I have never felt more unwanted as a member of this community than I did at Wednesday night’s Sag Harbor School Board community forum about Marsden Street.
As a neighbor to Marsden, I am passionately against plans to purchase the property and attempt to create an athletic field. So, when I heard about this forum, I began to prepare.
I went to their website to see the recent postings about Marsden, and the first thing you see is the results of the November 3 vote, where those in favor narrowly surpassed those against. There are some links to documents on the side, and nowhere on the Marsden page did it mention the upcoming community forum.
I’m embarrassed to admit, I spent my entire day off on Wednesday preparing for this meeting. I have lots of questions and observations I want to address with the board.
Jeff Nichols explained how the forum would work: We would sit through a presentation from Turf Talents and the hired architect. The presentation was an hour-long sales pitch from a charming, charismatic man from Westchester who nonchalantly admitted that he has “only been with the company for one month.”
When they finally opened up the forum for public comments, we were given a mere 90 seconds before we were cut off by the board’s president. It felt as though they did not want to hear, or care, what their neighbors had to say. Members of the board and reps from Turf Talent spoke freely, without time constraints, yet the public had to limit their comments to a prompt 120 seconds.
But how can one make a point when they are interrupted at 90 seconds? How can the board hear what the public has to say when their eyes are so keenly watching the clock and counting down the seconds until we’re quiet?
There are many reasons as to why this purchase is unnecessary and not admissible for the historic district of our small village. Neighbors of Marsden Street had excellent points to make, from exorbitant cost, to health and environmental concerns, yet it felt like our points were a nuisance to the board.
Let me pose this question: If the district gets approval to purchase this property, and then finds out that the site is not ideal for their plans, what’s next?
There is a reason why no homes have been built on this lot. It’s located along the edge of a natural basin. Developers have been trying to get approval to build here for decades; it’s simply not viable land to build on.
I hope there will be prominent community discussion about this project in the coming weeks. It is entirely impermissible as is.
One fine body…