A Bridge For Jordan


The same night that Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris and the board of trustees unanimously passed a resolution supporting the measure, on Tuesday New York State Governor David Paterson signed legislation renaming the Sag Harbor-North Haven Bridge “The Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge” making the change official.

Officials from the Village of North Haven signed a similar letter of support following their meeting on Monday night.

Lance Cpl. Haerter, a Sag Harbor resident and 2006 Pierson High School graduate, was killed outside the city of Ramadhi in Iraq in April. He was a U.S. Marine and had just reached the one-month mark of his first tour when a suicide bomber drove into the checkpoint he was guarding and detonated. His actions and sacrifice, said military officials, saved over 30 lives that day.

Following his death, Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. and State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle sponsored legislation to rename the bridge, which is a part of the state highway system. According to Thiele, they consulted Sag Harbor and North Haven village officials, as well as the family about the measure. The family, said Thiele, said they consider naming the bridge for Jordan “the consummate honor.”

A monument will be erected in his memory, paid for by the Lance Cpl. Jordan C. Haerter Memorial Fund, at the base of the bridge.

“The naming of the bridge in Jordan’s honor compliments the efforts of the community to place a monument in his honor at the Windmill beach at the foot of the bridge,” said Thiele. “Like the bridge, which has joined our communities together for so many years, Jordan has joined all of us together again. I know it is a source of comfort during these very trying days for the Haerter family.”

“I am proud to have signed the resolution to help move that forward,” said Mayor Ferraris on Wednesday. “It will be a lasting memory for the family, as well as for the residents and visitors of Sag Harbor.”

Code Changes

The Village of Sag Harbor has been mired in a zoning code revision for well over a year with residents, business and property owners alike spending the late spring and early summer discussing their ideas and concerns with village officials — ideas and concerns that have already had an impact on the proposed code.

On Tuesday night, during the board of trustees meeting, Trustee Tiffany Scarlato reminded the crowd that a meeting is planned for this Saturday, July 12 at 9 a.m. in the Municipal Building.

“We do have a number of proposed revisions that are in the works,” said Scarlato, noting affordable housing provisions will be worked into the code including a change that requires just 20 percent of new apartments be affordable, rather than all.

While there has been discussion about eliminating the village’s parking trust fund, said Scarlato, the matter is still a topic of discussion and may be settled after the new code’s adoption. Both a new draft of the code, as well as the Comprehensive Plan, said Scarlato, will likely be released to the public in two weeks time.

Bob Fisher, Sag Harbor resident, business and property owner and member of the Sag Harbor Business Association (SHBA) approached the board in order “to get some things straight,” he said, with the rumors swirling around the village.

Fisher noted the SHBA formed similarly to the Merchants Association of Sag Harbor (MASH), and sought to help with the zoning process. They also intended, he said, to remain an organization dedicated to many of the same causes as Save Sag Harbor.

Fisher said the SHBA has had concerns with the code, many of which have been addressed.

“So there is no conflict and I want that to be understood,” he said. “There is no conflict. We are not the enemy. We want to be a part of the solution.”

Fisher said he did not want to see this “sabotaged by rumor and innuendo” and while there are some concerns left, ultimately the SHBA wants a “win, win situation” for everyone, adding not everyone will be happy with the final product.

“We are here to help, not be a hindrance,” he said.

Scarlato, noting she was not speaking of Fisher specifically, said she has seen communication attributed to the SHBA that was less than constructive.

Fisher reminded that an e-mail can be sent by anyone, and would not necessarily reflect the position of the board.

Mayor Greg Ferraris said following Saturday’s meeting another meeting would be scheduled.

“Like Bob said, not everyone is going to get 100 percent of what they want,” he said, but the board was committed to working towards an acceptable resolution.

In other village news, Ferraris named Neil Slevin the new chairman of the planning board. Current chairman, Jerome Toy, will remain on the board, said Ferraris and was commended for his work. All the rest of the board seats up for appointment as well as chair positions were kept on hold over, which means they will remain the same until further notice.

Above: The newly named “The Lance Cpl. Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge” as seen from Long Wharf in Sag Harbor. (r shapiro photo)