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Jun 5, 2015 12:16 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sag Harbor Building Moratorium To Be Presented For Public Comment Next Month

Sag Harbor Village officials are considering implementing a three-month building moratorium to slow down the recent pick-up in development.  DANA SHAW
Jun 10, 2015 11:56 AM

A temporary building moratorium in Sag Harbor to slow development will be presented for public comment next month.

Sag Harbor Village officials are considering a three-month moratorium to allow time to reevaluate the residential zoning portion of the village code as it pertains to the gross floor area of homes. A public hearing on the proposed moratorium will be held at July’s Village Board meeting.

The moratorium would most likely be imposed on any new construction of more than 3,000 square feet, or on renovations that would increase the size of a house by more than 50 percent, according to Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele Jr. Smaller additions such as a bathroom, bedroom or deck would not be included, he said.

The push to introduce the moratorium at Tuesday night’s Village Board meeting came from Deputy Mayor Sandra Schroeder, who had said on Friday that the increase in teardowns and building of excessively large homes that has taken place within the last year is a trend that cannot be ignored any longer.

“We need to slow things down so we can justly work on the residential section of our code,” said Ms. Schroeder, who is a candidate for mayor in Tuesday’s village election. “We have issues we have to address, and it’s for the benefit of the entire village. We have so much work to do—this will slow down what’s going on.”

Village Trustees Ed Deyermond, Ken O’Donnell and Robby Stein—the latter also a candidate for mayor—also said Friday that they were each in favor of a moratorium. Mayor Brian Gilbride, whose last meeting as mayor was Tuesday night, said he supported the idea, although it is something the board and new mayor will be handling.

“We’re losing the historic feel of the village,” Mr. O’Donnell said. “Within the last year to six months, the teardown situation has gotten a little bit out of control. The reason Sag Harbor is still charming is that it was a working-class [village], and residents didn’t have the money to tear down and build something new. Obviously, there’s a need to look into the codes to try and tighten up the loopholes.”

Over the past few months, residents have been vocal about the need to put the brakes on building. Save Sag Harbor, a nonprofit organization that aims to protect the character of the village, started a Change.org petition earlier this year that called out village officials and demanded that they take a look at the residential zoning code. The petition garnered more than 1,000 signatures in a matter of weeks.

On Tuesday night, though, one resident approached the Village Board with a different opinion. Steven Barr of Howard Street said he did not understand why a moratorium was necessary. “If you’re going to change the code, change the code and give approvals according to the new code,” he said. “Why is it necessary to not process [applications]?

“I just think it’s creepy. It’s un-American,” he continued, at which audience members laughed.

Mr. Barr added that putting a stop to some building, even if just for a few months, would make more work for the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review and the Zoning Board of Appeals, which would have to figure out which applications they could process. “They do a really good job, and I think people are incredibly arrogant who don’t serve on those boards,” he said. “Why can’t we work on tweaking the current system instead of listening to the minority of this village? Believe me, you’re going to be hearing from a lot of people in the middle.”

Mr. Gilbride noted that the moratorium would not prevent everybody from making changes to their homes, but instead would target the larger-scale additions and buildings that have been quickly changing the face of the village.

“If there’s an assumption that there will be no building permits issued, that’s not true,” he said, stressing that the law will simply allow village officials “an attempt to catch their breath.

“This is not a total moratorium where no building is allowed,” the mayor said. “This is an attempt by the village to get their arms around some of the houses that are getting knocked down and much larger houses end up there.

“In July, there will be the discussion, and people can ask questions,” he added.

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Perhaps the Village should work on hiring more competent inspectors and personnel that last more than 6 months. Let's stop development because we can't keep up? Wow. Good idea: fight progress and up like...Hampton Bays.
By Mouthampton (439), Southampton on Jun 5, 15 12:46 PM
Bigger ISNT better!
By ValGal03 (58), Montauk on Jun 11, 15 2:24 PM
are you from Sag Harbor if not mind your own business
By happywils (4), Sag Harbor on Jun 5, 15 2:17 PM
2 members liked this comment
Let the lawsuits begin. This is the United States they have no right to stop anyone or deny them from their rights. Sag Harbor has never looked better, it went from a dump to a beautiful town.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 5, 15 5:06 PM
Yes, actually zoning boards do have the legal right to set limitations.
By ValGal03 (58), Montauk on Jun 11, 15 2:26 PM
the hamptons are ruined
simple and plain
there is no way someone that loved the 80s and 90s hamptons still enjoys the place

i'm trying to rent my house (although with all the new construction, former renters seem to just be buying) and moving to SoCal

goodbye illegal immigrants and millionaires
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Jun 5, 15 5:13 PM
2 members liked this comment
ok see you
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 6, 15 10:38 PM
you must be one of the millionaires

By llimretaw (118), watermill on Jun 14, 15 6:57 AM
Like socal isn't crawling with illegals! Good fro Sag Harbor!! Out of control development has destroyed the ambiance and small town feel of a lot of our area. Folks from away don't have a clue.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 5, 15 5:35 PM
Sorry chief but you are so wrong . There is a huge difference between "fixing" some homes and the absolute destruction of a small bayside town. Sag Harbor was never a "dump". It was a REAL working class small town. Now it's quickly becoming a "snobby " hell hole. All the normal size homes are being replaced with out of place mini mansions
And please don't get me started on the watch case condos.
Sag Harbor was the last man standing in terms of being a quaint quiet town . Sadly the uber ...more
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 6, 15 1:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
Its what people want. They do not want to live in little doll houses with 2 1/2 foot fences and a 50 amp fuse box...

The town looks amazing

You cant hold down progress and keep the place two yourselves forever. Some people want It to stay the way they remember it in 1947 with an IGA and Aunt bee cooking Apple pie in her salt box on the water

You don't want your property taxes to go up... so you fight the progress to the death.
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 6, 15 10:47 PM
Joe doesn't understand what "progress" is, and he never will.

You can murder a town just as easily as a person. All you have to do is destroy it's identity. If you don't want a "doll house", don't move to Sag Harbor and wreck it via gentrification if you allegedly love it so much on the East End. There are many people who upgraded their electric service, and retained the character of the village. Those who didn't for their own selfish reasons are not engaging in progress. They are ...more
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 7, 15 8:58 AM
3 members liked this comment
Sorry that's life someone buys a house they have rights. Now some creep like Fred Thiele with his numerous govt hats is going to take away someone's rights?
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 6, 15 6:47 PM
it's not about the right to do it. It boils down to greed. And taking a once vibrant town that real middle class people could live in , and slowly turning it into a place that will ultimately be shuttered during the winter months until all the beautiful people come back in the summer .
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 6, 15 9:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
Wow people just don't get it . There's progress, then there's the financial hijacking of a town. Of course if someone buys an older home , it's ok if they want to modernize it , replace appliances etc. But to tear down most homes and replace them with mini mansions , that's what is changing the face of Sag Harbor. Basically big money comes out , claiming they "fell in love" with the cute little town, then they want to customize it . It's all B.S.
Not one LOCAL Sag Harborite , expects Sag Harbor ...more
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 7, 15 8:26 AM
2 members liked this comment
And I wish people would stop using the word progress. That's inferring that Sag Harbor just paved the roads....
The only thing progressing is the building of homes that jack up everyones taxes , yet remain empty for 1/2 of the year .
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 7, 15 9:03 AM
1 member liked this comment
joe said

"You don't want your property taxes to go up... so you fight the progress to the death"

a few lines later you said,

" The only thing progressing is the building of homes that jack up everyones taxes "


By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Jun 7, 15 10:01 AM
When it comes to social capital, you and joe can declare bankruptcy...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 7, 15 11:12 AM
I guess some people are amused at others suffering
Bottom line this is not a joke. The very wealthy spread themselves all over until there's nothing left to destroy, then it's on to the next " small town"....
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 8, 15 5:49 AM
Leaving wealth out of the equation--This is typical behavior by people from away, They love a place so much that they decide to own a home there, then try to turn it into the same type of UTI hell hole in Nassau County they just left. Kinda like buying a home next to a race track and complaining ab ut the noise, or building next to an airport and griping about the planes, or building right next to a farm field and freaking out about the noise and dust. Sorry folks, we're full, move along.
By bigfresh (4666), north sea on Jun 8, 15 6:19 AM
1 member liked this comment
There should be a moratorium in both Towns and Villages to ascertain what all this building is doing to the charater of the EE. Including and especially change of zone and variance requests.
By North Sea Citizen (568), North Sea on Jun 8, 15 6:41 AM
I'm not sure what people flocking to Sag expected. As it's become a destination, development follows. Should we return to the Sag of the 70's, or even early 80's? A run down main street with a ton of empty shops, the Black Buoy and a falling apart Long Wharf? Even during summer weeks in the early 80's, Sag was a ghost town. It picked up on the weekends but was still quiet and businesses were hurting badly.
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 8, 15 9:02 AM
That town's finished. Sag Hampton.
By johnj (1024), Westhampton on Jun 8, 15 1:24 PM
Town looks better than ever... Historick , Clean and Restored ... something really special
Jun 8, 15 2:05 PM appended by joe hampton
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 8, 15 2:05 PM
this has become a frequent battle on the east end and the money always wins

no point discussing here
By llimretaw (118), watermill on Jun 8, 15 5:00 PM
You would think Z would be thankful that people care enough to restore this 300 + year old gem to it original state... with pain staking attention to detail and a building standard not found ( With the exception of Colonial Williamsburg ) many other places
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 8, 15 10:29 PM
Who says I'm not?

I stand fully behind historical homes, and restoration. To those who buy an address for status and tear down a perfectly good home...

Let's just say they wouldn't like what I have to say...
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 8, 15 10:47 PM
Without the people you rail against the town would look like Camden NJ
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 9, 15 12:14 AM
It's a double edged sword. You're just not smart enough to know it.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 15 9:42 PM
1 member liked this comment
Thank you for your for pointing that out Z
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 13, 15 7:57 AM
I'm willing to bet most of the people for all the BS going on in Sag Harbor
And all the other towns , are in Real Estate
By Biba (566), East Hampton on Jun 9, 15 7:22 AM
I am just not sure what you are complaining about ? You live in a beautiful restored historic deep water port.

Its like you liked it when it was run down and rat infested from watchcase ?

Why ?

Its post whaling days saw an industrial takeover. When the factory days were over it left a bizarro world in its place.

It was a town of hippies and wanna be "artists" a blighted and depressed town that had a high unemployment rate and a know prescription drug problem. ...more
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 9, 15 9:04 AM
Joe - people are very shortsighted and hate change. I for one agree with you - port towns like Sag Harbor, Setauket, Port Jefferson, they were industrial dumps at the turn of the century filled with drunken sailors. People complain about them now because some new condos go up - well you wouldn't want to see what it used to look like!
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jun 9, 15 9:45 AM
1 member liked this comment
Hmm... now that you mention, maybe things ARE the same??
By Nature (2966), Southampton on Jun 9, 15 12:27 PM
1 member liked this comment
Hampton Bays is next, the locals are already complaining the place is starting to attract the rich. Just wait a few years and all we will hear about is the gentrification of the Bay men.

Its all about the property taxes.
By 27dan (2854), Shinnecock Hills on Jun 9, 15 1:23 PM
Port Jeff still has a SuperFund site.
By Mr. Z (11847), North Sea on Jun 10, 15 7:41 PM
People are complaining the rich are moving into Hampton Bays? You're a comedian. People in the rest of the country wish the rich would move in, and clean up areas. Noooo not in Hampton Bays they like the dump just the way it is.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 9, 15 7:55 PM
you are both making the same argument the old timers do not want change, they like it the way it is nothing to new or to nice. that way they keep the jewel that is hb to themselves and there property tax dose not go up.

i live in hampton bays and i agree with ud, i hear a lot of opposition to the new restaurants like cow fish that have come, even more resistance to the million $ town homes and the restoration of the cpi. nothing can stop it now and it cant come to soon. hb will be a premiere ...more
Jun 9, 15 8:40 PM appended by Erin 27 E
By Erin 27 E (1281), hampton bays on Jun 9, 15 8:40 PM
HB along with flanders, with all the bays, inlet, canal, creeks and other water coming in is by far one of if not the only, extraordinarily, nicest, prettiest of the hamptons. Too bad it has the motels turned into slum, the main street looks like crap and of course you have the old small lots with small houses which are currently looking good. HB use your attributes, get rid of the messes and you will become bigger than BH, Saga, sag hbr, and all the rest. Just incorporate and take back your ...more
By xtiego (698), bridgehampton on Jun 10, 15 6:58 PM
1 member liked this comment
If you live in Hampton Bays do not worry... I know of some truly amazing things that are being planned for your hamlet and by some very powerful players... it is inevitable that your property values are going to skyrocket
Jun 10, 15 9:25 PM appended by joe hampton
Hang on it should be a cool ride...
By joe hampton (3461), southampton on Jun 10, 15 9:25 PM
Hampton Bays it is time to worry. These big projects will only stay around for so long. If the economy changes or the developers lose interest all bets will be off. Wake up, and voice your opinion on the rebuilding of HB.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Jun 10, 15 10:02 PM