Another Setback for the John Jermain Memorial Library - 27 East

Another Setback for the John Jermain Memorial Library

author on Jul 16, 2010

web Main to Library sewer

The Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees is apparently unwilling to extend its sewer line down Main Street for the expansion of the John Jermain Memorial Library – one of several setbacks the library has faced in recently that has pushed the project back months.

“I don’t know what this will mean for the project,” said John Jermain Memorial Library (JJML) Director Catherine Creedon. “A lot will depend on the process we go through with the Suffolk County Department of Health.”

The village’s impending decision, which will be formally rendered at next month’s trustees meeting, was alluded to at Tuesday night’s village board meeting. The decision comes after a handful of neighbors – required to hook up to the wastewater treatment plant if the village extends the line – have protested that they will be inconvenienced and financially burdened if the village approves the proposal.

Last month, Louis Perlman – one of five neighbors including the Custom House – expressed concerns about the costs which would be placed on those property owners, including hooking up, the abandonment of existing wells and annual sewer district fees to the village.

In response, the library agreed to foot $24,000 per property to cover some of these costs.

This month, citing continued concern from property owners and a recent meeting with the library board of trustees, Trustee Robby Stein said he was not in favor of the extension, noting the wastewater treatment plant has limited capacity and the village could face liability from neighboring property owners if they approved the extension.

In a June 8 letter to the village board, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, which operates the Custom House on Main Street in Sag Harbor, echoed Perlman’s concerns, adding it could face additional obstacles if the extension was granted.

“First, the Custom House survey indicates that the house is more than 225 feet back from the road and a hook up would have to traverse a conservation easement,” states the letter from director Robert B. MacKay.

In a second letter, dated June 14, MacKay states the extension of the sewer district “simply makes no sense” for the Custom House, suggesting if an extension is approved it should be constructed down Garden Street instead, where the Custom House could hook up at a shorter distance and not violate its conservation easement.

Perlman also sent a second letter to the board asking for information on how the library determined $24,000 was the appropriate amount to accommodate affected property owners.

“We met yesterday with [JJML library director] Cathy [Creedon] and representatives from the library, the Suffolk County Department of Health and we are certainly working as hard as we can to help the library through this situation,” said Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride at Tuesday night’s meeting.

“I just wanted to take a moment to thank the board for all your consideration and everything you have been doing to help us through this issue,” said library board trustee Carl Peterson.

On Wednesday morning, Creedon said she was made aware on Monday that the trustees would be moving in this direction. Once the library receives a formal denial from the village, it will make application to the Suffolk County Board of Health for an on-site system, she said.

Creedon said she expects that, too, will be denied as the county summarily denies any applications for on-site systems when a sewer plant hook-up is available. The onus will then be on the library to show the Suffolk County Board of Appeals why hooking up to the village sewage treatment plant is not possible.

In other village news, trustees continue to hammer out plans to legalize live music in Sag Harbor, even as it plays on this summer.

On Tuesday, trustee Ed Gregory said he hoped the village would place an annual permit fee of $100 in the law to cover the time village employees spend processing the permits. He also suggested stricter enforcement should a restaurant or tavern violate the proposed law.

The proposed law would allow live music to be played in restaurants no later than one hour after dinner service, and no later than 1 a.m. Bars and taverns would also be allowed to host live music no later than one hour before they close, and all establishments would need to adhere to the village’s noise ordinances. Cabarets, discos or nightclubs will not be granted a permit, nor would any restaurant or bar with characteristics of a cabaret, disco or nightclub.

“What I was going to suggest is, if the code enforcement officer or fire inspector discovers a violation issue, they can first issue a warning and then revoke the license and let people come to a hearing in front of the board, so this way we know they will show up for sure and the matter will be taken care of,” said Gregory. “We have had problems where a whole season goes by and these issues never get rectified.”

Stein said he has met with a panel of business owners, Main Street residents and Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano about the law, with Fabiano agreeing with Gregory about the need for a fee. Fabiano also asked the board create a seasonal permit with business owners coming back in winter months if they would like to continue to host live music.

Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. suggested the board host a work session on the matter before bringing it up again at its August meeting.

Mia Grosjean, speaking on behalf of Tracey Mitchell, director of Sag Harbor’s Bay Street Theatre also entreated the board to spread the word on the theatre’s need for community support, particularly in ticket sales as it faces another impending financial deficit this fall.

“We have seven weeks to sell tickets and if we don’t we are in a ‘make it or break it’ situation,”said Grosjean, noting Sag Harbor’s own Pulitzer Prize winning playwright Lanford Wilson’s “Fifth of July” is currently on the theatre’s Main Stage.

“Bay Street has provided enormous, incredible things for the village,” said Grosjean. “It brings an enormous amount of people to our restaurants and as someone who is the President of Save Sag Harbor and a founder of [Coalition of Neighborhoods for the Preservation of Sag Harbor] it would be sad if something happened to Bay Street — and we are there, again.”

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