Get Fierce - 27 East


Get Fierce

On July 30, an employee of my firm could not come to work, so I opened up myself. This isn’t an uncommon occurrence, and as a small-business owner, I’m a volunteer, not a victim.

On the way to my office, I stopped at a computer store, but they were closed on Saturday in the midst of significant demand. The parking lot attendant was, in fact, the owner of the building, the landlord. He was gracious and let me run another errand without having to find another parking space, which would have been close to impossible.

At the farmers market, I bought fresh, beautiful bread at $12 a loaf from the guy who owned the bakery and his son, who were working the farm stand, then three quarts of pickles for $25 (last year it was $20) from a stand operated by a relative of the actual pickler. I also will try a well known caterer’s BBQ rub, and interestingly, Peter, the owner, was running the stand himself. The oysters I tried were opened deftly by the oyster farmer himself.

The point was, nobody had employees in every single interaction, myself included — and that makes seven out of seven.

I live just outside Sag Harbor Village, but I’ve maintained a real estate brokerage business in the village for 38 years now. As such, I do not technically have vested interest in Sag Harbor Village’s decisions over the pending application to build 79 affordable apartments, plus more retail and commercial space.

My family has always had our home in the Sag Harbor school and fire district. Without a vote on village business, I still agree that we need private developers involved in addressing affordable housing issues — but I disagree with this potentially being the last opportunity. Private developers only get involved when demand exceeds supply, and our current housing has been at crisis levels since the late 1990s. We will always have developers here looking to fill that need, forever, unless one thing happens.

If we lose the clean water in the tidal reaches of the harbors, bays, coves, creeks and inlets, our affordable housing crisis ends abruptly. We need that water to be fully alive and well.

Marine biologists locally say that between 50 and 70 percent of the nutrient loading in our waters comes from household wastewater. More people means more pressure to the system.

We still need more housing, even if 79 apartments in the village isn’t in the cards. But water protections had better be part of the recipe of any new housing — because if we lose the water, all the housing will be affordable. We won’t need to worry about parking anymore, either.

Simon Harrison

Sag Harbor