I am writing in response to Jim Larocca’s letter to The Express [“Vigorous Review Needed,” Letters, September 21]. I am writing this as an individual who has served on the Zoning Board of Appeals and now serves as a village trustee, but this does not necessarily reflect the views of other trustees.
Mr. Larocca states that the Village Board rescinded legislation that gave the board broad power over waterfront development. What he fails to explain is that, with the passage of village code Section 300-14.4, we established a new site plan presubmission conference procedure.
For a wide variety of significant applications, this process starts with a public hearing in front of the Planning Board. Its members hold a public meeting before they weigh in on the suitability of an application and before it takes the form of a formal permit application.
In essence, we have given the citizens of the village the power to voice opinions about any initial concept and use exemptions — taking that power out of the sole hands of the five members of the Village Board.
When the “Bialsky Towers” were proposed, the overall design concept was already in place: three very large, single-residence buildings. What was left for the boards to determine was size and exterior finishes. Think of it as three huge white cubes are going up — now, decorate.
Mr. Larocca refers, ironically, to “significant mistakes made by our Building Department and boards,” but the real mistake was in our failure to allow the public to weigh in on the overall design and use concept being proposed in that building permit application. For instance, had a scale model of the project been shown to the public prior to the building permit application, I doubt that those buildings would be there in their current form.
I don’t think that the current board is concerned about “political cover” in any way. I believe that what we are trying to do is establish protocols that can give the citizens of Sag Harbor a say in the village’s future development, whatever that may be.
Sag Harbor Village
One fine body…