Harbor Heights Expansion Officially Rejected, For Now


As expected, the Sag Harbor Village Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday rejected a proposed renovation and expansion of the Harbor Heights service station.

At a special work session last month, the ZBA took a straw poll on the several variances requested, and the plans to add a convenience store and a single pump to the premises were roundly rejected.

For each variance or legal determination the board was required to make on the application, with the exception of a single variance, the board unanimously ruled against the applicant, Petroleum Ventures LLC.

The first denial of the night was for a requested buffer variance. Village code requires a 30-foot landscaped buffer between a commercial property and a residential property, and Harbor Heights is in a residential neighborhood. The applicants wanted to reduce those buffers to 10.6 feet and 21 feet to make room for more parking spaces.

In issuing the second denial, the board ruled that the proposed store was too big, exceeding the village code, which mandates less than 600 square feet of shelf space.

The lone variance the board was willing to approve was to allow the front-yard setback of the proposed convenience store to be 15.6 feet from Hampton Street, where 50 feet would normally be required. “This is not a teardown and rebuild, but instead a renovation of an existing building,” said Ms. Schoen.

“Because it is preexisting, I feel comfortable granting this variance,” Mr. Hagen said.

The attorney for the applicant, Dennis Downes, said after last month’s work session that after Tuesday night’s decision, he and his client, John Leonard, will have 30 days to either scale down their application and reapply for approval from the ZBA, or appeal the decision through a lawsuit. “I’m not going to speak for my client as to his intentions, though, without speaking to him first,” Mr. Downes said at the time.

Also speaking last month, Jeffrey Bragman, attorney for Save Sag Harbor, said the result “is going to, I think, dramatically change the site plan and perhaps the applicant’s expectations. And that is good news.”

One unexpected aspect of Tuesday’s vote: Board member Jennifer Ponzini, who was appointed toward the end of the application process and was absent from the straw poll, abstained from ruling on the application.

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