Sag Harbor to Extend Moratorium

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Sag Harbor will likely extend by three months a moratorium on commercial site-plan reviews and changes of use, according to the Village Board of Trustees.

The board is awaiting a draft of a new village zoning law, which is designed to promote commerce and maintain the village’s character by limiting Main Street to retail use and moving any new banks or real estate offices into an office district just off Main Street. At the board’s monthly meeting on Tuesday, Trustee Tiffany Scarlato said that village attorney Anthony Tohill and planning consultant Rich Warren had spent many hours on the proposed code revision and she expects to have a draft early next week.

The current moratorium expires in June, and Ms. Scarlato explained that another extension would allow the board time to review the new proposal. “There’s no point in backing away from it,” she said, adding, “I want to make sure it’s done right.”

The moratorium limits what landlords in the business district can do with their properties, and several have voiced their frustration to village officials. A six-month ban on commercial site-plan reviews was approved last June and it was extended another six months and written to include a ban on changes of use in December. Mayor Gregory Ferraris said he did not want to extend the moratorium, but was willing do so only because the proposed code is close to completion and allowing it to end now would be foolish.

Ms. Scarlato said the public hearings and board review over the next three months are the most important part of the code revision process. When she receives the proposed revision next week, Ms. Scarlato said she will review the document then schedule work sessions for the other trustees to become familiar with it before presenting anything to the public.

After holding a required budget hearing on Tuesday, which drew no opposition, the board will officially adopt the 2008-09 budget at a special meeting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The budget will carry a $450,000 increase, from $7.1 million this year, to $7.55 million in 2008-09. Village Clerk Sandra Schroeder said the final numbers could change after the assessments are completed, but it appears the tax rate will increase by 9 percent, to $2.60 per $1,000 of assessed value.

Mayor Ferraris said the village is prohibiting large yachts from docking on the west side of Long Wharf this summer, but so far the issue has been moot because space on the east side is not in demand.

“People don’t want to use their 300-foot boats,” Mr. Ferraris said, explaining that the faltering economy may have an effect on docking revenues this year.

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