Harbor Heights: Part Two

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The battle that pitted Save Sag Harbor against the former Harbor Heights gas station dates to 2011 when the advocacy group first challenged key aspects of the redevelopment of the old fueling spot on State Route 114.

Now, the fight appears to be reigniting as the group sets its sights on the modernized new station that took its place, which has been rebranded as a Gulf Service Station and now sports a spiffy convenience store that is open 24 hours a day.

That’s part of the problem, according to Save Sag Harbor. It says it had been told at the time that “there was no intention to operate the station or the store round-the-clock,” which was important to neighbors in Eastville who did not want late-night traffic noise or alcohol sales.

In a letter of the Village Board of Trustees and senior building inspector Tom Preiato, the group said the rebuilt station, now under new owners, “may not conform” to terms that had been agreed upon and approved during the lengthy planning process.

Trustees had no immediate reaction to the letter, which was read to them at the December 13 board meeting by Jayne Young, a Save Sag Harbor board member. Mr. Preiato has said the service station, which was issued a certificate of occupancy, was completely responsive to his requests in the process that led up to the awarding of the CO.

During the planning stages, the station had initially requested 17 variances, and at one point, it sought to build a convenience store that would have been twice as much as the allowable size of 600 square feet.

After two years of hearings — and a petition campaign in which 800 residents asked the village to enforce its zoning code — 16 of those variance requests were either denied or withdrawn. The store was in fact built out at 600 square feet, the maximum permitted under the village code.

But Save Sag Harbor cited other problems in its letter, including a “huge flagpole” it says was built without a proper application, “excessive” lighting that casts a glare on neighboring properties, and the presence of four neon signs it says are prohibited by the village code.

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