Loo Solution on the Way

A long-stalled project to reduce pollution at Havens Beach was not finished as of Monday, though village officials had vowed the work would be completed by the start of swimming season. Carrie Ann Salvi

    Weekend access to public bathrooms at the Sag Harbor Municipal Building was on Nada Barry’s mind when she spoke to the Sag Harbor Village Board on July 9, hoping that new board members might listen to her pleas. By Tuesday, a few possible solutions were on the table, according to Kelly Connaughton, president of the village’s Chamber of Commerce.

    Ms. Barry, a co-owner of the Wharf Shop, joined Ms. Connaughton and Robert Evjen to represent chamber members at a meeting on the subject with the village trustees Ken O’Donnell and Robby Stein.

    The bathrooms at the Municipal Building were open to the public on weekends at one point, but Mayor Brian Gilbride decided to close them for a number of reasons, he said last week, claiming to have pictures of an incident or two that would explain his decision. He was also concerned that the bathrooms are close to confidential village records and with the cost of replacing the fixtures in them with commercial-grade ones.

    The public bathrooms at Marine Park, which are open on the weekends, see damage as well, he said, but a hose can take care of some of the issues in that setting. A village employee would have to check on the restrooms, he said, because learning too late about a flood issue at village offices could be costly.

    Most retailers cannot let customers use their bathrooms because they keep stock in back rooms and even in the bathrooms, due to limited space, Mr. O’Donnell said at the July 9 meeting. Ms. Connaughton said the chamber had some ideas in mind and that its members may even help to monitor the bathrooms. The mayor ultimately supported a meeting to discuss the matter.

    Ms. Connaughton said yesterday that the group is working on solutions to be implemented as soon as the village and chamber boards approve them.

    With two new board members, Police Chief Tom Fabiano also hoped that his pleas would not fall on deaf ears. Since losing a full-time officer and being restricted in his use of overtime, he said, he has serious concerns about the safety of the village. The mayor, who has been steadfast in his campaign to reduce police costs, said Chief Fabiano could hire a part-time officer.

    Water quality was on the minds of residents, too. Simon Harris, a real estate agent concerned about shellfish safety, suggested the village take proactive measures to avoid another Department of Environmental Conservation shellfish closure, emphasizing that runoff and fertilizer, organic or not, is an issue that requires more public education.

    Angela Scott, a Spring Street resident, made her monthly plea for the village to deal with flooding and to prepare for hurricane season. Ed Deyermond, another newly elected trustee and former mayor, suggested a meeting with other municipalities to tackle the issue. Mayor Gilbride agreed to looking at a bigger plan while working on state and federally-mandated stormwater management upgrades.

    Also at the meeting, Mr. Deyermond and Mr. O’Donnell declined to go along with Mayor Gilbride’s move to appoint Edward Gregory to replace Jeffrey Peters as a member of the harbor committee.

    The subject of the unfinished pollution abatement efforts at Havens Beach, which were to be complete by the start of swimming season, did not come up. Calls to the village clerk regarding the status of the project and reason for the delay were not returned by press time.