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Jul 20, 2018 3:31 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Petitioners Ask Sag Harbor Village To Preserve Proposed Impound Lot

The lot at 1310 Bridgehampton/Sag Harbor Turnpike where Sag Harbor Village plans to create an impound lot.           JON WINKLER
Jul 24, 2018 3:30 PM

Fans of the Long Pond Greenbelt are letting the Sag Harbor Village Board know what the village should do with a 4,800-square-foot lot on the Bridgehampton-Sag Harbor Turnpike—and it’s not to turn it into an impound lot.

Fourteen letters from residents of Sag Harbor, Bridgehampton and Southampton were sent to the Village Board and Mayor Sandra Schroeder asking the village to sell the parcel to Southampton Town, which would use the Community Preservation Fund to purchase the property.

While the lot is within Southampton Town lines, it’s owned by Sag Harbor Village. It is also located near the Long Pond Greenbelt, 1,100 acres of preserved land that contains ponds, woods and wetlands that stretches between Sag Harbor and Sagaponack.

Sag Harbor Village plans to pave and fence off the property to use as a new location for impounded vehicles to free up space at its garage on Columbia Street. Local environmentalists have expressed concern about the proposed lot ranging from the fear that the impounded vehicles will leak toxic fluid into the surrounding woodland to the fear that the impound lot will encourage further development around preserved land.

Peter Wilson, a Bridgehampton resident and board member of the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt, said on Tuesday, July 17, that the lot had previously been considered for CPF purchase and, if sold, could become part of the Greenbelt Nature Preserve. He added that he collected 50 signatures from people outside the Sag Harbor Post Office recently on a petition supporting the purchase of the lot by the CPF.

“Aside from the potential pollution of the site, we’re opposed to the activity proposed there,” Mr. Wilson said. “The Long Pond Greenbelt is a nature preserve, so I think there’s an amazing amount of sympathy for it.”

Gregory Wiseman, a resident of Southampton, said he has no problem with Sag Harbor having a new impound lot, but he would prefer a different location. “I think it should be a site that should already be developed and not near an environmental location,” he said. “I’ve talked to others, and they’ve all wondered to varying degrees why that property is the best place for the lot.”

Ann Chwatsky of Sag Harbor said that selling the lot to the CPF would be “a dream come true.”

“I want to urge others to support the sale of the lot,” Ms. Chwatsky said. “We have a greenbelt and without it, we’ll have a mess on our hands with too much industrialization. Why continue to do damage to that? Also, I think it will look a little ugly to have an impound lot on the way into Sag Harbor.”

Sag Harbor Trustee Aidan Corish said on Thursday that he too is opposed to the location of the impound lot and recognizes the community movement against the impound lot being created so close to the greenbelt. If the village decides to put the lot up for sale, and Southampton purchases the lot using CPF revenues, he noted that the village would still need to retain “certain parts” of the property for village use.

“I believe the village should have a discussion for alternative locations for the lot,” Mr. Corish said. “The need for an impound lot is real, but there needs to be a broader discussion about where it should go.”

Mayor Schroeder said on Thursday that the town cannot purchase the lot with CPF money due to its being “very disturbed” from previous use over the years, and that the lot would have to be “cleaned.” “They are there to preserve land, not to clean it.” Ms. Schroeder said of the town CPF.

Ms. Schroeder added that the Village Board will be meeting with engineers to finalize plans for the pavement and fencing required for the lot. After that, Ms. Schroeder said, the village will put the project out to bid.

“We reviewed every available property in the village, and none was suitable, unless we want to take away a parking lot,” Ms. Schroeder said. “The only one large enough was a property near Havens Beach—but that could be an issue because it’s near water.”

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Hell, why don't they contract with the town (either Southampton or East Hampton) to use one of their lots? Why does the village have to have it's own lot? Is this a thing, now, that villages have to have impound lots. Southampton village created one at Lola Prentice for a few years until residents pointed out it was in a PARK, and they police moved the lot to their own property next door. If Sag Harbor doesn't have an suitable alternative, have they even explored the idea of an existing lot? It's ...more
By Rickenbacker (254), Southampton on Jul 24, 18 10:29 AM
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