Music Festival Tent Approved at Marine Park

A view of Marine Park in the summertime. Christine Sampson photo
A view of Marine Park in the summertime. Christine Sampson photo

By Christine Sampson

The Sag Harbor American Music Festival on Tuesday won approval from the Sag Harbor Village Board to erect a 20-by-40 foot tent in Marine Park to be able to hold its event rain-or-shine in September, but the decision was not unanimous.

Mayor Sandra Schroeder voted against allowing the tent, stating her belief that Marine Park should be a quiet, passive park that stands tribute to veterans. She also said she was concerned that boaters nearby would be disturbed by noise and that the physical action of staking a big tent into the ground would negatively impact the park.

“Yes, we have music there. We sit on beach chairs, we don’t put up big tents,” she said. “If we do this, we are not going to be able to say ‘no’ to anyone else. I don’t think it’s an appropriate use for a memorial park. Not the craft fair, not any of it.”

Marine Park is already the site of the Sag Harbor Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary summer music series as well as arts and crafts fairs hosted by the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce. The music festival, planned for September 23 and 24, has had events canceled due to rain in past years.

“We would work with the village for placement of the tent, being mindful of irrigation,” Kelly Dodds, one of the festival’s organizers, told the village board during its meeting Tuesday. “It would not enclose the entire park. We want to be able to plan for inclement weather. It’s drawing the community together, as part of our mission.”

She said the festival had rented a “showmobile” from Southampton Town as a back-up plan in case the tent was not approved, but that the tent was its first choice. She also said a 16-foot-square platform would be set up under the tent for the musicians’ equipment.

Mayor Schroeder was the only village official to oppose the tent. Trustee Jim Larocca, who is a veteran himself as well as a boating enthusiast, said he is not bothered by music at Marine Park. He recalled years ago there was a band shell in the area.

“I don’t think dogs should be walked in that park, but that’s violated all day every day,” he said.

Trustee Robby Stein said, “I don’t see that music is disrespectful,” and trustee Ken O’Donnell said he didn’t want to allow events some entities in Sag Harbor and not others. Mr. O’Donnell also compared Marine Park to Southampton’s Agawam Park, a memorial park where events are frequently held. The vote was ultimately 4-1 to allow the music festival’s tent.

Village to Build Vehicle Impound Lot

Based on a recommendation from Sag Harbor Police Chief Austin J. McGuire, the village board took a step toward creating an official vehicle impound lot for Sag Harbor.

“Currently we share the Department of Public Works facility, so if we have to impound a vehicle, we put it over there,” Chief McGuire said Wednesday. “It’s basically in their way. We’ve never had an actual impound yard.”

The village board on Tuesday unanimously accepted a proposal from Savik and Murray, an engineering firm, to design an impound yard on village-owned property — village officials would not say where just yet — to hold 10 to 20 cars.

“This is something that’s been long in the making,” trustee Ken O’Donnell said during the meeting. “It will obviously wind up being a revenue stream for the village and will keep the village safe.”

Architectural Review Board Changes Proposed

The board also set up a public hearing on possible changes to the process residents must go through when applying for approvals from the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review.

Those changes include eliminating the notice of publicly posting every application made to the board before the application is heard. They also include setting a two-year expiration date on ARB approvals. Another change axes the requirement that all ARB decisions must be formally entered in writing, with a simple resolution sufficing as approval.

The public hearing is planned for the board’s September 12 meeting.