Playing Defense - 27 East


Playing Defense

I read with interest the article in The Express about a group of architects who took it upon themselves to meet with Adam Potter to convey their concerns about the conceptual renderings published in the paper [“Local Architects Hope To Help Guide Design Of Affordable Housing Complex In Sag Harbor,”, July 27].

I believe it presumptuous to have a private meeting with Mr. Potter and his designer about the design concept. While I may share many of their concerns, and I do, it was safe for Mr. Potter to believe they were speaking for the whole community, and to understand that the housing/commercial proposal was a “given,” as long as the design is improved.

There are many more basic issues to discuss.

1. When the mayor suggested that the property be developed for a new Bay Street Theater, we were told that it was impossible because the ground under it was toxic. Why, then, is it appropriate to locate housing on that property?

2. Was a massing and planning study ever prepared to illustrate how the theater might fit on the property (and the “blue ball” property)?

3. A theater is a “black box,” mostly devoid of windows, except in the lobby. Why not back that up to a parking lot and use a site with light, air and views for housing? Mr. Potter’s vision is an urban one with high density. I am not sure the village either wants or can accommodate the kind of visual environment he proposes. It’s a village, not The Village.

4. Why are we even talking about architecture? I agree that the proposed design has nothing to do with Sag Harbor — it illustrates a complete lack of understanding of the character, scale, detail and history of our village. A master planning study addressing traffic, parking, density of population, impact on infrastructure, environment, schools, and economic impact on existing residences and adjacent businesses needs to be undertaken.

5. Should all market-rate housing be concentrated in one location? Why?

6. Twenty-five percent of our downtown businesses seem to close each fall; do we really need more empty retail spaces as part of market-rate housing ?

7. If Mr. Potter is serious about his proposal, why hasn’t he reached out to the community to float the idea before showing up with renderings that would turn anyone off? Hasn’t he learned anything from the disaster of the surprise theater proposal?

As a property owner in Sag Harbor since 1976, and an architect who has had a 40-year-old practice designing public buildings, I am personally discouraged as I see the haphazard process that is allowing developers to plan our village while our residents and boards can only play defense as the developers reap 80 percent of their goal.

Gregory Lukmire

Sag Harbor