Save Sag Harbor™ was started as a community-based effort to keep Sag Harbor from becoming overrun by big chain stores, and to make sure that family-and locally-owned businesses can continue to thrive here.  We want to protect the sustainability of Sag Harbor's many small stores and the social, cultural, and environmental aesthetics of the Village. Their proprietors are our friends and neighbors, and if they are pressured to close their doors, the character, and in fact the "brandable"  nature of our village, will change irrevocably. This realization has evolved into the larger goal of maintaining the scale and

quality of life in and around the village in both commercial and residential terms.  Save Sag Harbor's first public meeting was held on July 15th, 2007.


This website made possible with the generous support and assistance of  HamptonsWebDesign.com , 631-725-5251

Blair Seagram   SAG HARBOR FROM THE BRIDGE,  2007

savesagharbor.com website creation and design  © Save Sag Harbor Inc., 2013, All Rights Reserved

Love the 5 & Dime and all the great stores here?

Main Street can't remain intact without your purchasing power!

Please think twice before going to a big box store.

Your safe and secure Paypal donation  will help us pay for legal consultation, communications, PR, mailings, and public meeting spaces. We appreciate your support!

Don't forget those most in need!  See our new "service" page for details.

To see other ways to get involved in our community, go to “act locally”.
Now more than ever, volunteers are appreciated!

For a look at our work in the recent past, please see our DEVELOPMENTS page.

Should you wish to send a check, please send to:

Save Sag Harbor

P. O. Box 775

Sag Harbor, NY  11963

To the Zoning Board of Appeals

August 13th 2014


Dear Zoning Board of Appeals,


When the Main Street Commercial district Zoning code was being updated in 2007-2009, Save Sag Harbor Inc.  threw its full weight behind the revamping of the code. While we appreciate the fact  that we have a wonderful, vibrant Main Street which is a mecca for the tourists who greatly support our economy, this cannot be at the expense of the area residents and local workers who rely on the services Main Street brings to our day-to-day living.  We were and we remain vigilant to prevent our Main Street from becoming like other villages in our area--overrun with chain stores and empty at night.  

Our mission states:   “Save Sag Harbor™ was started as a community-based effort to keep Sag Harbor from becoming overrun by big chain stores, and to make sure that family-and locally-owned businesses can continue to thrive here.  We want to protect the sustainability of Sag Harbor's many small stores and the social, cultural, and environmental aesthetics of the Village.”


Another essential aspect in revamping the code in 2007 was the concern that the whole street might one day be filled with real estate agencies. To this end, we want to bring to your attention the section of the code regarding intent, which follows at the end of this letter.

If the ZBA now permits the current number of real estate offices to be increased, it will be in opposition to this intent and set a precedent to allow exactly what we all--Village Government, residents, and Save Sag Harbor, Inc.--fought so hard to prevent in the first place.


Please  consider what it would mean to grant the landlord of the Sag Harbor Express building the right to rent to yet another real estate agency. We respectfully ask that the applicant find a more suitable tenant to take its place in order to help protect the sustainability of Sag Harbor's many small stores and the social, cultural, and environmental aesthetics of the Village.”


Save Sag Harbor is staunchly committed to dynamically shaping the Main Street where we all want to live, work and shop.  We ask that the ZBA and the owner of the Express building  join us in this endeavor!   


Respectfully submitted,

Mia Grosjean for Board of Save Sag Harbor, Inc.

(read the full letter on our Developments page)


Please become a supporting member of Save Sag Harbor stand with us in dedication to protecting the character, scale and quality of life of our unique village.

There are currently many critical developments in the village,

some in the works and some just on the horizon. 

Save Sag Harbor is the only organization committed to upholding our hard-won zoning code and preserving our small stores and historic streetscapes.

We urgently need your support to continue our mission!

Please help us by becoming an active member of Save Sag Harbor today. THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

Your safe and secure Paypal donation  will help us pay for legal consultations, communications, PR, mailings, and public meeting spaces. We appreciate your support!

With so many changes and so much building going on in the Village, we’re acutely aware of the need to step up our activities, and we urge you to join us in writing to your local officials and the Sag Harbor Express with your concerns as things materialize. You may write the Village Boards to express your concerns at clerk@sagharborny.gov    SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE INFORMATION.

To the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review

August 14, 2014

The Board of Save Sag Harbor, Inc. is becoming increasingly alarmed at the number and frequency of historic houses being demolished in the Village over the past two years. The Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review is THE advocate for the preservation of these important Village houses. It is certainly not the Board’s role to  make it easier -- or less expensive -- for the builders or owners to tear down and reconstruct these historic houses.  Indeed, we applaud Chairperson Cee Brown’s comments to an applicant at a recent Board meeting, essentially advocating this very same opinion.

The trend we have witnessed is for the owners of houses in the historic district - or their representatives - to seek permission to restore/remodel the structure.  At a later date, the representative returns to the ARB and requests much more substantial removal of original building material, or worse yet, complete demolition.  It is our opinion that the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review is the Village’s front-line in the preservation of historic structures.  Any request to substantially change or remove historic material and structures should require the highest degree of  professional scrutiny, and the members of the Board should seek and be well guided by professional advice.

To that end we strongly encourage strict adherence to several sections of our Village Code:

Section 130-2:

A. “The Village board reviewing a given application and/or other or similar matter may, in review of any application which may come before it, refer such application presented to it to an engineer, environmental expert, planner or other professional consultant such as the reviewing board shall deem reasonably necessary to enable it to review such application as required by law...”

B. “...The applicant shall reimburse the Village for the cost of such professional consultant review services…”

Section 300-13.2

A. “...Whenever reasonably able to do so, the Board of Trustees shall seek to include within the membership of of this Board [the ARB] an architect familiar with local historic buildings and structures…”

H. “The Board of Trustees may designate a licensed architect to advise and take part in the deliberations (but without a vote) of the Board. The Board of Trustees may authorize other professional consultants, secretaries, clerks or such other personnel as may be necessary to assist the Board in carrying out its duties and powers. The Board of Trustees shall fix the compensation thereof and pay other expenses of the Board.”

It is important to note that by engaging a professional architect, engineer, or historical preservationist, the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review is the actual client of the professional, and the Village would be reimbursed for the associated cost by the applicant.  If the professional were hired directly by the applicant it would be questionable whether the Board could trust his or her opinion to be unbiased as the professional’s fiduciary responsibility is to its client.  

Preserving historic houses in Sag Harbor is an important and vital trust given to your Board. We fully understand the complexity of such a trust and urge you now, at what seems like a critical development juncture in our unique Village, to engage professional consultants as you are fully entitled to do under the Code.


The Board of Save Sag Harbor

To the Planning Board

RE:  Harbor Heights/Petroleum Ventures

August 21, 2014

Dear Mr. Ferraris and Board Members:

As you will recall, Save Sag Harbor was highly critical of the initial plans, submitted three years ago, to renovate the Harbor Heights gas station.  Our concern then centered on the fact that multiple variances from the Village Code were being sought and that the character and integrity of the neighborhood and the Village were threatened.  While we are pleased that the present plan for the Harbor Heights renovation largely conforms to Village Code, the Zoning Board of Appeals must review this plan to confirm that the specifications of its February 18, 2014 determination are met.  Indeed, it is our opinion that at least one variance is required for this plan and it is not yet being sought.

In the February determination, the ZBA noted: the “existing foundations and wood framed exterior walls of the structure are to remain. . . .”  ; and  that  the proposed convenience store, for which a variance was granted, would be “within the existing structure. . . .”  However, the applicant now proposes to remove this pre-existing, non-conforming building entirely, and build a completely new structure, with new foundation, walls and roof.  Removal of a pre-existing, non-conforming structure eliminates any legal rights to that non-conforming status.  If a new non-conforming structure is to be built, it will require a variance issued by the ZBA, and achieved by due process.   For purposes of precedent in the Village, we feel that it is important that proper procedures are followed and the public is allowed to offer comments accordingly.

Given our concerns, we respectfully request that the Planning Board refer this application to the Zoning Board of Appeals for comprehensive review and that proper variances are sought.


Board of Directors, Save Sag Harbor

To the Village Board of Trustees

August 21, 2014

Save Sag Harbor strongly endorses the initiative of Assistant Village Attorney Denise Schoen and Village Attorney Fred Thiele for a proposed wetlands development moratorium.

We agree that the Code needs to be revamped and that the Village’s wetlands need village- wide mapping, as well as greater oversight and protection. A moratorium will provide the time needed to study the issues and create a Code that addresses Sag Harbor’s expanding development pressures as they encroach on our precious wetlands and waterfront.

We hope this effort will have the full support of the Village Trustees.


The Board of Save Sag Harbor

To the Village Board of Trustees

November 3, 2014

To the Village Board of Trustees,

Save Sag Harbor is concerned that the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) requirement to increase elevations for buildings in flood zones will result in building applications coming in with heights well beyond the 35 foot Village limit when measured from the ground level.

We commend the Village of Southampton for recently imposing a moratorium on building construction in flood zones, and we feel this is a timely initiative for the Sag Harbor Village government to pursue.

The Southampton Village Board has hired the environmental planning firm of Nelson, Pope & Voorhis to conduct an in-depth study of FEMA’s requirements in flood zones so they can determine how they affect new construction and how to adjust Village laws in response. The moratorium will stay in effect until this study is finished. This seems like a very sensible step, much like the Sag Harbor Village wetlands moratorium currently in place.

We urge our Village Board to impose a building moratorium on new construction in flood zones similar to Southampton’s, and to consider hiring our own village planner so that the outsized scale of new construction does not forever destroy the historic character of our Village streetscapes.


The Board of Save Sag Harbor

We have also signed on to the South Fork Groundwater Task Force recently, and hope you will investigate the good work they are doing on our behalf and with the participation of other community groups.


Sag Harbor Village Is At Risk!

An unprecedented and damaging flood of development this past year has included the demolition of historic homes and structures, the destruction of historic details and materials, the relocation  of existing homes and the construction of over-sized additions and over-sized new houses.  Neighbors have been divided against each other in a struggle to maintain Village character and quality of life.  These changes pose an alarming and immediate threat to the historic integrity of Sag Harbor Village, which is listed as a district in The National Register of Historic Places.

We must control development now!

Business as usual is not working.  Village officials must lead and find solutions.  They should immediately consider more effective code enforcement,  protective residential zoning changes, stringent fines and penalties for violations, and the employment of a historic consultant and village planner.

We are deeply concerned by the visible deterioration and piecemeal ruin of our historic village.  We respectfully and forcefully urge Mayor Brian Gilbride, the Village Board of Trustees, the Village Planning Board, the Board of Appeals (ZBA), and the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review (ARB) to cooperate in a vigorous effort to judiciously interpret and strictly enforce the Village Code they were sworn to uphold:

Village Code Section 300- 1.3 - Declaration of Purpose (O)

“To ensure that the distinctive and historical character of the Historic District of the Village shall not be injuriously affected, that the value to the Village of these structures having architectural and historical worth shall not be impaired, and that said Historic District shall be maintained and preserved to promote its use for the education, pleasure and welfare of the citizens of the Village and others.”

(1). We urge an end to the granting of variances for houses which are excessively large and  are incongruous in character to existing houses in our historic neighborhoods.

Village Code Section 300-12.5C

“In granting an area variance, the Board of Appeals (ZBA) shall grant the minimum variance that it shall deem necessary and adequate and at the same time preserve and protect the character of the neighborhood and the health and safety and welfare of the community.”

(2). We urge an end to ARB approvals that allow for over-sized construction and additions that are out of context in scale and placement with the neighboring environment.

Village Code Section 300-13.2 (I)

“The Board is charged with the duty of maintaining the desirable character of the Village and of disapproving the construction, reconstruction and alteration of buildings, structures or signs that are designed without consideration of the harmonious relation of the new or altered building or structure to such buildings or structures as already exist and the environs in which they are set.”

(3) We suggest that  the Board of Appeals (ZBA) before deciding applications  be required to formally communicate with and be guided by the ARB comments, so that variances fulfill ARB requirements  as to the appropriateness of applications within the Historic District.

Village Code Section 300-13.2 (K. 3)

“In addition to the foregoing duties, the (ARB) shall have the power to: Cooperate with and advise the Village Board of Trustees, the Planning Board and other municipal agencies in   matters involving historic and/or architectural sites and buildings.”

The stewardship of Sag Harbor Village is a sacred trust to preserve the historic endowment of previous generations.  In upholding that trust, our elected officials must stringently require that appointed board members have A).  no conflicts of interest,  and B).  are well-trained to make informed interpretations which protect Village character and do not promote individual interests.  We must increase these protections NOW so that Sag Harbor as we know it does not vanish.  Only by immediate forceful action can Village officials earn the full support and gratitude of our community, owners and visitors alike.

Future generations will inherit a Village built on the choices and decisions we make today.

Let’s not fail them! Please sign our petition!


The Save Sag Harbor Board

Tom Clavin, Randy Croxton, Myrna Davis, Lorraine Dusky, Marcy Finkelstein, Geraldine Gottesman, Mia Grosjean, Joy Lewis, Hilary Loomis, Bob Weinstein and Jayne Young and Save Sag Harbor Members



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