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Developer, Sag Village Board Reach Agreement to Keep Gas Ball Lot Open

Fri, 09/15/2023 - 08:13
A view of the gas ball parking lot in Sag Harbor Village.
Christopher Gangemi

If the giant blue globe full of gas were still there, someone would paint a smile on it.

The so-called "gas ball lot," where the globe once sat, but which has since become a 93-space parking lot of importance, will remain open after the village and Adam Potter, the developer who is to gain control of the lot on Saturday, came to an agreement Thursday evening — just in time for HarborFest, which attracts visitors by the carload to Sag Harbor.

National Grid will delay Mr. Potter's possession of the lot for 60 days. This will allow the lot to operate as it has while the village works through a new local law, allowing a parking lot to be a primary use on a parcel. Currently, a parking lot must be attached to either a restaurant or other use. A public hearing on the proposed law will be held during the Oct. 10 village board meeting.

"I recognize the importance of this parking lot, not only to the Village of Sag Harbor, but also for the role it will play in allowing affordable housing to be developed," Mr. Potter said by phone on Friday morning. "It was always my intention to create a long-term solution for the operation of the lot."

Mayor Thomas Gardella said later on Friday morning that the village was still waiting for confirmation from National Grid, but he was optimistic that the agreement would go through. "It gives us another two months to work this out."

Mr. Potter said it was a done deal, and that National Grid was working it out with its legal department, but that he already had the agreement "in writing."

Since 2016, the village has leased the lot from KeySpan Energy, which does business as National Grid, and used it for parking. However, the lot has become like a child caught between two parents in a custody battle for the better half of the last year.

Both village and Mr. Potter submitted competing proposals to National Grid when the lot was offered up for bids on a long-term lease. Late last year, the Public Service Commission awarded the 99-year lease to Mr. Potter, prompting the village to petition the agency to nullify it.

However, the Public Service Commission refused, and in July it upheld its original decision, saying that the lease to Mr. Potter would begin after the summer season, on Sept. 16.

The village has requested a re-hearing on the decision, and that can still play out, despite Thursday's agreement.

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