Sag Harbor Planning Board Wants Ban On Apartment-To-Office Conversions - 27 East

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Sag Harbor Planning Board Wants Ban On Apartment-To-Office Conversions

Brendan J. OReilly on Jun 30, 2020

To preserve an active Main Street and downtown in the village, the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board is pitching a ban on converting apartments to offices.

The board is penning a memo to the Sag Harbor Village Board to urge legislation implementing a ban, and members want the Zoning Board of Appeals to also sign on to the idea.

“To be blunt, it’s a travesty. It needs to be stopped,” Planning Board member Larry Perrine said during the board’s June 23 virtual meeting. He said turning residences into offices goes against the conceptual ideology of the village’s planning. “It’s against the general feelings of the public, it’s against the public interest,” he added.

Because the conversions are permitted under the village code, the Planning Board cannot dismiss such applications out of hand.

“Virtually every project that’s come our way on Main Street in the last year or two has had that as a component of it — the desire to eliminate residences on the upper floor of Main Street,” Mr. Perrine said. “And I think we have to be strong, and it’s a good idea to try to hook up with the Zoning Board because they’re just as stuck as we are in the same morass.”

Planning Board Chair Kay Preston Lawson said a ban would be easy for the Village Board to adopt and would make it easier on the Planning Board when faced with such decisions.

“We’re trying to, sort of, come up with a solution for board decisions as well as, hopefully, maintaining the mixed-use character of the village,” Ms. Lawson said.

Board member Neil Slevin said, historically, there have been good intentions but not the political will to “put some muscle into it.”

The memo also calls for an initiative to encourage the development of moderate-income apartments in the village business district.

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