Tag Archive | "Schiavoni"

Old Schiavoni Plant on the Market

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Two adjoining parcels on Jermain Avenue and Joels Lane in Sag Harbor – totaling over five village acres – have been listed for sale together for $3.5 million by members of the Schiavoni family, although exactly how the property can be developed remains a mystery.

The property, once the subject of a dispute between brothers Gabriel and Francis Schiavoni, was listed for sale by both parties last month with The Corcoran Group Senior Vice Presidents Cee Scott Brown and Jack Pearson.

The Jermain Avenue parcel, a 1.5-acre spread, and the 3.8-acre Joels Lane property, are the former home of Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating, and were once home to a division of Sag Harbor Industries, earlier serving as a watchcase factory and engraving studio.

According to Gabriel Schiavoni, the family purchased the lots in 1982 from Sag Harbor Industries, which was using the property to manufacture small electrical parts at the time and outgrew the location. Schiavoni Plumbing and Heating had also outgrown its home on Fordham Road, and moved to the Jermain Avenue site to run its plumbing and fuel business through 2005.

“It was adequate enough,” said Schiavoni of the property, adding that a plan to renovate the building to allow office space was scrapped after the village placed restrictions on allowing additional tenants in the building.

“The building is in sad shape now,” lamented Gabriel’s wife Diane.

According to Brown, the Schiavoni families are prepared to produce a clean title with the sale, along with a Phase 1 Environmental Report and proof that four below ground oil tanks and one above ground tank have been removed from the property.

On Tuesday, Gabriel Schiavoni said water testing has already begun to ensure the property is free of contaminants and an environmental study is also in the works.

“I don’t anticipate any problem,” he said.

According to Brown, the property has already had three “very interested parties” view the building and a couple of offers, although no sale is pending at this time.

“First of all, the property itself is unique and it offers some interesting opportunities,” he said. “It could be a small version of the Bulova factory, but a different take – four fabulous lofts, for instance, or it could be a work and living space.”

The existing building, part of which will likely have to be rebuilt, according to Brown, boasts 10 to 15-foot ceiling loft spaces with large rectangular windows throughout.

Brown said the biggest issue surrounding the property is that it has been out of business for some time and the sellers and brokers cannot represent fully what will be approved by Sag Harbor Village at that location.

“It’s pre-existing, non-conforming commercial in a residential area,” said Brown. “I don’t know if the village will honor that. The sellers are leaving the due diligence to any interested parties to find out what could or could not be done there.”

Brown said the two single and separate lots, being sold together, could be merged using the total 14,500 square-feet for lot coverage calculations. He did note much of the Joels Lane property is wetlands, and said he was unsure how much of it was buildable on its own, adding “not a whole lot. A lot of it is impacted by the wetlands, I believe.”

“These are the questions no one knows right now,” said Brown. “Any offers will be contingent on what we can do here.”

“Personally, I would think the village would be open to anything if we were doing it to rehabilitate [the property] in a responsible way where it is no longer the eyesore it has become,” he added.

On Tuesday, former Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustee member Tiffany Scarlato, who helped draft revisions to the village’s zoning code last year, said the properties are “without a doubt completely viable as a residential use.” Because the properties have been vacant for so long, Scarlato is unsure whether the pre-existing, non-conforming commercial use would be upheld by the building inspector, the only person in the village who can make a determination of that kind.

According to the village code, once a property has been vacated for 12 consecutive months it is considered abandoned and can lose its pre-existing, non-conforming status.

On Wednesday morning, Sag Harbor Village Building Inspector Timothy Platt declined to weigh in on whether or not the properties’ pre-existing, non-conforming commercial use would stand, stating that he will review the properties once a proposal has been filed with the village building department.

Brown said regardless of the issues, the site remains wholly unique in Sag Harbor and a special property that even he noticed when first moving to the village in 1996.

“And now I have the great pleasure of showing it and watching when people’s eyes light up imagining what could be done with this beautiful space.”

Sag Harbor: Schiavoni and Wilcoxen With Ease

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The votes for the Sag Harbor school board have been counted and the community has selected current school board president Walter Wilcoxen and newcomer Gregg Schiavoni to serve on the board, over challengers Elena Loreto and Ed Drohan.

In total, Schiavoni received the most votes, with 1,357. Wilcoxen earned 1,225 votes. Ballots in favor of Loreto and Drohan were significantly lower, with Loreto receiving 646 votes and Drohan receiving 394.

Schiavoni and Wilcoxen weren’t the only victors of the evening, the school board budget set at $29,569,472 passed with 1,221 yes votes. Only 599 Sag Harbor residents voted no.

Proposition two asked voters to approve $165,000 for the purchase of a bus and van which the district estimates will save around $700,000 in contracted transportation costs over the next six years. It passed with a tally of 1,333 to 469. Proposition three also passed 1,400 to 334. In this proposition, the district needed community support to use $71,185, from the capital reserve fund, to improve the ventilation system in the auditorium.

Both Wilcoxen and Schiavoni were present, milling around as they waited for votes to be tallied. But Drohan and Loreto were absent from the crowd. When the total votes were called, the gymnasium filled with resounding applause.

Overall, this year’s vote proved to have a remarkable turn out. Budget Advisory Committee member Sandy Kruel said that by 1 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, she heard voter turnout was up by 30 percent from last year. Daniel Hartnett, a current school board member, said he believed the number of voters increased by around 400 to 500 this year.

“It was a larger turnout than I expected,” commented school board member Theresa Samot.

One surprise of the evening was the record number of votes in support of Schiavoni. In 2007, Ed Haye received 1,006 votes, which Kruel believed was the highest number of votes for one candidate in district history.

“I didn’t expect this,” said Schiavoni. “I am relieved and happy. The group who supported me put a lot of work into it. I also can’t believe that the budget passed by so many votes.”

Wilcoxen, however, said he had few expectations of how the vote would turn out.

In the minutes before the polls officially closed and the counting began, Wilcoxen said he felt anxious and hoped that people would support his message.

“This isn’t about me. This is about the message. It’s about the message of the community, of our education and our future,” opined Wilcoxen.

In the past few weeks, Wilcoxen has focused his message on working out a fair contract with district teachers, sharing services with Bridgehampton and finding ways to improve programming without incurring additional costs, while Schiavoni has taken a keen interest in the advanced placement class program.

Sag Harbor School District Superintendent Dr. John Gratto was similarly floored by the large turnout and community support for the budget and propositions two and three.

“I was cautiously optimistic,” reported Gratto. “I think we struck a balanced budget … It seems pretty clear what the public wanted.”

Based on his own calculations, Gratto said 67 percent of voters voted in favor of the budget, with 33 percent of them voting against it.

Of the two newly-elected school board candidates, Gratto added “I think the vote shows the respect people have for both Walter and Gregg.”

Defeated candidate Ed Drohan said he was disappointed, but added that he represented senior citizens and second homeowners, many of whom cannot vote in the district.

“I feel I understand the community much better now than when I started,” said Drohan of his campaign. “I feel like I have gotten closer to a lot of people . . . I think it was a learning experience.”

Loreto declined to comment, except to say that she thanked those who supported her during the campaign.

Now that they’ve been elected (and re-elected) to the school board, the real work begins, but on Tuesday night, as Wilcoxen and Schiavoni shared congratulatory hugs with members of the public, it appeared they would spend this particular evening savoring their wins.

Above: Incumbent school board president Walter Wilcoxen receives congratulatory hug after votes were counted.

Schiavoni Building Demolition

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DeMayo Gains

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Democratic nominee and Sag Harbor resident Andrea Schiavoni, who is up against Republican incumbent Tom DeMayo for the Southampton Town justice position, lost one of her original endorsers as a result of primaries held Tuesday night.

DeMayo won the Conservative vote 85 to 66 while Schiavoni took Working Families 23 to 10 and the Independence Party 94 to 69.

Schiavoni, hit a trifecta at first, winning all three parties’ endorsements.

“It truly was humbling to have received all three,” she said. “It was an unprecedented honor and has never happened to a Democratic candidate.”

DeMayo had been expecting the Conservative Party’s endorsement and said he had always considered himself a Conservative Republican.

“I’m very happy,” he said. “It’s very satisfying that the conservative voters came out and recognized the true conservative candidate.”

Megnas Hope Biz Stays In Harbor

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Mariann Megna’s family lived in Sag Harbor for 40 years. Her son attends school in the Sag Harbor School District and she and her husband Martin have run their business, the Megna Glass Studio on Bridge Street, Sag Harbor for over a decade. But with just a verbal agreement from their landlord that the Megnas can stay in their current space through January and a growing business in desperate need of more space, Mariann has been wondering for the last two years whether the Megna family will be able to call Sag Harbor home for much longer.

Which was why, she said on Wednesday, that the prospect of leasing a portion of the 64 Jermain Avenue building owned in part by Gabe and Diane Schiavoni was so appealing to the Megna family. But whether or not this concept is acceptable to the village remains to be seen as the planning board refrained from discussing the matter at the advice of village attorney Anthony Tohill.

On Tuesday, July 22 the Megnas, with the Schiavoni family in the audience, approached the Sag Harbor planning board in a discussion item on the prospect of leaving 3,000 square feet on the west side of the former Eaton Engraving Factory for a glassblowing studio, cold shop and office space.

In his presentation, Martin Megna noted his current studio is not a retail shop, but operates by appointment only — a practice he would continue on Jermain Avenue. The studio has worked on a number of glass restoration projects for village residents, he added, and provides tours and programming for area schools. For the most part the Megna Glass Studio is focused on projects like glass doorknobs, chandeliers and art installations.

“We would love to stay in Sag Harbor,” he said. “We have made it our home with our 13-year-old son Timothy.”

Outside of the fact that their lease has only been extended until January, the Megnas are also hoping to acquire a copper machine for engraving and other museum-quality glass blowing and engraving tools in Chicago this week — equipment that will necessitate more space for the workshop.

“Before we ask any questions in terms of the specifics of the use,” said new planning board chairman Neil Slevin. “It strikes me we have to look at this in terms of the legality of the change of use.”

But the board would not even venture that far.

Tohill called the application “an important application” deserving of legal counsel for both the Megna family and the Schiavoni family.

“It is not a matter the board can be in a position of giving advice,” said Tohill, who rattled off a list of issues legal counsel should explore on behalf of the applicants including if the space has a pre-existing, non-conforming use and whether it will be affected by the new zoning laws the village is considering adopting.

Michael Fitzgerald, a Jermain Avenue neighbor, began his comments by saying they did not reflect his position on this particular proposal. He called the building “one of the great eyesores of Sag Harbor” that has decayed to a terrible state. Fitzgerald said there were concerns about any environmental cleanup needed at the site, as well as the transformation of the neighborhood since the factory building was built. The neighborhood is now largely residential.

On Wednesday, Mariann said she expected the Schiavonis would file a formal application with the planning board for next month’s August 26 meeting.

Despite offers for space in Springs and through both Southampton and East Hampton town historical societies, Mariann hopes they can keep their business, and family, in the village.

“It’s just not where our home is,” she said.Meg

The Schiavoni Building on Jermain Avenue, which the Megna family hopes will become their new home. (michael heller photo)