Village Unveils Fees for Using Parks, Long Wharf, Beaches

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A mini family folk festival was held in Marine park on Sunday, September 26, 2017, during the Sag Harbor American Music Festival. Sag Harbor Express file photo

Sag Harbor Mayor Sandra Schroeder on Tuesday spelled out a new set of fees that businesses, organizations and members of the public will have to pay in order to take up parking spaces or use village property for events.

Using Long Wharf, Marine Park, Windmill Park or Havens Beach will cost $250 per day, while blocking a single parking space for a day will cost $50 — down from the previously discussed figure of $75 per day. A sidewalk encumbrance permit will cost $25 per day after the first 24 hours of use. Permits for outdoor dining and music entertainment will cost $125 and $150, respectively. On top of each of these fees is a $25 application fee, and those who would rely on extra village services such as police or trash hauling would have to cover those costs, too. The bill for those extra services would come within a week of the approval of the permit.

“That is what it costs my supervisors to review your things,” Mayor Schroeder said during Tuesday’s village board meeting. “It’s the time the village employees are taking to get the village ready for your event.”

The village board’s adoption of the new fees drew mixed responses.

“I think the $250 a day is fair,” said Marilyn Holstein, a Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce member who organizes the annual arts and crafts fairs at Marine Park for the chamber.

Lisa Field, the chamber president, said Wednesday that “on the surface, the flat fees do seem fair. I was worried they were going to be charging in the thousands.”

However, she continued, ”When the money is going right back into the village, and it’s part of the fabric of the village, that flat fee on top of the services is what I’m questioning. You don’t seem to be getting anything for the flat fee.”

She said the chamber would proceed with HarborFest this year.

“The community looks forward to it, the businesses look forward to it,” she said. “In the future we’re really going to have to look at our ability to continue to run the event.”

But there seems to be a fuzzy line between exactly who will and will not wind up paying those fees, and that is what drew the ire of Kelly Dodds, the president and artistic director of the Sag Harbor American Music Festival.

“I understand the concept of charging for events to happen on village property to support the maintenance of those properties, but the amount they’re charging is significant,” Ms. Dodds said Wednesday. “It seems they’re setting parameters, and depending on the organization and their needs is when the parameters apply. In the course of the conversation, it’s clear that certain organizations are going to be treated differently.”

Two weeks ago, Mayor Schroeder defined the Sag Harbor Fire Department Ladies’ Auxiliary — which holds concerts at Marine Park — as village employees who would be exempt from the fees, and on Tuesday she stuck by that claim. This week, she also said the Sag Harbor Community Band, which takes up several Bay Street parking spaces in front of the American Legion when it performs on the Legion’s property, would not have to pay fees.

Trustee Jim Larocca, responding to similar concerns that Ms. Dodds aired on Tuesday, said, “I wouldn’t spend too much time struggling to dwell on those two waivers or exceptions or judgments that we make.”

But earlier in the meeting, Ms. Dodds asked about the Sag Harbor Lions Club, which sought approval for its annual Christmas tree sale by the windmill. Mayor Schroeder responded by saying it would not have to pay daily fees, either. “One hundred percent of the money goes right back into the community,” Ms. Schroeder said. However, when it came time to approve the Lions Club’s application, village attorney David Gilmartin Jr. recommended the board table it to a future meeting.

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