Village One Step Closer to Park After Lot Line Approval by Planning Board

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A rendering of 2 West Water Street by architect Andre Kikoski.

The John Steinbeck Waterfront Park is one step closer to becoming a reality, as the Sag Harbor Planning Board on Tuesday granted a lot line modification that paves the way for Southampton Town to close on the purchase of the future parkland from developer Jay Bialsky using $10.5 million from the Community Preservation Fund.

The lot line modification, which turned five separate tax map lots into two —one for development as condominiums, and one for open space — was the final condition Mr. Bialsky had to meet in his contract with Southampton Town for the land sale. The first condition was the clearing of the old buildings on the Ferry Road side, which took place in August; the second was the delivery of environmentally-appropriate topsoil, which happened October 1.

“I would say I’m pleased to learn that the company has been able to meet the conditions imposed by the Community Preservation Fund,” Sag Harbor Village Trustee James Larocca, who was instrumental in the lengthy process to arrange the CPF purchase, said Wednesday. “I think we in village hall are pleased they were able to meet those conditions and hope this clears the way for the parkland coming to the village. The rest of the process is village matters yet to be completed.”

While the CPF purchase is a step closer to reality, Mr. Bialsky’s condominium project still has a few hurdles left to clear. The Sag Harbor Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review will soon hold a public hearing on the application, and the project needs site plan approval by the Sag Harbor Planning Board and a green light from the village’s Harbor Committee. The Sag Harbor Zoning Board of Appeals in October signed off on the necessary variances.

A public hearing on the site plan continued before the Planning Board on Tuesday, when the board got its first lengthy look at the technical aspects of the plans.

Mr. Bialsky has proposed three separate units totaling just below 24,000 square feet, with “breezeways” in between and parking areas for residents underneath the units. A fence of a to-be-determined material is proposed to separate the condo development from the parkland next door. Sidewalks in front of the buildings are proposed, as well as trees that would be in the village’s right-of-way but which Mr. Bialsky has pledged to maintain.

The plans call for improved drainage along the 2 West Water Street property, as well as new bulkheads on the waterside that will pick up where the village’s own bulkhead leaves off.

The Planning Board voted to keep the public hearing open to one more meeting, December 20, at 5:30 p.m., in case members of the public wish to view the updated plans and comment. The plans are on file with the Sag Harbor Building Department and may be viewed by the public via a Freedom of Information request.

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