Traffic, a Park, Havens Beach on Agenda

    Representatives of a village civic group asked the Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday to create a citizens advisory committee that would be charged with studying and recommending traffic calming measures.

    “We are very much aware of the fact that this board doesn’t have the time to go off and do this work while they are busy running the village,” said John Shaka, who is on the board of directors of Save Sag Harbor as he broached the topic. He said the committee could have up to a dozen members and present the board with “actionable ideas,” not all of which would necessarily be adopted.

    He was joined by Susan Mead, a member of the group, who said that a new tax-exempt organization, Serve Sag Harbor, had been formed to be a conduit for private donations to help underwrite the cost of projects. To date, Ms. Mead said she had received pledges of $4,700.

    A resident of Main Street, Ms. Mead said in the middle of the night delivery trucks often raced down the street at speeds in excess of 50 miles per hour, rattling walls and making it “difficult to have a good quality of life.”

    She also said that when workers placed sensors in the dome of the John Jermain Library to make sure it was stable during construction, they were activated repeatedly by passing trucks.

    Jonas Hagen, an urban planner who led a workshop last winter on ways the village could make itself more pedestrian and bicyclist-friendly, also spoke. He offered a litany of suggestions, from narrowing intersections or creating traffic circles, to installing speed limit signs that use radar to post a motorist’s speed and speed bumps.

    When Ken O’Connell, a member of the board, asked if the village would be liable for damage to vehicles if it installed speed bumps, Mr. Hagen said the worst damage that typically occurs is that a car could lose its muffler. “It’s better to lose a few mufflers than a child, a senior, or anyone of us,” he said.

    Mr. Hagen and Mr. Shaka said the village would qualify for state transportation grants to help fund any traffic-calming measures it pursues.

    Although the board took no action on the request, Mayor Brian Gilbride said he would not object if such a committee was to meet in the Municipal Building.

    On Wednesday, Mr. Shaka said he hoped the board would move forward with the idea in the coming months. “It would simply be farming out some of the legwork and seeing that people who have an interest in it can take on the problem,” he said.

    The property southwest of the Jordan Haerter Memorial Bridge also came up for discussion on Tuesday. Bruce Tait, chairman of the Sag Harbor Village Harbor Committee, asked the board whether the sliver of public land there, behind the 7-Eleven convenience store, could be revitalized as an extension of the village’s waterfront park.

    Mr. Tait showed the board sketches prepared in 1996 by the landscape architect Ed Hollander. The plans showed installation of two docks that would provide space for up to 25 boats shorter than 28 feet, which Mr. Tait said matched a need among local residents.

    The park, which would be accessed by a foot path, would include “a jewel of a beach,” according to Mr. Tait. He said that members of his committee were willing to work on making the plan a reality.

    Mayor Gilbride said that the village had been trying to determine the ownership of the property and that, depending on the results, the board would most likely be willing to look into the project. “Let’s get some rough ideas about cost.”

    Mr. Tait told the board that because the village has adopted a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program, it might be possible to obtain state grants for the work, and it could even lobby for some private funding.

    Last month, the village planning board took is first look at a plan for a 21-unit residential development on property neighboring the proposed park. On Wednesday, Mr. Tait said the plan for the park was unrelated to that development and added that he was confident the village would not have difficulty proving ownership of the land.

    When the board took up the matter of paying for remediation work at Havens Beach, Trustee Ed Deyermond threw up his hands in frustration, saying he could not make heads nor tails out of the bills. He called for a county or state audit of the project.

    According to Mayor Gilbride, the work was originally supposed to cost $500,000, with the county picking up $147,500, the state shouldering just under $147,000, and the village to pay $205,000. A recent change order, submitted by the contractor doing the job, Keith Grimes Inc., would add $38,025 to the bill, the mayor said.

    Pierce Hance, a former mayor and trustee, said the village had erred by not holding a public hearing on the cost, which Mr. Gilbride said had been paid for out of the general fund, pending the completion of the work when the expense would be transferred to the repair fund and a hearing held.

    “You’ll have a hearing after all the money’s gone?”  Mr. Hance asked. The board tabled action on the matter, pending an explanation from the village treasurer, Eileen Tuohy.

    In other action, the board voted to adopt a 25-mile per hour speed limit in the Redwood neighborhood after holding a public hearing at which no one spoke. Neighborhood streets that are not otherwise marked have a 30-m.p.h. limit.
    The board also adopted a law that would require applicants whose development projects require the village to hire outside experts to reimburse the village for the expenses.

    The measure would not apply to standard applications, such as a single-family house, but to major projects such as the Bulova redevelopment, which could cost thousands of dollars in environmental review, said the village attorney, Fred W. Thiele Jr. It would “require money up front so basically you aren’t left holding the bag,” he said.