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Jan 8, 2019 1:20 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bid For Sag Harbor Impound Lot Approved By Village Board Amid Protesters

Residents held up signs that said
Jan 11, 2019 10:20 AM

The Sag Harbor Village Board voted on Tuesday night to approve funding to create a new police impound lot adjacent to the Long Pond Greenbelt—a plan that has drawn criticism from residents and environmentalists concerned about the impact on the preserve.

The board voted, 4-1, to approve the lot, with Aidan Corish casting the sole vote in opposition to the new yard, which he referred to as an “eyesore” in the area of the greenbelt’s preserved natural lands.

Not a seat was empty in the municipal building second-floor meeting room as residents held up “Vote No To The Impound Lot” signs and posters. More than a dozen residents spoke at the end of the meeting during a public comment portion held after the vote, urging the board members to rethink their decision.

However, as of Tuesday’s vote, Mayor Sandra Schroeder said the impound lot was a “done deal.”

On Monday, approximately 60 protesters had picketed in front of the Municipal Building on Main Street in opposition to the lot.

On June 28, the Southampton Town Planning Board approved a site plan for the impound lot, which is slated to be built on a 4,800-square-foot portion of a 24-acre parcel of land owned by the village, which is surrounded on three sides by the greenbelt.

The village plans to pave and fence off the property to use as a new location for impounded vehicles in order to free up space at its garage on Columbia Street, where impounded cars are currently stored.

Dai Dayton, president of Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt, said, “The others, and especially the mayor, are not paying any attention to the letters from the environmental groups or from their own village residents.”

The project was approved Tuesday night and the bid was awarded to DeLalio Coal and Stone Co., in the amount of $99,979. “We’re guessing that being just short of $100,000 has kept it from needing a referendum, but we’re still trying to find out,” Ms. Dayton noted.

“My objections are from the environmental perspective,” Mr. Corish said. “It’s there forever—we can’t undo it … and I don’t believe we’ve exhausted every other opportunity,” he stressed as the audience clapped and cheered.

Last year, 27 cars were impounded in the Village of Sag Harbor. Victoria Sharp of Sag Harbor asked, “We’re talking about minuscule numbers when you look at it. Can’t we find a way to deal with those cars other than impinging on an area that we all have concerns about in terms of preservation?”

In response, the mayor said that the board has looked into every other piece of property owned by the village for the 20-parking space lot but couldn’t find one that worked.

Diana Kolhoff, president of the Sag Harbor Board of Education, represented her board at Tuesday evening’s meeting. During Monday night’s School Board meeting, the impound lot was up for discussion, and the possibility of the village utilizing the district’s parking spaces during the summer, when its parking lots are typically empty, was considered. “We want to work with the village to solve these problems,” Ms. Kolhoff said.

The offer was rejected, as it is necessary to limit access to impounded cars, officials said. “An impounded car is evidence and can’t just be parked at Pierson,” Deputy Mayor Kenneth O’Donnell explained.

In addition, board member James Larocca said an impound lot would need fencing around the lot, around-the-clock security and public safety features, which aren’t practical to add and take down at the school just for use from June to September.

Sharone Einhorn, a member of the Friends of Long Pond Greenbelt Board of Directors, stressed, “I’ve been to four of these meetings, and every meeting 20 or 30 people stand up and read letters from environmental groups … Nobody from the audience has ever stood up in favor of the impound lot—only opposed.”

But according to a letter from Laura Scovazzo, the deputy permit administrator for the State Department of Environmental Conservation, addressed to Mayor Schroeder on October 3, “The referenced parcel is more than 100 feet from DEC regulated freshwater wetlands.” That means no permit is required pursuant to the Freshwater Wetlands Act and its implementing regulations.

The DEC also stated in the letter that the impound lot will not result in harming threatened or endangered species, notably the tiger salamander, which is common near the project location.

The paving is slated to take place within an area of existing clearing that is already being used to store trucks and equipment and is not currently suitable for the salamander population. With that, the DEC stated that no permit was required pursuant of the New York State Endangered Species Act, and the lot wouldn’t create significant environmental impacts.

However, any changes in location, expansion of the footprint of the lot, or modifications of the scope must be identified to the DEC.

According to Mayor Schroeder, the cost of the lot won’t affect taxpayers. She said that three Sag Harbor Village Police officers retired or resigned this past year, and with that extra money was made available for the impound lot.

A letter to the Village Board from the Friends of the Long Pond Greenbelt, signed by Ms. Dayton and the group’s vice president, Sandra Ferguson, on January 7, urged the board to not follow through with the plan.

The Nature Conservancy and The Group for the East End, as well as representatives from Southampton Town and Suffolk County, have offered “to sit down to find a more suitable location for this project and to brainstorm ways in which the subject parcel can be formally recognized as a nature preserve and added to the Long Pond Greenbelt,” the letter read.

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Why hasn’t the Southampton Town storm water department step in to protect the preserve?
By A Great American (97), East Quogue on Jan 8, 19 4:47 PM
Because police, and impounded vehicles make more money....and then, after they’ve (the people who supposedly are here to protect these towns...) properly taken a dump where they sleep, superfund projects come in, and make EVEN MORE MONEY.
By The Royal 'We' (198), Southampton on Jan 9, 19 2:18 AM
1 member liked this comment
HAhahahah...wait til they need to hire new cops to support the impound lot!!! What a scam!!!
By deepchanel (87), Hampton Bays on Jan 9, 19 12:20 PM
BAD MOVE...
By knitter (1856), Southampton on Jan 9, 19 10:01 AM
1 member liked this comment
The arrogance of the Sag Harbor Village Board is stunning. Who do they serve? Certainly not the majority of their constituents.
By Arnold Timer (326), Sag Harbor on Jan 9, 19 3:49 PM
1 member liked this comment
Do you think 60 protesters are the majority of their constituents?
By disappointed (96), wainscott on Jan 9, 19 7:32 PM
Show me 3 people who aren't on the village board who are in favor of it...
By Arnold Timer (326), Sag Harbor on Jan 13, 19 12:23 AM
This was probably a bad deal for everyone. Was there any improvement to the area negotiated?? That area is filled will waste from previous uses. Couldn't they at least negotiate a proper cleanup before adding this use to it? Have all the people involved in making this decision physically walk the outskirts of this new parking area and see what is there? Im not sure how any of these people who are in power can say they look out for the community when things like this go on. I am not for or against ...more
By Hamptonsovergrown (3), sag harbor on Jan 10, 19 9:12 AM
No cost to the taxpayers??? The mayor is not staffing the police with enough officers now??? Three left or retired, won't these people need to be replaced for the safety of your village???
Where is this money coming from really? Sounds like a end run of gobbly gook. Sounds like they are keeping under a cap and money will be shifted later to REALLY pay for lot. It is not a money maker, it is a liability. What happens when a car is placed there? Officer has to be there, how secure is it???
By knitter (1856), Southampton on Jan 10, 19 9:43 AM
The lot can be privacy fenced and paved where any runoff will go into the proper drains and filtered. It could be landscaped in such a way to provide screening. I would only add that once a case is settled that municipal remove the vehicles with 30 days.
By North Sea Citizen (561), North Sea on Jan 10, 19 10:15 AM
What actual need is there for this impound lot? Again, only 27 cars a year are impounded. Currently only five or six impounded. Look at a map for petessake, there's plenty of room on Columbia Street to accommodate an equally sized lot as the proposed one. Why force the issue? Why go through with a project that so many are obviously upset over? Is it really for the sake of hiring ONE additional village officer. Do they have this much say over such inane projects?
By vexatiousmass (12), Sag Harbor on Jan 10, 19 12:37 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sag Harbor has a history of not caring about the environment. Look at Rowe, Bulova, Bridge Street, Bay Street, Havens Beach, the end of Main. And, if memory serves, the subject site was also part of an EPA investigation years ago. Thousands have come out against this with petitions, letters, attending meetings - yet they still plod ahead, eager to waste taxpayer money. They can use the 3 acres they own on Brick Kiln & Columbia. And they certainly don't need more police. Last summer there were ...more
By NoName27 (16), Southampton on Jan 10, 19 1:54 PM
Someone should check to verify that at least 3 independent bids were received
By patriot50 (42), sag harbor on Jan 10, 19 2:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
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