No Letup in Notices Debate

An ongoing discussion about a possible deletion in the Sag Harbor Village code having to do with the posting of notices for every application made to the board of historical preservation and architectural review continued during the village board meeting on Tuesday. A final decision has yet to be made. 

Initially, during the September board meeting, the proposal elicited significant public concern, and a number of residents spoke out, adamantly opposed to the elimination of physical postings outside properties.

A compromise could not be found, and the revision was tabled so that residents could submit suggestions for changing its language. Meanwhile, at a work session on Friday, village board members met to discuss their own suggestions. 

Although Mayor Sandra Schroeder was the only board member at last month’s meeting to cast a dissenting vote for the tabling because she was ready to approve the changes, on Friday she suggested posting applications received by the Building Department online rather than physically.

“The list could be applications received by the Building Department,” Ms. Schroeder said. “Because if you found out the house on the corner was going to be modified, you could then ask to see the plans.” Residents “are obligated to find out when it is going to the board.” 

The board members seemed to like the online idea, and when one of them, Aidan Corish, subsequently proposed it during Tuesday’s village board meeting, he said an updated online list would be helpful: “A lot of people who are second-home owners would be able to see it from anywhere, and if they’re not in the neighborhood they aren’t going to see a posting,” he said. “I would like to see that list before we vote, but other than that I have no problem with this, I think it’s a good law that will make our Building Department more efficient and also communicate more effectively to residents and second-home owners.” 

Despite nods from other board members, some residents were reluctant. Jeffrey Bragman, whose law office represents the Save Sag Harbor group, called online-only postings “a step backwards and the wrong move for a local government to make. The problem I have with the computerized notice is that a public notice on a street, it notifies not only the immediate neighbors but anybody waking around the village who has an interest in it. Secondly, it is simple and easy to administer.”

Mr. Bragman, who noted his time as an attorney for the architectural review board in East Hampton, did not agree that posting notices of neighborhood construction is burdensome, referring to a comment by Anthony Brandt, the chairman of Sag Harbor’s A.R.B., from the September meeting. 

“It’s an absolute necessity that local government is completely transparent,” Mr. Bragman said. “And if you want to supplement it, then run the list online, but that should not be the only way. People should not have to click on a computer to see what is going on in their own village. They should be able to walk down a street and see a sign that says, ‘I want to replace that fence.’ ” 

Renee Simons, a resident who had voiced concern at the previous meeting, suggested on Tuesday that the village board consider a list of minor projects that would not require physical postings. 

While there was no decision, per Ms. Schroeder’s request the board agreed to draft a list, and the revision was left open for next month’s meeting.