Planning Board Moves Closer to Townhouse Site Plan Approval

Model of 2 West Water Street condo project displayed at Harbor Committee meeting on Monday. Building 3, the closest to the water, is in foreground. Peter Boody photo

Developer Jay Bialsky’s proposed townhouses at 2 West Water Street are inching closer to reality, with the Sag Harbor Planning Board on Tuesday agreeing to vote at its next meeting on March 26 whether or not to grant it conditional approval.

If approval is granted, according to Brian DeSesa, one of Mr. Bialsky’s attorneys, it would be “another step in the direction of getting ready for the closing” on the sale of Mr. Bialsky’s adjacent property on Ferry Road to Southampton Town’s Community Preservation Fund for $10.5 million. The intended use of the Ferry Road land is Sag Harbor Village’s long-anticipated John Steinbeck Waterfront Park.

Meanwhile, Mr. Bialsky’s project also needs approval from the Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review. It will take up the matter again February 28 at 5 p.m. at village hall. It will hold a formal public hearing on Mr. Bialsky’s recently adjusted architectural plans on March 14, also at 5 p.m. at village hall.

“The changes that have been made are mostly massing, not footprint,” planning board chairman John Shaka said during the board’s regular meeting.

On Tuesday, after the planning board discussed the 2 West Water Street proposal at both a public work session and its regular meeting, the four board members present decided the site plan was almost ready to approve.

Kathy Eiseman, the board’s environmental consultant, told the board she considered a few engineering matters loose ends. Mostly, she said, they are related to containing stormwater runoff and preventing flooding at the property. The proposed bulkhead on the shoreline is also being adjusted to add some rip rap, Ms. Eiseman said, which was a request of the village’s Harbor Committee.

Village attorney Denise Schoen told the board, “If all the conditions are met, then a building permit could be issued. If not, they would have to come back for a modification.”

On Wednesday, Mr. DeSesa disagreed there were any loose ends remaining.

“We wouldn’t move forward with engineering those systems until we’re in the permit process,” he said. “It’s not practical to design something you don’t know you’re going to get approved. We need everything before we start drafting those plans, all four boards, before starting down that path.”