Sag Harbor Village Board Awards Bid for Renovation of Long Wharf This Year

A rendering of proposed plans to improve Long Wharf. Courtesy of Edmund Hollander Landscape Architects

About five months after the denial of a major state grant seemed to stall plans to renovate Long Wharf this year, the Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday voted to accept the low bid of $4,321,944 from marine contractor Chesterfield Associates of Westhampton Beach to do the job.

There was no discussion of the project at the board’s busy monthly meeting Tuesday but Mayor Sandra Schroeder said afterward in response to questions that the renovation work would begin after the coming summer season and that a bond issue is in the works.

The village is also trying again to win a New York State waterfront revitalization matching grant to help fund the Long Wharf work — an application for $2.5 million was rejected late last year — as well as a $75,000 Suffolk County downtown waterfront revitalization grant to refurbish the bathrooms at Marine Park, Trustee Aidan Corish reported at the meeting. The board voted later at the session to approve the application for a grant to upgrade the bathroom.

Originally built in the 18th century, Long Wharf was previously owned by Suffolk County, which completely renovated it about 30 years ago and rehabilitated its bulkhead in 2007. The county gave the wharf to the Village of Sag Harbor in 2012, with the village responsible for all costs.

The village has spent years developing plans for its renovation and grappling with how to pay for it. After announcing the grant denial in January, Mr. Corish said in an interview that a bond issue of $2.5 million for a village with an $11-million budget was too big a burden for taxpayers. But Mayor Schroeder, asked if the village would consider borrowing to fund the project, said at the time, “We’re going to have to.”

When the project’s total cost was estimated to be $3.8 million about a year and a half ago, Mayor Schroeder said at a work session that a $3-million bond issue would cost a village taxpayer with property worth $795,000 an additional $61.22 in village taxes annually for 20 years.


Short-Term Parking

Also on Tuesday, the board set a public hearing for its next meeting on June 11 on a proposal to change the time limit on four parking spaces on Main Street from two hours to 30 minutes between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

“It has come to our attention that we needed shorter-term parking here and there on Main Street,” Mayor Schroeder said, explaining two will be on either side of the intersection with Washington Street and two will be across the street on either side of the Sag Harbor Cinema.

Faster turnover of those spaces “will help the traffic move better,” the mayor added.

Sewage District Expansion

The Village Board took two steps at the meeting to begin what promises to be a long-term, multi-year effort to expand the Sag Harbor sewer district. It agreed to hire Cameron Engineer & Associates to prepare a preliminary waste water management plan that would provide guidelines for the process; and it agreed to let the mayor sign a contract with a consultant who will help the village find grants for the proposed expansion. No cost for either step was given in either agenda item or at the meeting.

In addition, the board conducted a hearing on an amended version of the Harbor Committee’s proposed revision to the village code’s waterways regulations to establish boating rules for the area beyond the breakwater; renewed the outdoor dining licenses for the 2019 season for three restaurants —  Sen, Sag Pizza and LT Burger — with no changes in the number of seats that were allowed last summer; and agreed to hire three on-call Emergency Medical Technicians for the Sag Harbor Ambulance Corps, as requested by its president, Deborah O’Brien. The EMTs are Bruce Zummo, Brandon Ceckowski and Andrew Pellicano.

Music Festival Fees

The board cleared the way for the 9th annual edition of the Sag Harbor American Music Festival, granting organizer Kelly Dodds’s request for permission to hold it at the usual three sites around the center of the village on Saturday, September 28 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.: Windmill Beach, Carruthers Alley and Marine Park.

But the festival did not use Marine Park in 2018 and may not again if extra funds aren’t raised by sponsors or members of the festival to pay the village’s fees for extra police and clean-up services, Ms. Dodds said in a phone interview on Wednesday.

She formally asked the board to waive those fees, but it did not do so.

“Nothing’s changed in the law,” the mayor commented Tuesday. “We can’t waive the fee … We haven’t waived it for anybody else,” the mayor said.

Ms. Dodds said the festival’s police fees have risen from $200 its first year to $3,500 last year and that some organizations don’t pay them, such as the Sag Harbor Community Band for its weekly concerts that require Bay Street to be closed for an hour and 20 minutes on Tuesday evenings in the summer. The mayor said the band does not pay a fee because no extra police or traffic control officers are put on duty to handle the event.

“I thought it was worth asking,” Ms. Dodds said. “We really missed being in Marine Park last year. We wanted to be there and we would prefer to be there but we couldn’t afford it. We’re a non-profit run by volunteers. All the money goes to pay the performers .. and we want [to be able] to give money back to the school for the music program. We would really love to be in Marine Park, but it does keep us out of there by having to pay these fees.”

Other Business

Also on Tuesday, the Village Board:

  • Named Alexander Matthiessen to fill a vacancy on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
  • Agreed to National Grid’s request that four parking spaces in front of the to-be-demolished former motel at 2 West Water Street be removed from public use to allow National Grid to put a “dewatering” apparatus there for the ongoing groundwater pollution control project at the former site of a liquified natural gas storage facility, the mayor explained.
  • Granted permission for a fund-raising bike ride for the i-tri organization to pass through the village on Saturday, October 5, with a raid date of October 6.
  • Granted Jenna Duncalf of the Goop pop-up shop at 4 Bay Street to have a cocktail party on Saturday, May 25.
  • Accept the application of Phillip D’Angelo to the Phoenix Hook and Ladder Company.
  • Establish a committee to update the village’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.