Village Gets New Home, Barely

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Sagaponack Village residents went to the polls last Friday to vote for a $2 million bond referendum for a new village hall, and while it was no mandate, the bond did pass, by a 53-45 margin.

“And on we go,” said village mayor Don Louchheim.

Recognizing the slim victory he said had the numbers been reversed, “we would have accepted that too.”

Currently the village operates out of a tiny, white building on the corner of Montauk Highway and Sagg Main, in two rooms they rent from the White family for $2,040 a month. They are purchasing the new building, which is just down the highway for, $1.2 million and will use the remaining money from the bond to renovate the space. The acquisition will cost the village roughly $150,000 a year in debt service for the next 20 years.

At an informational meeting held one week before the vote, a number of residents showed up to ask the village board why they needed the new space. Based on the final numbers from last Friday’s vote, it appears as if some of those residents were not satisfied with the information they received. The village maintains that the current space is simply too small to effectively do business.

One of those residents, Karina Butler, showed up at Monday’s village work session. She said she was surprised to see so much effort had gone into the search for the new village hall, particularly the architectural drawings the village board presented at the informational meeting. Butler complained about recent late night partying in the village and suggested the village should have been spending more time protecting residents’ quality of life instead of searching for a new village hall.

“Quality of life has so diminished since this village incorporated,” said Butler. “I also have a concern how this whole new town hall became a priority, and we didn’t get to address it until after you spent money and had all the drawings. In the meantime this place is a zoo.”

Butler asserted that the village had been spending all of its time searching for a new village hall instead of concentrating on enforcement when it comes to special events.  Village trustee Lisa Duryea Thayer saw it differently.

“I disagree totally,” said Thayer. “I’ve only been on the board for three months and we do not spend all of our time searching for buildings.”

At the beginning of the work session the board discussed a number of special event applications and Louchheim assured her that the village was trying to crack down on the number of events as well as how they effect the village as a whole.

“We are trying, as you just witnessed earlier in this meeting, to get under control these outdoor assembly permits and we’re giving much more scrutiny than the town ever did or does,” said the mayor.

Butler said she believed since the village incorporated three years ago, that Southampton Town police do not pay as much attention to the residents. The mayor informed her that the village has no control over the matter and asked Butler what she would like the village to do.

Butler suggested becoming part of Southampton Town again and said the police had been “flippant” to her when she had called to complain about noise.

“I wonder why,” responded Louchheim.

“That’s an inappropriate comment,” said Butler. “Why would you say that?”

“Because you don’t listen,” replied Louchheim.

Deputy Mayor Lee Foster told Butler there were certain things the village could not control.  Butler said she was not angry with the village, but was just wondering who would “protect” Sagaponack.

The village shared Butler’s concern about the special events and the intrusiveness many residents feel they represent.

“It’s where we live, everybody else wants to be here,” said Foster.

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