use of the area has changed,” he told the board. “The use of the facility is still a restaurant.”

Planning Board member Larry Perrine, who filled in for the board’s chairman, Greg Ferraris, who recused himself after having done some accounting work for some of Page’s partners, said the board was not happy with the way uninvents had unfolded.

He said the restaurant’s owners had first substituted a patio that was larger than a lawn area it replaced and moved an enclosed and refrigerated Dumpster to a position along the property line. The Dumpster, the village said, posed a fire hazard and also required a variance.

Mr. Perrine said instead of a waiting area to be used during regular hours the Back Page had “later hours—hours as late as 4 a.m. in the morning have been reported by neighbors to me personally. It’s almost like a late night bar scene. It is almost functioning as a second business.”

Last month, Page received variances from the village Zoning Board of Appeals allowing it to keep its Dumpster along the property line next to Murph’s Tavern and keep the expanded patio area. Mr. Perrine said the Planning Board was not advised of that action.

“In order to get the variance we had to work with three building inspectors,” Mr. Downes said, and when planning board attorney Denise Schoen said current building inspector Tom Preiato had not signed off on whether the Dumpster enclosure was fireproof, as required, Mr. Downes grew testy.

“You know what really bothers me? All this stuff comes up after the fact,” he said. “If Tom has an objection, he needs to provide a list of deficiencies so we can take care of it. I can’t guess.”

“That is an unbelievably unfair assessment of this process,” Ms. Schoen replied.

Last year, when the matter was before the planning board, Mr. Downes and one of Page’s owners, Gerard Wawryk, insisted that a survey showing the changed location of the Dumpster had been approved by the board when Ms. Schoen was out of the room. Mr. Perrine dismissed that account, telling them he had personally listened to all the recordings of the board’s meetings, and the matter had never been discussed.

Mr. Wawryk threatened to once again sue the village. “We’ll wind up back in court,” he said. “That’s all there is to it. That’s the way it’s going to be.”

The board tabled the matter to next month’s meeting, as it waits for Page to certify the Dumpster is indeed fireproof, provide updated surveys, and submit a description for precisely what it plans to do with the site plan.

Hagen Seeks Bed and Breakfast

The board also held a hearing on Zoning Board chairman Anton Hagen’s application to legalize a bed and breakfast he has operated in his home on Main Street. Mr. Hagen told the board he was trying to comply with an initiative undertaken by the village board to legalize bed and breakfasts to ensure they meet fire and other safety standards.

Although the board asked Mr. Hagen to provide an engineer’s report to address whether his house’s sanitary system was up to the task, he told it that the stubborn winter weather had made it impossible to uncover the sanitary system and mark its location on a survey.

Nonetheless, in a letter to the board, he requested that it approve his application before the report is in hand, noting that he is retired and plans to supplement his income with the bed and breakfast business.

That request drew a rebuke from Mr. Ferraris. “For you of all people to request special treatment for your application is almost unthinkable,” he told Mr. Hagen.

The board adjourned the hearing until next month.

James Carpenter

Tags: , ,


DSC_0245

By Mara Certic

James Carpenter is the executive chef of Page at 63 Main. He spoke about an event for children taking place at the restaurant this weekend and about Page’s ever-growing aquaponic garden.

What is the idea behind the “Little Foodies” event on Saturday?

A good thing to focus on is some healthy alternatives for kids. We don’t get a whole lot of kids here; our whole shtick is using the aquaponics we’ve got going to encourage those healthier choices. It’s easy to make pasta with butter, red sauce or chicken fingers. But can you offer them maybe an aquaponic salad with some grilled chicken? I think parents will appreciate that as well. So we’re going to give them a full tour of our aquaponics. We have a full-time aquaponic farmer, so he’ll give the tour. We have vertical towers here in the dining room, and when the weather gets warmer we have them on the outside of the building, going up to the roof. Actually, on Sunday, Jimmy Fallon was in here and he said “Hey, I love this thing, I want one for my house!” But anyway, so we’re going to tell the kids about the aquaponics, we have a little portable aquaponic system which will start going to different schools and visiting kids there.

How cool. So what’s actually going to happen at the event?

So they’re going to get an aquaponic tour of the place, there are going to be some people here from the Wellness Center to give a brief introduction to their school program, “healthy choices for life,” which starts in Sag Harbor in April. Marta Blanca  from Cornell Cooperative Extension will be the nutritionist presence—she’s just going to talk about the importance and fun of making healthy food options with kids and she’ll bring some interactive demos. And then we’re going to go up to Back Page, where there’s kind of an open kitchen, and so I’ll do a cooking demonstration for the kids. I’ll be making a nice little lunch, with an aquaponic salad, some grilled chicken and a little vinaigrette. We also have aquaponic celery growing, so they’ll get to try some of that. But it’s more of an educational, nutritional event.

Where did this idea come from?

Amber Chapel, Page’s communications manager,  just had a wonderful little baby and she and her father-in-law Joe, who’s one of the owners and has a bunch of grandkids, they said “You know, can you do something healthier for the kids?” I don’t have kids so I was like… I can do a dog menu? But so I said sure, and as we were brainstorming on the concept, Joe came across a big foodie event for kids that happened a couple weeks ago in Bryant Park, in New York City.

Do you remember when you first became interested in food? 

Well I was abnormal because I was always into food. I knew when I was 5-years-old that I wanted to be a chef. So that was easy for me, and my father always had a big garden so that was also really interesting. I’ve been out here now for about 15 years and it’s such an agricultural mecca. All of the organic farms and farm stands that I utilize, as well as like Mecox Bay Dairy, they make their own cheese.

You must be gearing up for summertime, are you planning to change anything up on your menu or in the restaurant?

Well once we get through and survive restaurant week we’ll starting Springing up the menu a little bit. Winter is winter, there’s not a whole lot of local produce going on. Once we get into spring we’ll get more items. I use Satur Farms, up on the North Fork. They have big greenhouses there and they grow stuff all the time. Also, I think we’re looking to find a facility to expand our aquaponics production.

The Little Foodies Event is free and open to children of all ages and will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 28. To register for the event, send an e-mail to info@PageRestaurantGroup.com or call (631) 725-1810.

 

Page at 63 Main Wins Reprieve Against Sag Harbor Village

Tags: , , , ,


Page re open for web

The tables and diners were back in front of Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor on Thursday evening.

 

By Stephen J. Kotz

Less than two weeks after the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees revoked the license of Page at 63 Main to have outdoor dining on Main Street, the restaurant has won a reprieve.

On Thursday, the restaurant obtained an injunction in New York State Supreme Court, restraining the village from enforcing its ruling, which was made at a July 18 meeting.

By Thursday evening’s dinner hour, the tables—and diners—had returned to the sidewalk.

Tom Horn, a Sag Harbor attorney who represented the restaurant before Justice Denise Malia in Riverhead, in a press release said he believed the court would be inclined to allow the restaurant to keep it seating through the summer season, reducing the financial impact of the village’s ruling.

“It was a good day for fairness today,” Mr. Horn said. “What the village was doing was hurting Page and for no reason other than to try and show that [the village] had the ability to hurt them. To be granted a judgment like this you have to have an extraordinary case. And we did. We had the facts, truth and law on our side and the court awarded what was fair.”

“We are delighted that we will be able to restore our seating and rehire the individuals who unfortunately had to be laid off as a result of this irresponsible revocation of our license. By ruling in our favor it is apparent that the court feels the village has overstepped its bounds” said Joe Traina, one of the restaurant’s owners in a press release.

The village revoked the license after charging that the restaurant had failed to get a building permit for a renovation project, overstepped the planning board’s approvals for that project, and had fire code violations in a wooden Dumpster enclosure.

Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride declined to comment on the ruling, referring calls to village attorney Denise Schoen, who prosecuted the case for the village.

On Friday afternoon, Ms. Schoen disagreed with Mr. Horn’s take on the way the court was leaning. The judge “was fine with letting them stay open on a temporary basis while we try to work things out,” Ms. Schoen said.

But the village attorney said it would be difficult for the court to ignore the wording of the dining license, which, she said, allows the village to revoke it for “any or no reason at all.”

The parties will return to court on August 12.

 

Village Revokes Page Outdoor Dining License

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant's outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

Staff members clear tables and chairs from in front of Page at 63 Main after the Sag Harbor Village Board revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license on Friday. Photo by Stephen J. Kotz.

By Stephen J. Kotz

After a month of behind-the-scenes wrangling over unapproved renovations made at Page at 63 Main, the Sag Harbor Village Board pounced on Friday, July 18, revoking the restaurant’s license for outdoor dining on Main Street.

The village took the action even after one of the restaurant’s attorneys, Dennis Downes said losing the option to offer outdoor dining would cost the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day and even jeopardize its ability to stay in business.

In an 11th hour bid to appease the village, Mr. Downes said Page’s owners had offered to immediately shut down their Back Page café, behind the main restaurant, until zoning and fire code violations there were rectified and a site-plan issued for the property.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistakes had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work before approvals were in hand to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” he said of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”

But the board would not be swayed. “We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” Mayor Brian Gilbride said.

He referred to an action taken by building inspector Tim Platt, who had cited the business for doing the renovation work with neither a site plan approval nor a building permit and had ordered it to suspend its outdoor dining service until the charges were sorted out. Instead, he said, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

The board’s action clearly got the restaurant owners’ attention. A few minutes after it revoked the license, and Page’s owners and managers left the Municipal Building grumbling among themselves, waiters and busboys were scurrying about, clearing the tables and chairs from in front of the restaurant before the evening’s dinner rush.

On Tuesday, Mr. Downes, and Tom Horn, another attorney for the restaurant, were in Sag Harbor Village Justice Court for an initial appearance on the restaurant’s behalf. Village Justice Andrea Schiavoni said she would have to recuse herself from hearing the case because of a relationship with one of the restaurant’s owners and adjourned the case until August.

Speaking outside the courtroom, Mr. Horn, who said he had only had time to quickly review the charges against the restaurant, nonetheless expressed confidence it would prevail in court. “I think the charges are technically flawed and actually flawed,” Mr. Horn said, “and I say that based on my 11 years’ experience as a fire marshal.” Before becoming an attorney, Mr. Horn was a fire marshal for East Hampton Town.

The restaurant’s saga took another turn on Tuesday night when Mr. Downes, and Gerard Wawryk, one of its owners, appeared before the Planning Board, trying to straighten out the confusion over the restaurant’s renovation project, which was undertaken this spring.

The key issues revolved around changes to the proposed site plan for the dining area now known as the Back Page Café. At a June 26 village board meeting, then-planning board chairman Neil Slevin said the restaurant had done work that planners had not intended.

That included moving without permission the location of an enclosure that would allow it to keep its dumpsters refrigerated as well as the replacement of a grass waiting area with a bluestone patio.

One of the village’s attorneys, Denise Schoen, said that the wooden Dumpster building, which had been placed next to a fence beside Murph’s Backstreet Tavern and connected to the electric service, posed a fire hazard, a charge the restaurant’s owners denied.

Ms. Schoen added that the Back Page had originally been presented as a waiting area, where restaurant patrons could enjoy a drink or hors d’oeuvres while waiting for a table inside, but had, in fact, been turned into an outdoor expansion of the restaurant.

Mr. Downes has said the planning board approved the changes when it accepted a new survey of the site last winter, but board members said it was an oversight.

Despite the disagreement, planning board members were amenable to tweaking the site plan for the Back Page and said they would okay the bluestone patio even though it would exceed the allowable lot coverage because it was served by sufficient drainage.

But planners said they would not allow the dumpster enclosure to remain in its current location because it effectively eliminated the restaurant’s driveway and prevented delivery trucks from backing in off the street, forcing them to instead block one lane of traffic on Division Street.

On Tuesday, Mr. Wawryk offered to remove the dumpster building and replace it with two smaller enclosures that would be set back on either side of the driveway farther from Division Street to provide space for delivery trucks.

Planners said they would send a memo supporting the changes to the village Zoning Board of Appeals, which has held off on a decision on the restaurant’s application for variances, pending a resolution of the site plan issues.

At last week’s special meeting, when the board informed Page’s owners that it was considering revoking the restaurant’s outdoor dining privilege, Mr. Downes tried at first to argue that it was “a was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

Sag Harbor Village Board Revokes Page at 63 Main Outdoor Dining License

Tags: , , , , ,


DSC_0816

Waiters remove chairs from Page at 63 Main Friday afternoon after the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees revoked the restaurant’s outdoor dining license. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees on Friday, July 18, revoked the outdoor dining license of Page at 63 Main restaurant. The village board took the action, Mayor Brian Gilbride said, primarily because of ongoing code compliance issues with the restaurant’s new Back Page café, which opened earlier this year.

It did so after attorney Dennis Downes—who told the board the outdoor dining on Main Street earned the restaurant between $7,500 and $10,000 a day—said its owners would shut down the Back Page café immediately until zoning code violations were resolved and a site plan was issued if the village would allow it to keep its outdoor dining license.

Minutes after the village issued its order, at about 5 p.m., waiters were busy removing the tables and chairs that had graced the front of the restaurant next door to the Municipal Building.

The restaurant found itself in hot water when village officials said it made improvements to the property without first obtaining building permits. Village officials also said the restaurant created an outdoor dining area with a slate patio, when the village Planning Board had intended for it to be used simply as a waiting area for patrons who wanted to dine in the main restaurant.

Village officials also said a refrigerated Dumpster enclosure that was built behind the Back Page posed a fire hazard because it was wired for electricity, a charge the restaurant’s representatives denied.

The village also charged that Page did not remove the same number of seats from inside the restaurant as it offered outside, as it had agreed to do when applying for the license.

Last week, the village building inspector suspended the Main Street dining license, pending the restaurant’s appearance next week in village Justice Court. In the meantime, said Mayor Gilbride, the restaurant’s owners “thumbed their nose” at the village.

“We’re here talking because when there was a suspension… the right thing would have been to remove the tables and chairs and let’s get to the bottom of this,” the mayor said.

Mr. Downes sought to prevent the village board from taking action, saying the outdoor dining right was “a valuable property right” that the village could not revoke without “due process.”

Village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. called those charges “ludicrous,” adding that the village only charged $100 for a license and said if outdoor seats were as valuable as Mr. Downes said they were, the village should be charging more. “It’s a privilege to use public property for a private use,” Mr. Thiele said.

Mr. Downes conceded that mistake had been made, but said the restaurant had been held up during the planning process and had to do the work to be ready for the summer season.

“Without those seats, there is a lot of money being lost,” said Mr. Downes of the outdoor dining. “It could be the difference between being able to stay alive in the winter where there are less people out here.”

Sag Harbor Wants To Revoke Page’s Outdoor Dining License

Tags: , ,


backpage

By Stephen J. Kotz

The Sag Harbor Village Board will hold a special meeting at 3 p.m. on Friday, July 18, to discuss revoking the outdoor dining license it issued to the restaurant Page at 63 Main Street because of a number of alleged fire code and zoning code violations at the establishment.

“That license has been suspended by the building inspector,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride, “and he has thumbed his nose at the village and continued to serve alcohol and food outside, which is a violation,” referring to Gerard Wawryk, one of the business’s owners.

“They have been written up on multiple charges of fire code violations,” said assistant village attorney Denise Schoen.

Village attorney Fred. W. Thiele Jr. said if the restaurant did not answer the charges in a timely fashion in village Justice Court, the village could seek a restraining order against the business in state Supreme Court.

“In my experience as a town attorney and village attorney health or safety violations are more likely to get relief” than simple code violations, he said.

Mr. Wawryk was not available for comment on Wednesday.

Ms. Schoen said a Dumpster that is enclosed in a refrigerated wooden structure and abuts a fence next to Murph’s Tavern on Division Street is a fire hazard.

In addition, she said the restaurant had undertaken improvements to the rear of its property to open up the Back Page café without obtaining a building permit.

She also said that the original idea for the Back Page was to provide a “waiting area” with tables and some food service for restaurant patrons waiting to be served. But the outdoor dining area that has been constructed “is not the intended use” that the Planning Board approved.

On Tuesday night, even as a notice announcing the village action against his restaurant was posted on the front door of the Municipal Building, Mr. Wawryk sat in the audience, waiting for the village Zoning Board of Appeals to make a decision on Page’s application to obtain a variance for the placement of the Dumpster.

But after hearing that the Planning Board had not intended for it to be placed in that location, the ZBA took the unusual step of reopening its hearing on the matter and would ask the planning board for its opinion.

Page Opens New Market Café

Tags: , ,


Diners who are in the mood for Page at 63 Main, but would rather take out or have a more casual dining experience, will be happy to learn that the restaurant has opened a new market café, the Back Page.

Located on 63 Division Street, behind the main restaurant, the Back Page can be entered through a side entrance or through Page’s atrium room.

The new space seats 18 at two large picnic tables under market umbrellas and banquette seating along the perimeter.

The menu, which was created by chef Erma Orofino, offers breakfast, lunch, dinners, and late night meals, which include pancakes, fresh salads, paninis, tacos, burgers and more. There are vegan and organic options available and the restaurant incorporates produce from its very own on-site aquaponic garden. There are a variety of beverages available, including draft beers, wine on tap, housemade sangria, fruit and vegetable juices, coffee from Java Nation and tea from Harold and Sons.

The new market café will be open daily, with breakfast from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and dinner from 6 to 10 p.m. A late night menu is also available from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m.

For more information, call (631) 919-5085 or visit www.page63main.com.

Local is Always Better, Says Carpenter of New Gig at Page at 63 Main

Tags: , , , , , , ,


Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main

Well known East End chef James Carpenter will lead the kitchen at Page at 63 Main.

By Stephen J. Kotz

Workers are still building a rooftop garden to grow fresh salad greens and vegetables and completing a back terrace serving area at Page at 63 Main in Sag Harbor, and the restaurant’s new chef, James Carpenter, who arrived just two weeks ago after his most recent stint at East Hampton Point, is busy himself, pulling together a new menu in time for the coming summer season.

The restaurant, once known as Spinnakers and now co-owned by Gerry Wawryk and Joe Traina, is undergoing a rebirth to a more sustainable, and health-conscious approach under Mr. Carpenter’s discerning eye. “I’m making the menu to be a little more seafood driven,” said Mr. Carpenter, who also has a reputation as a practitioner of slow food cuisine with an emphasis on locally grown ingredients.  So it is out with “the goopy, deep fried dishes,” and in with the freshest of ingredients, like those that will be grown on the roof and are already sprouting from a series of “aquaponic” gardens set up in a back dining room.

Mr. Carpenter, who came to the East End to open Savannah’s restaurant in Southampton Village, in the 1990s and was the longtime chef at Della Femina in East Hampton, said he joined Page because he was intrigued by the owners’ plans to develop the aquaponic gardens, which are fed with water that passes through fish tanks to provide the growing greens with a ready source of organic fertilizer.

“You can go to King Kullen and pick up a bag of mesclun mix and it tastes like water,” Mr. Carpenter said. “But if you try our salads, you’ll say, ‘This is the most flavorful salad I’ve ever had.’”

Besides the restaurant grown greens, Mr. Carpenter said the bounty of eastern Long Island’s farm fields and waters makes it easy to focus on locally grown ingredients.

So diners can expect fresh tomatoes and sweet corn from Balsam Farms in Amagansett, mushrooms and vegetables from Dave Falkowski’s Opened Minded Organics in Bridgehampton, and other fresh produce from the Green Thumb in Water Mill and Satur Farms in Cutchogue, as well as cheeses from the Ludlows’ Mecox Bay Dairy in Water Mill and Howard Pickerell’s “Peconic Pride” oysters, which are raised in Noyac.

Diners can expect to see such items as Carta de Musica, which literally means music paper in Italian, but is an appetizer of provencale mussel salad, tuna tartare and house grown salad greens on crispy flatbread. Among the main courses will be Mushroom Bolognese, made with Mr. Falkowski’s mushrooms as well as homemade fettuccine, sofrito and Grana Padano parmesan cheese. While the menu will have basics like cheeseburgers and steaks, Mr. Carpenter said it will include items like Organic Quinoa Linguine, which meets the vegan standards of the East End Wellness Challenge.

Mr. Carpenter, who was raised in Carmel, New York, left home to enter the U.S. Navy after high school, where he was trained as a chef and was soon traveling the world over on board the U.S.S. Midway, the last of the fleet’s diesel powered aircraft carriers. “It offered a great opportunity to taste foods from so many different cultures,” Mr. Carpenter said of his navy days.

After leaving Savannah, Mr. Carpenter served  an eight-year stint at Della Femina and also brought his skills to the Living Room @ c/o the Maidstone, whose owners were from Stockholm and who wanted to focus solely on Swedish cuisine, an approach he did not want to take. He also worked for a couple of years at the American Hotel and most recently at Ben Krupinski’s Cittanuova, 1770 House and East Hampton Point.

At all his stops, he said he focuses on bringing as much locally grown food to the table as possible. “It’s always better if it’s grown 5 miles away,” he said.

Page at 63 Main is located at 63 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, or to make a reservation, visit page63main.com or call 725-1810. 

Aquaponic Farming, Rooftop Garden Proposed for Sag Harbor’s Page at 63 Main

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


By Tessa Raebeck

Hoping to join the growing farm-to-table food movement on the East End, Page at 63 Main has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming and a rooftop garden to enable the restaurant to grow its vegetables on site.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics and aquaculture in a symbiotic environment. Through hydroponics, plants are cultivated in water and aquatic animals (in this case fish) are raised through aquaculture. Aquaponics allows the water from the aquaculture system — filled with nutrients from fish by-products — to be then fed into the hydroponic system to fuel the growing plants.

Attorney Dennis Downes represented Gerard Wawryk, one of the owners of the Main Street, Sag Harbor restaurant, at a Sag Harbor Planning Board meeting Tuesday.

The building currently has a footprint of 3,860 square feet, an area the project would not alter. The building’s front portion is two stories, the middle section has a one-story frame and masonry structure and the rear section has two stories. The restaurant occupies the building’s ground floor and the second floor houses a residential apartment.

Although the footprint would not be changed, the proposal would add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not currently meet the full footprint) which would be added over the one story middle portion of the building and serve as a seeding area. A partial 481 square foot third floor over the rear potion of the building would serve as a greenhouse and the second story roof would house a garden.

“There is no change in parking or change in sewer,” Downes said Tuesday, adding that water in the tanks would not be going into the sewer as board members had previously wondered.

The plan was first introduced to the planning board in a work session November 26. At Tuesday’s meeting, Downes asked the board to adopt a resolution to send a 30-day letter for lead agency status and to allow the demolition of a gable roof.

Downes said renovations to the kitchen, which did not require approval, are underway and the applicants want to “put a solid roof on top of it that they can then incorporate it into a new building at a later date.”

The board adopted the resolution for lead agency status and entertained a motion to send a memo to building inspector Tim Platt allowing the demolition of the gable roof.

Planning board member Greg Ferraris asked Downes for documentation from an expert verifying the plan, in fact, has no effect to waste management and Downes replied he would have the sewer flow verified.

Sag Harbor Planning Board Reviews Proposal for Aquaponic Farm at Page at 63 Main

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


By Kathryn G. Menu

The farm-to-table movement has flourished on the East End for decades, many restaurants boasting kitchen gardens to supply fresh, seasonal produce to diner’s plates. For Gerard Wawryk, an owner of Page at 63 Main, while a traditional kitchen garden is out of reach for the Main Street, Sag Harbor space, he has proposed a greenhouse that would employ aquaponic farming on the second and third floor of the restaurant building.

Aquaponics is farming that combines hydroponics — cultivating plants in water — with aquaculture — raising aquatic animals, in this case fish — in a symbiotic environment where the water from the aquaculture system is fed into the hydroponic system. Nitrates and nitrites created by fish by-products serve as a nutrient for the growing plants.

According to attorney Dennis Downes, representing Wawryk at a Sag Harbor Planning Board work session on Tuesday, November 26, this concept is something Wawryk has been exploring since 2006. It is only now, said Downes, that Wawryk finds himself in the financial position to move forward with the plan, which he has been developing with the help of the Town of Southampton’s Sustainability Committee.

As a result of the project, the footprint of the building will not change, but will remain at 3,860 square feet. The proposal aims to add 835 square feet of space to the existing second floor (which does not meet the full footprint of the building) for a seeding area and construct a 481 square foot greenhouse on the rear portion of the third floor. The second story of the building will also serve as a roof garden for the restaurant.

The number of seats in the restaurant is not increasing, nor is the existing apartment, noted Downes, meaning the project does not need additional parking or wastewater treatment to move forward.

“The vegetables that will be grown will be used on the site,” added Downes. “This is not where he is going to be growing vegetables and selling them on the open market.”

Because the project will push the building size over 4,000 square-feet it will have to be reviewed under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) as a type one action, meaning the planning board will have to assess whether or not the project carries the potential to cause a significant adverse environmental impact.

The Southampton Town Sustainability Committee, added Downes, is in favor of the project and has hopes other restaurants will be able to look at sustainable food systems like aquaponics to cultivate produce.

According to Terry Chappel, a consultant working on the project, the aquaponic system is closed loop, and is considered a low-density system or one that uses a minimal amount of fish to produce the nitrites and nitrates needed for the vegetables.

“We are essentially using the fish to start a biological cycle, a nitrification cycle, and it’s a very sustainable way of doing this because we are not having to import salt based chemicals from Morocco, which is normally the case,” he said.

“It’s very easy, low labor, simple and clean,” added Chappel.

The restaurant, he added, will be limited in what it can grow in the aquaponic system and will focus primarily on leafy greens. Seasonal beds are planned for the second floor and more conventional vegetables like tomatoes will also be grown in season.

“From a use perspective, nothing jumps out at me other than what if any are the implications of providing additional space of this size,” said planning board chairman Neil Slevin. “That is what we should probably think about.”

Board member Larry Perrine, the CEO and a partner at Channing Daughters Winery, asked how often the system would need to be flushed and what kind of additional wastewater would that produce.

Chappel said once the biology in the system working properly, it would maintain itself, but if something did occur the system would need to be flushed which would create wastewater.

Sag Harbor Village Environmental Planning Consultant Richard Warren suggested the board be furnished with pictures of an existing system to better understand how it works.