Tag Archive | "Route 114"

LaValle and Thiele Secure $700,000 to Fund a Roundabout on Route 114

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Elected officials gathered at the intersection of Route 114 and Toilsome Lane to announce that $700,000 had been secured to fund the construction of a roundabout at this location. From left to right are, East Hampton Village Superintendent of Public Works Scott Pithian, East Hampton Village Trustees Barbara Borsack and Richard Lawler, New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle, Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr., and East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell. Photo by Mara Certic.

By Mara Certic

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. announced a state partnership with East Hampton Village to fund and construct a roundabout at the troublesome five-corner intersection of State Route 114 and Toilsome Lane on Monday, October 27.

“As you can see, this is a very interesting intersection, and so I think it’s been on the drawing board, or discussed, for many years, how we can traverse the intersection in the safest way possible,” Senator LaValle said just yards away from the busy intersection on Monday afternoon.

“The Village of East Hampton made a request and Assemblyman Thiele and I were able to meet the request of the village,” he said.

“The hard work was done here by the village,” the assemblyman said, which managed to reach community consensus on the proposed roundabout.

“It involves a state highway that’s part of this, and the Department of Transportation is fond of saying ‘Oh we’ll give you the permit for it, but we don’t have any money to pay for it,’” Mr. Thiele said.  ”So we wanted to try to eliminate that particular problem and that’s why the senator and I were able to get $700,000 toward the cost of this — which is not the entire cost but is a substantial portion to help the village.”

“This is one of those rare occasions where all levels of government have worked together,” said East Hampton Village Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. “I’m very, very pleased,” he added.

“All the engineering and planning has been done so this can move forward,” Mr. Thiele said. The roundabout will have a raised, mountable and landscaped center island. The project will involve the installation of improved drainage structures as well as certain traffic-calming and pedestrian-safety measures.

Mr. Rickenbach said the project was a “work in progress,” but added the village hopes to have it completed within the next year.

Assemblyman Thiele added he and Mr. LaValle are going to be asking the DOT to look at other issues along Route 114, including speed limits and the need to repave the road from the Sag Harbor line through to East Hampton Village. “Route 114 is next for us to look at,” he said.

Special ZBA Harbor Heights Work Session Slated for Thursday, February 28 at 2 p.m.

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Today, Thursday, February 28 at 2 p.m. the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) will meet for a special work session to discuss the proposed expansion of the Harbor Heights Service Station on Hampton Road in Sag Harbor.

While the meeting is open to the public, only members of the ZBA will be permitted to speak. A public hearing on the Harbor Heights application will continue at the board’s regularly scheduled meeting on March 19.

Harbor Heights Service Station owner John Leonard is proposing a 1,842 square-foot building, with a 972 square-foot convenience store within it. Several areas, where goods are not visible, including the bathroom, have not been counted towards the square-footage of the store.

The service station building will also be expanded slightly. Four pump islands with eight fueling positions are proposed under a canopy, as are two new curb cuts into the property, 32 parking spaces and new landscaping.

Leonard needs eight variances from the ZBA, including for the height of the canopy, for setbacks for the building as well as the fuel pumps, for landscape buffers and for the size of the convenience store.

The not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor, along with a number of neighbors and residents, are opposing the plan, primarily citing the size of the expansion.

Village Engineer Deems Traffic Analysis & Lighting in Harbor Heights Development Reasonable

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By the time the  Sag Harbor Village Planning Board finishes its September 25 meeting, John Leonard will likely know if his proposed expansion of the Harbor Heights Service Station has the potential to cause a significant environmental impact on the surrounding neighborhood.

If Tuesday night’s planning board meeting was any indication, it appears the board is leaning in Leonard’s favor and will give the project a negative declaration in its State Environmental Quality Review (SEQR). That would mean the project could move on to the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), which must rule on a number of variances required for the project to move forward in its current form. Those variances include the size of a proposed convenience store, which at 1,000-square-feet is 400 square-feet more than what is allowed under the village code.

The Sag Harbor Planning Board will still have to complete its site plan review of the project after the ZBA makes its ruling.

Over a year ago, station owner John Leonard proposed redeveloping the property on Route 114 by demolishing the existing, blue gas station building and putting in a new building, which would host a convenience store. A new layout for gas pump islands, more pumps and new curb cuts to make the station safer to enter and exit are proposed in Leonard’s plans, as is new landscaping, lighting and parking configuration.

For months, the village’s planning board has been gathering information on potential environmental impacts the project could pose. At the same time a group of neighbors and the not-for-profit Save Sag Harbor have questioned the size of the development project.

On Tuesday night, it appeared the Sag Harbor Planning Board had gathered the last information it would need to assess Leonard’s plans from an environmental perspective, including a rendering showing what the project would look like from the street, more information on traffic, refuse control, petroleum spill mitigation, sanitary calculations and lighting.

At issue in the board’s assessment of traffic are conflicting traffic analyses — one from Leonard’s team at Stonefield Engineering and one submitted by neighbors opposing the project who contracted a traffic analysis from the Texas-based DeShazo Group. While Stonefield’s report showed a minimal increase in new traffic, the DeShazo Group report showed a far higher increase in traffic.

According to Tammy Cunha, an engineer with P.W. Grosser, the village’s engineering consultant, the difference between the two reports is that while Stonefield assessed traffic on the Harbor Heights property as traffic associated with a gas station that has a small store, DeShazo used estimates for the addition of a convenience store as a primary use with gas pumps as an accessory function of the business.

“The DeShazo report is not using the proper classification code,” she said. “No matter how we run the numbers it falls below the 100 car increase needed to make this an environmental impact situation.”

Noting there is a 7-Eleven in Sag Harbor Village, Cunha said she believes, as Stonefield suggests, passerby traffic is the type that will be coming into Harbor Heights if it is redeveloped, rather than it becoming a destination for drivers.

According to Sag Harbor Village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren, the lighting plan has also been drastically reduced on the project to a minimal level of lighting. One light per service bay is planned as are the use of LED lights, which gives the station control over lighting levels. All lighting is Dark Skies compliant, added Warren, and the light spread will actually be smaller if the project moves forward than the lighting on the property is now.

“One of the senses of the community, what the community doesn’t want, is what you see on Route 27 – bright green, bright orange, bright yellow plastic signs to attract attention,” said board member Larry Perrine. “I think by reducing the lighting and not presenting signs of that kind, I think they have accomplished a lot to make it not like that and make it something much softer, which is a good thing.”

The board is expected to straw poll whether or not to give the project a negative declaration on September 25. Leonard hopes to be before the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals in November.

Sag Harbor Cottages Plan Nears Public Hearing

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Proposed plans to demolish and redevelop the Sag Harbor Cottages on Route 114 just outside Sag Harbor Village will be up for public hearing in September, but that decision was not made before attorney Jon Tarbet questioned both the planning process in East Hampton and the motives of one planning board member during a meeting held last week.

Owner David Reiner hopes to demolish the aging motel once called the Barcelona Inn, and replace it with 12 individual cottages, an open pavilion, management office, pool with cabana lounge area, pool house and storage sheds on a nearly six-acre parcel in a residential portion of the town, surrounded largely by state and county preserves. The proposal will not require any variances from the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals and will set the motel back 300-feet from the road, with a landscape plan that attempts to shield view from the development from Route 114 with 1500 new trees and bushes proposed around the development.

On Wednesday, July 28, Tarbet, an attorney representing Reiner, approached the town planning board with a new landscape plan and narrative with the hopes of having the application deemed complete and ready for public hearing with the town’s own planning department agreeing that with the board’s permission there was sufficient information to move forward, as long as the project meets the water demands of the Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department, which asked the project include public water in case of an emergency.

“Overall, I think this is a reasonable application and I support it,” said board member Reed Jones, adding the extensive landscaping plan was a plus.

Former board chair, and current board member Sylvia Overby, however, said she had continued concerns about the expansion of a pre-existing, non-conforming use of the property, despite a determination by chief building inspector Thomas Preiato that stated the expansion of the use was within town code.

While now-deceased building inspector Don Sharkey had already determined the proposed use at the cottages were within the developers rights per town code, after his death the planning board asked Preiato, just weeks on the job, whether or not the cottages met the definition of a transient motel as they do not share common walls, but are proposed to share decking and fencing. In a November 2009 letter, Preiato said the structures did not meet the definition of a transient motel, but in a February 2009 letter he clarified his determination, stating they do in fact meet the intent of the town code and are legal.

“I would like to know from counsel how the building department can go from point A to point B, when in one minute they say it does not meet the definition of the code, but now it does,” said Overby, asking for town attorney Kathryn Santiago to research the matter.

“I don’t think any research is required,” replied Santiago, noting Preiato’s determination followed his own review of the case on more than one occasion and is in line with a previous building department determination.

“So the building inspector changed his mind,” countered Overby.

“I suppose so,” said Santiago. “He reviewed the material in its entirety and that is the determination he came up with.”

Board chairman Bob Schaeffer reminded Overby that because that determination was made more than 60 days ago, the board cannot contend it, to which Overby countered the board was not aware of the determination until July.

“How can anyone appeal it,” she asked.

Tarbet said it was not incumbent upon him, or the building inspector, to ensure the board was aware of the determination, noting there are many times a building inspector in the town has changed their minds on an interpretation of the code and that their determinations are always available when requested.

“When I told you he had made this determination eight weeks ago, you could have gone and spoken to him,” said Tarbet, adding later, “Anyone who has been in the planning process knows building inspectors change their minds.”

Overby said she has continually asked for a detailed narrative about the uses planned for the project, but has yet to receive it, to which Tarbet replied he has submitted three narratives over the course of the three year process.

“The problem, member Overby, is when you don’t like a project you refuse to let it be voted on, you try and keep it in process forever and that is not right,” said Tarbet. “The developer has a right to hear a yes or no. You don’t have to keep it in process forever.”

“I don’t want to keep it in process forever,” said Overby. “What I want to do is make sure it is the best project for that particular site.”

Schaeffer rebuffed Tarbet for the criticism, asking the focus be kept at that application at hand.

Looking at the narrative, Overby said plans call for a bathroom and shower, charging the detailed narrative she requested was not as comprehensive as she would like.

“I didn’t know I had to lay out what was already in the plans,” said Tarbet.

Overby added that with a sink, counters and storage space, the proposed lounge area looks like a bar.

“That’s illegal,” said Tarbet, charging Overby with brining up the possibility of illegal uses at the site when the current owner has operated it for five years without any problems.

Lastly, Overby said that the code restricted accessory buildings over 600 square feet, which Tarbet countered was allowed in a commercial use. After the meeting, at the request of Overby, the planning department agreed to explore the matter.

“I am trying to get as much information as I can,” said Overby after being chastised by Tarbet for questioning the use of a laundry service area. “In good planning you get as much information as you can.”

“I spent hours trying to figure out what else I can give you,” said Tarbet. “When I say it is being used for laundry service that is being descriptive. Should I tell you the color of the sheets, the kind of laundry detergent. It’s getting insane.”

“I think you are being adversarial tonight,” said Overby. “I think you have been adversarial through this whole process.”

Schaeffer reined in the discussion, after which board member Patrick Schutte said he felt the five to six feet high and six to eight feet high trees in the landscaping plan would not be enough to buffer the project from the road. He also asked for assurances that organized parties and catered events, outside the large family barbeque, not be allowed at the cottages.

“We are not trying to create a party venue,” said Reiner.

Tarbet agreed that 30 of 100 proposed white pines on the property would be planted as eight to ten foot trees to satisfy Schutte, and assured he would detail in another narrative that “Kettle-One” parties and the like were not intended for the property once it is developed, but rather family reunions and similar gatherings.

Schutte, Peter Van Scoyoc and Jones approved the application as complete and ready for public hearing, with Overby voting against the motion and Schaeffer declining a vote as the majority had already spoken. According to Tarbet, a public hearing is expected in six weeks time.

Ferry Road to Close for Culvert Repair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motel on Route 114 Eyed as Resort Spa

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The owners of the Barcelona Inn, a motel located just outside of the Village of Sag Harbor on Route 114, hope to revamp the property into a resort boasting pool and spa facilities. However, it appears after an East Hampton Town planning board work session on Wednesday, April 1, the developers will have to answer to a series of concerns both board members and the town planning department have regarding the expansion.

According to a memo prepared by town planner Eric Schantz, the project aims to demolish the existing motel, four sheds, five stand-alone units and a garage on the nearly 260,000 square foot parcel. In its place, the owners, 734 Route 114 LLC, hope to build 12 cottages, two storage buildings, an office, a pool, a pool house and cabana, two spas and an open air pavilion.

This project has been in the pipeline since 2007, although it has been redesigned several times.

The project would require the clearing of existing native forest, according to Schantz’s memo, and will increase building and total lot coverage on the property.

Schantz notes the current motel site is mostly cleared with a few lawns and scattered oak and maple trees, but the rest of the property is largely undeveloped and contains a “unique remnant of native White Pine forest.”

“It is the only White Pine forest on Long Island and occurs only in the Northwest Woods Region of East Hampton,” writes Schantz. “Also, to the northeastern border of the property are wetlands that are fed by Little Northwest Creek.”

He added the parcel is also within an area considered a “significant fish and wildlife habitat” by both local and state standards, and borders wetland areas and state owned property.

The new plan reduces clearing on the site by 900 square feet. The total amount proposed to be cleared is 40,543 square feet – about 1000 square feet less than what is allowed. Schantz asked the board to seek a re-vegetation plan for the site, focusing on using native plant species, in particular the White Pine. This plan could also be used for screening the property from Route 114, he added.

Planning board members were reportedly troubled by the clearing of white pines on the property, and said they would need to see a re-vegetation plan. They also expressed concerns about whether or not the site contained enough parking.

Schantz notes a new design provided by the developers reduces previous concerns about the septic systems and impacts on both the appearance of the property from Route 114 as well as storm water runoff concerns.

The planning department is also seeking complete plans showing all of the pool and spa facilities.

From a design perspective, Schantz notes the department prefers a new square design as opposed to an original circular design, but would like to see the board request the input of the town’s architectural review board. There are also questions about the size of some of the units, which are smaller than town code allows.

Once all these questions are answered, writes Schantz, the board can deem the application complete and schedule a public hearing on the project.

The next town planning board meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, April 22.