A small Jewish cemetery in unincorporated Sag Harbor has secured Suffolk County approval to double in size.
The graveyard, the Kodetia Society of Temple Adas Israel, is located off State Route 114 on the East Hampton Town side of Sag Harbor. The cemetery, which measures roughly 1 acre, is nearly full and will soon expand by an additional acre, said Howard Chwatsky, temple treasurer.
The Suffolk County Legislature on June 4 approved the temple’s request to add the additional land, which is located to the west of the graveyard. Under state law, a cemetery wishing to expand must obtain consent from the county, as well as the town and, if applicable, village. In this case, the cemetery had already secured permission from East Hampton Town.
“We have very few plots left,” Mr. Chwatsky said. “We wanted to have land for our membership when they die … We hope to make this a peaceful surrounding for people to sit and do some meditation or think of their loved ones. We’re trying to create a serene environment in a new area.”
Mr. Chwatsky said the current cemetery holds approximately 200 plots. With the additional acre, he anticipates room for another 300 or 400 plots that will be organized more efficiently.
The land became available when, in the fall of 2011, a neighboring property owner entered into negotiations with East Hampton Town to sell a large tract of undeveloped land for preservation, according to a letter written by the temple’s attorney, Miles B. Anderson, and addressed to Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman. With the town’s consent, Mr. Anderson wrote, the owner agreed to “sever off” a 1-acre parcel so that the temple could expand its cemetery.
The town and temple bought their respective properties in transactions that closed in December 2011. Mr. Anderson did not mention the prices, but in December 2012, the date of his letter, he wrote that the temple sought to have the land re-zoned for cemetery use.
The previous owner of the parcel is 11963 Inc, according to the county.
The Kodetia Temple—named after a Hebrew word for holiness, according to Mr. Chwatsky—abuts the Independent Jewish Cemetery. The two burial grounds were started by two groups of Jewish people who came from different parts of Europe and did not get along, he said.