Village Urged To Renew Yacht Yard Lease

Lou Grignon at the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard.


By Stephen J. Kotz

In an 11th hour attempt to negotiate a new lease from the village for a quarter-acre lot he uses to store boats, Lou Grignon, the owner of the Sag Harbor Yacht Yard, appeared before the Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday.

As he was at an earlier appearance before the Harbor Committee on Monday, Mr. Grignon was accompanied by clients who he has notified in recent weeks that he will no longer be able to store their boats over the winter months.

They, in turn, told the board that besides inconveniencing them, the village was shooting itself in the foot economically by turning its back on an important waterfront business that both contributes to the ambiance of the village and brings in plenty of cash to village restaurants and stores.

Despite their pleas, the board took no action, with Mayor Brian Gilbride pointing out that Mr. Grignon had turned down the village’s latest offer to extend his lease for another year.

Mr. Grignon, reading from a prepared statement, told the board he was not there “to discuss negotiations or numbers.”

Mr. Grignon said he did not consider it his responsibility to provide storage for every boat owner who came to him, but stressed that he had gone out of way to serve his customers.

However, the village, he said, does have the responsibility “to consider the well being of the boaters in the community.”

“The village makes a handsome profit from their slips and moorings with minimal costs. Have you considered the economic impact to the village of losing 50 to 60 boats that I store to other harbors?,” he added.

One of those clients, Sean Leary, told the board that he kept his boat at the Sag Harbor Yacht Club and relied on Mr. Grignon to store his boat. He said he could not keep it at Ship Ashore marina because he cannot pass under the bridge.

“It’s a blessing to have Lou there to haul my boat out” during storms, he said. “What use do you have in mind that would be better for this community than a boat yard facility in the Village of Sag Harbor?” he asked.

George Martin said he first came to Sag Harbor in the 1970s before retiring here. In the decades since, he said, the village had developed into a premier sailing port with popular Wednesday night races. “Look around the harbor. There must be 40 boats,” he said. “When I first came here there were maybe five.”

“We’re all here basically because of Lou’s yard,” he added. “If we don’t have Lou’s yard, we have to leave.”

“It seems Sag Harbor is turning more into a club than a village,” added Trevor Barry. “The more we lose our amenities like the dry cleaners, the more we are killing the village.”

North Haven resident Ann Sutphen said she too had a received letter informing here there would no longer be space in the yard to store her boat. She said she was considering moving her boat to Shelter Island and added that she and her husband go out to eat and shop in stores when working on their boat. “All of that is going to go somewhere else,” she said.

After listening to Mr. Grignon on Monday, the Harbor Committee said it would send a memo to the village board, urging it to renew the lease and reminding it that the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan requires the village to support water-dependent businesses.

Dr. Tom Halton, a member of the Harbor Committee who said he was offering his personal views, told the village board the boat yard was “in concert” with the LWRP and he urged the board to not turn the property over to a “non-maritime use.”

Mr. Grignon said he was paying about $16,000 a year when his 15-year lease expired May 31. At that time, he said the village told him the property had been appraised at $20,000, so he asked for a 10-year deal with a 10-year option to renew, starting at that amount and increasing by 2.3 percent a year.

The village countered with a five-year offer, starting at $22,500 and increasing by 5 percent a year.

The village’s most recent offer was a one-year deal at $24,000, which Mr. Grignon said he rejected because it would have been retroactive to May 31 and would have essentially left him in the same position next spring.

Former Mayor Pierce Hance, who negotiated the first lease with Mr. Grignon, also urged the board to settle the deal.

“I have no grief for Lou, but I have grief for the people who are being inconvenienced,” said Mr. Hance, who urged the board to take personalities out of the dispute and sign a contract that would provide much needed revenue to the village. “Guys, make it work because you are screwing a lot of people,” he said.

But when Mr. Hance asked the mayor what his plan was for the property, Mr. Gilbride declined to answer, simply responding, “your two minutes are up.”

Wetlands Moratorium

As expected, the village board adopted a six-month moratorium on wetlands permits on Tuesday while it asks assistant village attorney Denise Schoen, environmental consultant Richard Warren and the Harbor Committee to review the village’s existing wetlands law and offer suggestions for strengthening it.  The board adopted the moratorium after a brief public hearing at which nobody spoke for or against the proposal.



  1. well, im no buddy of lou’s,but I think he is being bullied by our mayor
    who has been a bully his whole life. just any real local about him and they will give numerous,eyewitness accounts of the mayor and his bar fights and just messing with people. if one person less had run for mayor this passed election, he would have be gone,with the door hitting him in the backside on his way out. I feel soory for the residents and business owners of sag harbor village. normality will not be available until this mayor is gone.

  2. I have absolutely no interest in storing a boat but this sounds like more moves to destroy our beautiful and quiet community!

    Lou (who I don’t know) has a thriving business that serves many purposes. Destroying his business will affect a lot of people for what purpose?

    I also agree it sounds like bullying. Can we remove this mayor?

  3. Sag Harbor’s mayor is illustrating the political savvy he learned from his not-quite-complete degree from Pierson High School. No rocket scientist he, and apparently no economist either. Will anyone picnic in the land abandoned by the yard? What will it cost to pave it, and if it is covered with asphalt, who’s going to park there and where’s that revenue stream? And while the yacht yard is taking a hit, the watch factory breezes on with easy permitting, errecting over priced plastic-sheathed monuments to developers and realtors past and present. Why address traffic calming when you can beat up the yacht yard? The man at the helm of the village is navigating using vendettas in lieu of a compass.

  4. Enough is enough! People of sag harbor go to the village meetings and express your concerns! What’s being lost in all of this is the LWRP which is the bible of all laws pertaining to the wet lands and water/ land usages which by all accounts is for boat storage or park. I guess some people love Joni Mitchellls song pave paradise put in a parking lot. Oh by the way do we really need to waste 35 thousand dollars for a elevator ? And how much money was wasted on lawyer fees for the police contract.

  5. It will be a major loss to our village if this business is forced out by our apparently dim-witted mayor. Mr. Barry is correct about Sag Harbor becoming a club. We need to embrace our heritage and preserve the character of the village which revolves around its maritime history. There is plenty of room for a deal here and our elected officials ignore the residents at their own peril.

  6. I’m not a boater but it seems self-evident that Sag Harbor should NOT be without a boatyard. Also self-evident that the revenue flow brought into the village by having a boatyard would never be offset by a parking lot…even if said paving was compliant with wetland statues. None of it makes sense. Reading previous comments about bullying makes perfect sense, though. Dealt with similar headaches in a different area of the Island. It convinced me that the cruddy people you disliked in high school are the petty tyrants ensconced on village boards. Wish they’d learn to work out their power issues elsewhere!

  7. Wouldn’t any prudent business decision be based solely on whether or not that said property passes an environmental evaluation? I would think Jeff, that a life long resident, Harbor Committee member, self appointed spokesman for village residents, would be the first and loudest proponent of making sure such a delicate parcel of land has been cared for and treated as such! Seems to me that people would rather toss around sophomoric insults, behind aliases none the less than have a discussion about ideas, facts and logic! A successful landscaper should be able to do this, sadly you can’t see the forest thru the trees. Don’t forgive the pun! How about a nice big boat ramp with park benches,swing sets maybe a barbecue area? That way we could alleviate the traffic nightmare in the summer of people trying to use the ramp on Bay Street.
    A beautiful maritime park would only add to the fabric of the Village.

  8. This mayor is on a power trip that is typical for a government that thinks the people
    have to serve the government and not the other way around. These useless bureaucrats are driven
    by arrogance and have no concern about the citizens they are supposed to represent.
    Vote them out of office before they they can do more harm to the community.

  9. I have a heard the rumor that I am selling the business to the Watchcase Factory and that I am pulling a fast one on the Village.

    THERE IS NO TRUTH TO THAT AT ALL. The Watchcase Factory and I have no deal. They have not approached me nor I them.

    Perhaps the Village would like to buy the boatyard.

  10. The Mayor has been playing these games since he was kicking sand around in the sandbox. I can’t believe that taxpayers actually elected this guy into office especially after Mr. Sticky Fingers was forced out of his job at the Southampton Town dump years ago.

  11. Dan that’s why there is a process called remediation, this process can be very expensive. This should be paid for by whoever created the problem( lease holder) not the village taxpayer! The Yacht Club, and Farmers Market also sit on remediated land you don’t let your kids down there do you Dan? People are in line to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to live on a former Superfund Site! Not an objective voice? Should I start hurling around baseless accusations, and call people names? Would that make me more objective? As far as being a bully, that’s baseless as well aren’t these votes going 4-1 5-0? The mayor a has won 11 elections and lost one too, his life is an open book Jeff, he doesn’t hide behind made up names!! Why don’t you run for office Jeff, you probably have nothing to hide do you?

  12. My reasoning for saying your not anobjective voice is because hes your uncle. Of course you going to have his back and defend him. I didnt make those accusations against him. i dont have a personal issue here. I just think putting another local business out and local employees out of work doesnt make sense here. Since the vilage just took on the reponsibilty of maintining Long wharf wouldnt it make sense to have more resources for the boating community available?i just dont think you would see both sides clearly. I am well aware of what remediation is. And no i dont bring my kids to the farmers market.