Tag Archive | "sag harbor village trustees"

Trustees Want to Squeeze in More Parking Spaces

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A boat on a trailer, taking up more than two spaces, was stored in the Sag Harbor long-term parking lot on Bridge Street recently. Photo by Ken O’Donnell. 

By Stephen J. Kotz

As summer approaches, parking spaces in Sag Harbor Village become about as esay to find as an affordable rental. Cars wait for spaces to open on Main Street, forcing traffic to back up for a block or more. Or they circle various municipal lots in a futile search for an opening, while traffic control officers, their chalk sticks and ticket books at the ready, wait.

Sag Harbor Village Trustee Robby Stein, whose office looks out from above the Yoga Shanti over the main municipal lot behind Meadow and Bridge streets, said about two years ago, he began ruminating on ways to increase the number of parking spaces in the limited area available in the business district.

Recently, he joined forces with Trustee Ken O’Donnell to examine whether the long-term lot, sometimes called the Gas Ball lot, could be turned over to a private parking company that would post an attendant there and try to maximize parking by charging a $5 fee for 24-hour parking.

“If we’re not aware of it today, everyone will be aware of it in two weeks when the kids get out of school that the village has a parking problem,” Mr. O’Donnell said this week.

Mr. Stein said the two trustees spoke to Advance Parking, which manages parking lots and runs event parking, and it suggested leaving one row of the gas ball lot for resident 24-hour parking and allowing it to “stack” cars into spaces as a way to maximize the number of cars that could be fit in.

Mr. Stein said the company thinks it could squeeze another 40 to 60 vehicles into the lot, and because it would turn over $1 for every $5 it earns, the village could earn “several thousands of dollars a week” at the peak season.

“I pass the gas ball every day on my way to work,” said Mr. O’Donnell, and it is not being properly used.” He reported seeing an RV parked in the lot for months last winter, and more recently photographed a boat on a trailer that had been left there.

But the plan, which the trustees brought before the village board on June 10, received a lukewarm reception at best, with Mayor Brian Gilbride saying the village would have to write up an official request for proposals before it could even begin thinking about implementing the idea.

Then, he said, it would have to clear the idea with National Grid, which leases the property for a pittance to the village on a year-to-year basis.

Nada Barry, a regular at board meetings and an owner of the Wharf Shop toy store on Main Street, said the proposal would cause a nightmare for employees who struggle as it is to find parking.

“I like them thinking out of the box,” she said on Wednesday, “but I don’t think that’s the solution.”

Although the trustees raised the idea of providing village businesses with a set number of parking passes, Ms. Barry said that would not be feasible for a business like hers that has a large staff of part-time employees coming and going.

Besides, she said, she doubted the village would make much money out of the arrangement.

What the village should do, she said, is better spread the gravel and mark the individual spaces in the gas ball lot, which would make it a more efficient use of space.

Mr. Stein said he is not giving up on the idea and was waiting for village attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. to find out from National Grid what it would think of the village turning the lot into a revenue generator.

“It’s just one idea,” he said, adding that “Sag Harbor has always had a parking problem” and he was not ready to throw in the towel.

In the meantime, he said, he would continue to search for ways to maximize parking in the village lot, including the lot outside his window. By rearranging the configuration, to allow separate stalls for small cars and motorcycles, Mr. Stein said he believed another 40 spaces could be found in that lot

Land For Septic to Help Out Library

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Sewage has been a sticking point for the John Jermain Memorial Library in its efforts to expand. But Sag Harbor Village officials announced this week that they will work with the Suffolk County Health Department to make the library’s hopes for expansion a reality — at least as far as the septic system is concerned.

On Tuesday, December 14, Sag Harbor Village Trustees empowered village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. to work with the Health Department on a deal that would trade a small portion of 26-acres of village owned land on the Sag Harbor/Bridgehampton Turnpike for the library’s right to build an on-site septic system at their Main Street property.

On Wednesday Thiele said the some of the acreage, which is adjacent to the Long Pond Greenbelt, the transfer station and the village’s department of public works, is ripe for conservation anyway, creating a “win-win” scenario for all involved parties.

“This is a way to allow for a good public project and consistent with overall plans for the Long Pond Greenbelt,” said Thiele.

Similar to the use of Pine Barren credits by developers hoping to expand beyond their allowed density, if a deal is reached, the village property would be preserved from future development, and in turn, the library would gain enough density credits to move forward with their plans.

Earlier this year, the library presented plans seeking to hook up to the Sag Harbor Village wastewater treatment plant in order to accommodate the septic needs for its over 7,000-square foot expansion. After neighbors bristled at the idea, the library went back to the drawing board, crafting a plan for an on-site septic system. But because the proposal would exceed density and due to the fact that the village sewage treatment system is nearby, the health department denied the library’s request. The library will now appeal to the health department’s board of review with the details of the village’s credit swap plan.

Knowing an on-site system would not meet health department standards, the village originally denied the library’s request earlier this year, but vowed to help the library by offering village-owned land in return for the increase of density at the library parcel.

Tuesday night, the board of trustees reaffirmed that commitment with Thiele suggesting that as little as one or two acres of the 26-acre spread could be “sanitized,” or its septic credits taken by the county, to earn the library’s approval.

On Wednesday, Thiele said he is looking for an informal meeting with the board of review, the village and the library in the hopes of maximizing the library’s chances of approval. A location within the 26-acres will likely be chosen then, said Thiele.

Ted Conklin, owner of The American Hotel, wondered if East Hampton and Southampton towns should kick-in on the effort as well, as the library district encompasses the whole of the Sag Harbor School District and is not confined to village boundaries.

“I am not thinking about it like that,” said Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride.

Deputy Mayor Tim Culver said he was in support of the concept, but would like to ensure as much of the 26-acre property remains in village ownership, which Thiele said would not be an issue.

In other village news:

The board of trustees officially ended plans to adopt a proposed expansion of the village’s accessory apartment law, which would have paved the way for the legalization of existing apartments in outbuildings like garages and pool houses.

According to Culver, the village will take a second look at the law and resubmit a new draft plan in coming months.

“There was a lot of to and fro, for and against, and no consensus,” said trustee Robby Stein. “What is clear is this doesn’t work. So this should now be thrown out and with input we should revisit this issue.”

Elizabeth Dow formally received permission for a zoning change at 48 Madison Street, the former United Methodist Church, to village business. This change will allow her textile and wall covering company and school to move to the location.

The village did place restrictions on the property that would prevent it from ever becoming a convenience store, bar or tavern, laundromat, dry cleaning business, movie or live theatre, gym, yacht sales center or any kind of food service business.

According to Dow’s attorney Tiffany Scarlato, the change of zoning will only go into effect once Dow has site plan approval from the village planning board. Scarlato added her client will not make that application until she formally closes on the property, which she is purchasing from former Southampton Town Councilman Dennis Suskind.

Lastly, trustees named John Christopher as an alternate member to the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee.