Sag Harbor Village Board Plans For More Condo Plans

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The Sag Harbor Village Board has hired a consulting firm to oversee the application process for the anticipated consolidation of properties 1, 3, and 5 Ferry Road and 2 West Water Street, known as the 1-800-Lawyers building.

The project, which seeks to build condominiums on the consolidated properties, is being undertaken by East End Ventures, the developers who were formerly involved with the long-stalled but now back on track condominium project at 21 West Water Street.

The plans for the project, which were roundly panned by the community when they included only 1, 3 and 5 Ferry Road, before the developers purchased the 1-800-Lawyers building this summer, are still in the process of being filed with the village, according to Mayor Brian Gilbride.

Mr. Gilbride said the village is hiring Manhattan-based environmental consulting firm Allee King Rosen & Fleming Inc., because the scale of the project, along with other projects being undertaken in the village, would bog down their normal consulting firm, Inter-Science Research Associates of Southampton.

“It is a fairly big application with a fair amount of proposed units,” Mr. Gilbride said. “It’s nothing like Bulova, but we thought we’d hire them, because they’re a big enough company to not be slowed down by the scale,” he added, referring to the condominium project under way in the village at the former site of the Bulova Watchcase Factory.

Earlier this month, the trustees approved a bylaw that would force applicants to pay for the work of consulting firms such as AKRF Inc. on large-scale projects, so, at least in theory, the cost of the hiring should be covered by East End Ventures, although more details are to emerge at a special meeting planned for 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The same meeting will also see an informal, internal audit of the remediation project at Havens Beach, called for by Trustee Ed Deyermond earlier this month.

On October 8, Mr. Deyermond raised questions about the cost of the work done by Keith Grimes Inc., which entailed installing a bio-filtration system and vegetating a drainage ditch, as well as removing sediment and putting a fence around a ditch. It was supposed to cost $500,000, with the village paying about half, and the county and state splitting the other half.

Mr. Deyermond said earlier this month that “unexplained expenditures” have brought the project to at least $533,000, by his count, adding that part of the problem in his accounting was confusing numbers that had been provided by village staff members.

Saying that he’d like the village’s partners in the project, Suffolk County and New York State, to have their comptrollers do the audit, Mr. Deyermond explained that his request stemmed from almost monthly items on the board’s agenda to approve thousands of dollars in spending,

“I’m trying to add it all up, and I’m at a total loss as to how all these numbers come together,” he said. “I’d just like to see this whole thing audited. I can’t make heads or tails out of these numbers, and we keep getting additional bills.”

On Monday, Mr. Gilbride said that the trustees met the next day, October 9, to discuss the proposed audit. “We’ve got everything itemized, and we’ll go over all again on Wednesday for the public to see,” said Mr. Gilbride. “I just don’t like the accusations against village employees, saying that things aren’t adding up. Come after me if you have questions, not the employees. Things are done the same way as when he [Mr. Deyermond] was mayor, maybe a little more forthcoming nowadays, and if he’s not happy with that then I don’t know what his issue with the project is.”

If the trustees are collectively satisfied with Wednesday’s internal audit, the request for the state and county audit will be dropped, as agreed to on October 8 by the trustees—but if questions persist, Mr. Deyermond may continue with his search for answers.

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