Dennis Downes, the attorney representing the restaurant Page at 63 Main, returned to the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board on Tuesday evening with threats and photographs in response to an ongoing discussion of the restaurant’s request to renovate the rear of its property to create a courtyard for takeout food and drink.
The area is currently used for Dumpsters and a driveway.
Neil Slevin, the planning board’s chairman, said at last month’s meeting that it would not be in the best interest of good planning to exacerbate the already difficult parking situation in the village, predicting that delivery trucks would end up blocking traffic on Division Street if the application were approved. He said he would likely vote against it.
“There is not a restaurant in the village that doesn’t offload from the street . . . including my buddy Jack,” said Mr. Downes, referring to Jack Tagliasacchi, owner of Il Capuccino, and a member of the board. Mr. Downes distributed photographs of trucks delivering to several restaurants in the village.
“I think you are going to regret it down the road,” Mr. Downes warned the board, saying that it could not hold his client, Gerard Wawryk, to different standards than other restaurateurs. “Jerry could put up a fence tomorrow and eliminate any access from Division Street.”
Gregory Ferraris, who will abstain from voting on the matter because an owner of Page is a client of his accounting business, told Mr. Slevin that the applicant could, in fact, put up a fence and then proceed with the application without a driveway.
Mr. Slevin acknowledged Mr. Downes’s argument while reinforcing his point that a site plan change to eliminate a driveway “would exacerbate conditions that are not ideal.”
Telling the board that it was going down “a slippery slope,” Mr. Downes asked about approvals or lack thereof for other village restaurants, naming several that had unapproved outdoor seating.
“Provisions and Corner Bar have nowhere for a truck to pull in.”
Mr. Downes added that a large truck, such as a Coors Light truck, would not pull into the driveway anyway, something confirmed by Mr. Tagliasacchi, who will also abstain from deliberations.
“I agree the more we throw to the village is not going to help,” Mr. Tagliasacchi said, “but truck delivery . . . even if you have a place for them to unload, they are going to do whatever they want. They have to make 50 stops before they go home,” he explained.
“We have a situation in the village . . . park wherever you can,” Mr. Tagliasacchi said. “We can’t condone one, we have to be careful to be fair,” he warned. From his own experience, he said outdoor dining could be beneficial for both business owners and their guests.
Mr. Slevin stood firm on the issue, saying that some board members “don’t think eliminating delivery and parking space on a commercial property on a road as busy as Route 114 is a wise idea.” That, he said, is “the whole point of planning.”
“It’s a 30-square-foot driveway,” said Mr. Wawryk from the audience, pointing out that he receives most of his deliveries before 7 a.m.
Mr. Downes added, “We take deliveries from the front as well.”
Larry Perrine, a board member, agreed with the chairman. “I drive by every day. The driveway is used, he said, but “doing this pushes all of that parking into the community.”
Mr. Slevin suggested “something creative” that would not result in the elimination of a driveway. After discussing the matter with Mr. Downes, Mr. Wawryk said he would agree to shorten the driveway and have a smaller outdoor seating area.
“Come back with drawings,” said Mr. Slevin. “That seems more reasonable to me.”
Rich Warren, acting as engineer consultant to the board, advised that there was research to be done due to the quantity of new information presented by Mr. Downes, which now included an alternative site plan.
“Let him do it,” Mr. Warren said. “Maybe you will find some balance.”
“It can’t be okay for everyone else and not me,” said Mr. Wawryk after the meeting. He added that during his 33 years in the village, he has seen what goes on. He showed a new plan that will enclose the Dumpsters and move them away from the street, and said he would likely pave the area with red brick.
The application was tabled until the Aug. 27 meeting.