Sag Harbor Village Moves Forward on Impound Yard

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees during the October 9, 2018, meeting. Christine Sampson photo

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees on Tuesday moved a step closer to establishing a new vehicle impound lot on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike for its police department over the objection of one of its own members.

Trustee Aidan Corish asked his colleagues on the board to postpone a vote on a resolution to ask the village’s engineering consultants “to coordinate and prepare any necessary plans, permit documents and bid packets for the impound yard,” but he was outnumbered.

“This came up on the agenda very late this evening,” Mr. Corish said. “We should try and hold it over for further discussion before we do this.”

He had previously suggested, during the board’s regular July meeting, exploring alternatives to using the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike site for an impound yard.

The board instead went forward with a decision without further discussion, voting 4-1 to approve the resolution, which did not appear on the agenda that was initially posted online earlier in the day.

The property, a 4,800-square-foot piece of a 24-acre parcel of land owned by Sag Harbor Village that is surrounded on three sides by the Long Pond Greenbelt, has been the subject of public outcry for several months. The property is south of the village boundary in the Town of Southampton.

The Southampton Town Planning Board approved the impound lot in late June by a 4-1 vote, despite opposition by local environmental groups and the town’s own Conservation Board. Many local residents, particularly those involved in the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt, have been vociferous in their opposition at Sag Harbor Village Board meetings. Only one came to the podium to speak on Tuesday, having learned of the resolution shortly before the meeting.

“The property you’re proposing for an impound yard is essential to the Long Pond Greenbelt,” said Dai Dayton, president of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt. “We would have more people here today, but that came onto the agenda so late and we didn’t know about it. This will affect the Greenbelt. There are other alternatives.”

Also on Tuesday, John Brannen, a longtime village resident, spoke up during the village board’s public comment session to lament the lack of a decision in his September 14 trial for second-degree harassment. Judge Lisa Rana reserved decision after a two-hour trial last month and has not yet handed down a decision. Mr. Brannen said he is “heartbroken” and alleged his civil rights are being violated.

“I want to live in peace,” he said. “I’m suffering. I’m being persecuted and prosecuted.”

The village trustees did not respond to his comments.

In other village board actions, Will Sharp was appointed to the Harbor Committee to fill an unexpired term vacated when John Shaka resigned to accept an appointment to the Sag Harbor Planning Board. The board also formally accepted the resignations of Val Florio as a member of the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review and Jeff Peters and Dr. Fitzgerald Bramwell as members of the Harbor Committee.

The village board set a public hearing seeking local citizens’ ideas for how to use a $7,000 federal Community Development Block Grant. The money may be used for projects including code enforcement, economic development, street reconstruction, public facilities improvement, housing rehabilitation, acquisition and development of blighted property, public waters projects and elimination of physical barriers for the disabled. The public hearing is November 13 at 6 p.m. in the municipal building meeting room, coinciding with that month’s meeting of the village board.

“If anyone can come up with some ideas, please share them,” Mayor Sandra Schroeder said.