This summer, Sag Harbor will get its first taste of paid parking, albeit on a much reduced level than originally proposed. At a February 24 work session, the Village Board agreed it would move forward with a pilot program to require paid parking at 94 spaces on Long Wharf from Memorial Day to Columbus Day.
The board held off on a formal vote on the measure until Tuesday’s monthly meeting at the request of Trustee James Larocca, who said the board had only opened a hearing on the proposal in early February and he wanted to give residents more notice before taking action.
To park on Long Wharf during the summer months, motorists would be required to download the ParkMobile app on their cellphones and register their vehicles if they park after 10 a.m. Those who park between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. will be limited to a three-hour stay, while those who park after 6 p.m. will have the option of staying for up to five hours. Both during the day and evening periods, the first hour will be free and each additional hour will cost $4. A handful of spaces in front of shops on the east side of the pier will be reserved for free 30-minute parking. The village will also provide assistance for motorists who do not have cellphones, so they won’t be ticketed.
Mr. Larocca also urged the board to earmark any revenue from the paid parking program to transportation-related infrastructure projects. He suggested revenue should be deposited into a special fund that would allow the village to borrow against future revenues so it would not be in a position where it would have to pay for projects upfront.
Village Attorney Denise Schoen advised the board that it would have to deposit the revenues into its general fund to begin with, but she said she would look into how that money could be transferred to a segregated fund.
The board also discussed the proposed waterfront overlay zoning district with members of the planning team that is seeking to integrate public comment into its final recommendations.
Valerie Monastra of Nelson, Pope and Voorhis, who summarized 50 pages of comments, touched on several concerns.
For now, the new code would allow hotels with a special exception permit in both the village business and office districts, where they are currently not allowed. But Ms. Monastra said planners would recommend that the language be tweaked to allow only “boutique” hotels with 10 or fewer rooms.
Mr. Larocca asked who was advocating for more hotels, and Ms. Monastra said it was a matter of providing a more flexible number of uses along the waterfront.
Nat Egosi, the owner of the Sag Harbor Inn, said allowing more hotels could have unintended consequences. He said if each room were 500 square feet and a hotel had 10 rooms, the building would be at least 5,000 square feet. Plus, he said, hotels have a way of being turned into de facto apartment buildings. “I’m not hearing that anyone in the community is looking for an opportunity to have a hotel,” he added.
Mayor Kathleen Mulcahy said the village planning committee, which has been overseeing the code changes, was thinking along the lines of the American Hotel, while Trustee Bob Plumb said the overarching goal was to provide developers with the potential to come forward with a variety of different uses along the waterfront, not that the village was advocating for the construction of a hotel.
The issue of building heights was also addressed. Although current zoning allows commercial buildings to be three stories or 35 feet tall, the new waterfront district would limit buildings north of Long Island Avenue and Bay Street to two stories and 25 feet. A third story could be added, provided it was set back at least 10 feet and the developer offered some type of community benefit in terms of public access to the waterfront.
The plan now is to limit new buildings along a portion of the south sides of those streets to only 25 feet in height to open up better vistas to the water. The board also agreed that it would look for ways to limit the height of mechanical equipment that is typically placed on top of commercial buildings.