Controversial Sag Harbor Condos In Spotlight Tuesday

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For the last two years the proposed condominium project at 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road has been the topic of public discourse, whether on Sag Harbor’s Main Street, at a Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor (CONPOSH) forum, or in the village Municipal Building. But on Tuesday, September 23 at 7 p.m. residents will have an official opportunity to weigh in and help shape the environmental review of one of the most debated proposed developments in Sag Harbor history.

On Tuesday night the Sag Harbor Planning Board will host what is known as a scoping session – an opportunity for residents to weigh in on what they perceive as impacts the project could have on the village, the surrounding environment and residents.

The Ferry Road project, as it has come to be known, is for 18 units with accessory boating slips for each unit. The proposed 43,040 square-foot, three-story development calls for the demolition of two existing structures on the former Diner property, which sits on the Sag Harbor waterfront, next to the shopping complex that houses 7-Eleven, Sing City, Amber Bakery and Personal Best Fitness to name a few. Thirty-six on-site parking spaces are also proposed, as is an in-ground swimming pool.

Last month, the planning board said the project would require comprehensive environmental review as it detailed half a dozen potentially significant adverse environmental impacts the project could cause, as well as a handful of small to moderate impacts.

Allowing the public to share their views is the next step in the process.

“The scoping session of the [State Environmental Quality Review] process provides the public with an opportunity to participate with the identification of impacts to the community,” explained Sag Harbor Mayor Greg Ferraris. “I can’t stress highly enough the significance of the public providing input during this process.”

The project has not been without its share of public opposition with a number of residents and village board members publicly expressing concern with the development’s size and impacts on the aesthetic of the village. Last year an organization, Save our Waterfront, was formed specifically to oppose the project. While not the not-for-profit’s focus, Save Sag Harbor, has also rallied residents to question the project’s aesthetic value to the village.

Over the course of the two-year debate the village even enlisted the aid of an architect – D. Dean Telfer – to help bring about consensus between the village boards on the architecture of the project. Instead, Telfer’s designs created further division – loved by members on one board, but worrisome to others because of the size of a separate, “pivotal” building in the townhouse style plan and fears that important waterfront vistas in Sag Harbor could be impacted by the plan.

Despite residents’ vocal concerns over the condo project, it is a scoping session where the public can have a meaningful impact on what is reviewed in the project.

“The public should not underestimate the power they have in providing input in these processes,” said Ferraris. “As a village, under our proposed zoning code amendments and in other changes we have seen, we believe we do have a handle on how we will paint the picture of the village now and in the future. But the public is a crucial part of this process.”

The planning board already has heard a laundry list of potential impacts, identified by village environmental planning consultant Rich Warren. Included in those impacts was the revelation that the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has reservations over the fixed dock with 18 slips proposed as a part of the project, according to an August 15 letter filed with the village.

Impacts to land, water, groundwater and surface water runoff, aesthetic resources, the character of the existing community and the development of the unique waterfront parcel have all been cited as potentially being impacted significantly by the proposed project.

The effects on non-threatened and non-endangered species, on transportation systems, on community sources of fuel or energy supply, odors, noise and vibrations have been cited as potentially causing small to moderate impacts to the community. The project is not expected to impact air quality, threatened or endangered species, agricultural resources, future open spaces or recreational opportunities.

During last month’s planning board meeting, Warren did note the scoping session is not meant to “throw the kitchen sink” at the applicant, but rather guide the developers and the board on what the public feels should be the focus of the environmental review.

The planning board will be on the second floor of the Municipal Building at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, September 23. In addition to the Ferry Road scoping session, the meeting will also be the last for former planning board chairman and current board member Jerome Toy, who will officially resign following Tuesday’s meeting. The village has yet to announce who will replace Toy on the board. 

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