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.



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   


On April 14, 2015, Save Sag Harbor presented to the Village Board of Trustees our 7-Step Call-to-Action to STOP OVERDEVELOPMENT NOW!  (See Sag Harbor Express centerfold ad below.)  

Randy Croxton, a SSH board member and president of Croxton Collabortive Architects, read the recommendations aloud to the Village Board and into the public record.   

Almost 1,000 people signed our online petition, with 76% being area residents who live in or use Sag Harbor as their Market Village.  More than 320 signers also added their impassioned comments. 

Adding even more impact to our presentation, and just prior to Mr. Croxton’s reading, Main Street resident Carol Olejnik, well known for her tomato stand on Main Street, pleaded with Mayor Gilbride and the Trustees to take action regarding construction on her neighbor’s property.  Carol’s dispute could be the "poster child" for the problems addressed in our petition against over-development, including re-siting of houses, tearing them down, and rebuilding and enlarging them.  (Continued below.) 


Here is a summary of SAVE SAG HARBOR’s 7-Step Call-to-Action:  

  1. 1)The Village Board of Trustees should adopt a resolution unequivocally stating its commitment to protecting the established historic character of the Village. 

  1. 2)The Village should hire a qualified Historic Preservation Consultant / Village Historian to advise the Village boards, and all Village boards should receive ongoing training in historic preservation.

  1. 3)The Village should intensify code enforcement and impose new maximum penalties and significant fines to deter non-compliance.


  1. 4)The Village should request a study of intact, uncompromised houses and properties to establish formulas for permitted gross floor area (GFA), setbacks, pool setbacks, and pyramid and lot coverage restrictions. 

  1. 5)The Village should amend the zoning codes to strictly regulate the moving, re-siting and elevation of houses and the wholesale elimination and replacement of historic exteriors. 

  1. 6)The Village should require that all applications for new construction or additions submit comparative elevations showing the proposed project in relation to neighboring properties; and that neighboring properties be notified when applications are in front of the ARB as is now done for the ZBA. 

  1. 7)The Village should enact a clear, transparent process to ensure communication among all Village boards regarding all building applications and variance requests.  

We have implored the Village Board of Trustees to acknowledge that TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE.  We must act NOW so that Sag Harbor — as we know it — does not vanish!  

The Board of Save Sag Harbor: 

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



December 15, 2016

Dear Kathryn,

Sag Harbor’s architectural integrity, history and charm are defining characteristics of the village and the foundation of our vibrant economy. It is what draws people to our community, whether for a day’s visit, or for a lifetime.

The designation of Sag Harbor’s Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places by the Federal Government states that it is “worthy of preservation”; an exemplar of American culture, our history, and our emergence as a nation. The hard endeavor and sacrifice of many generations has been handed down to us in the very buildings, public spaces, churches, homes, streetscapes and vistas that make up this unique Village on the Harbor.

These qualities underpin an inherent long-term value both for us and, importantly, for future generations. While we benefit from this heritage, we also have an obligation to guide growth, and to advocate for the preservation of that which is essential to the quality of this place.  

On behalf of our members and over 1,000 petitioners concerned about over-development and the loss of historic fabric, Save Sag Harbor has worked with our Village Officials to embrace and enforce historic preservation by writing letters, publishing ads, speaking out publicly at Village Board meetings and meeting with our elected officials. 

Our Mayor and Board of Trustees have acted decisively, and have pledged to increase and strengthen the residential zoning code and historic preservation laws that protect our Village and keep it so special.

The recently enacted Residential Building Moratorium is intended to give the Board of Trustees time to consider code changes that will strengthen the review process, bolster preservation protections and manage scale in all Village neighborhoods. We applaud these very prudent steps.

A small group of residents has suggested that Sag Harbor Village officials and Save Sag Harbor have worked together improperly and in bad faith. These characterizations are false. Public policies evolve in response to lawful and effective political activism, which is in the finest tradition of American democracy and is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution of The United States.

Please join us in supporting the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees to stand strong and continue their important work of protecting Sag Harbor’s historic heritage, resources, and quality of life.

Randolph Croxton 

For the Board of Save Sag Harbor

Dear Save Sag Harbor Members:

There will be an important public meeting on Wednesday, January 27th 

to review proposed code revisions and add community input. 

These code revisions will address the proposed gross square floor area formula, 

the mandate of the Board of Historical Preservation and Architectural

Review, Village workforce housing, and swimming pool placement.

It is urgent that the Village Trustees see a show of support 

for these carefully-conceived revisions. 

Please attend the meeting at the Sag Harbor Firehouse, 

1357 Brick Kiln Road, Sag Harbor, 6:00 pm


Sample letter to copy and paste:

Dear Mayor Schroeder, Village Board of Trustees, and Mr. Thiele,

Regarding the important meeting on January 27th, I'm writing to enter into the record my support for the excellent work you've done in safeguarding the village against overdevelopment and overbuilding. I acknowledge that this has been stressful for both homeowners and yourselves. 

I thank you for the good work you're doing in amending the residential zoning code by establishing GFA boundaries, looking into affordable housing, clarifying the role of the Board of Preservation and Architectural Review, and finalizing the village's Wetlands Code. 

Yours sincerely,

[your name and address]



If you'd prefer to send a letter, the address is 55 Main Street, Sag Harbor, NY, 11963

You can also email your statement to info@savesagharbor.com and we will arrange to have it read.


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., 2016, 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)

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.



We will not share your

personal information

Letters to the Editor: 11/12/15

In Support of Moratorium

Dear Kathryn [Sag Harbor Express]:

As the regional advocate for historic preservation on Long Island, the Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) wishes to submit comment regarding the temporary moratorium on building permit approvals for new construction of one family detached dwellings and improvement of existing one family detached dwellings.

The post-recession building boom on the East End of Long Island has been an encouraging sign that the economy is once again strong and our communities are growing. However, in an iconic village like Sag Harbor where the historic architecture and urban fabric is a primary factor in its tourism-based economy, managing growth is key. The roughly square mile village features a local, state, and national historic district incorporating nearly the total area. Such an immensely historic community, so broadly recognized for its architecture and port, requires historic preservation to be incorporated into every planning discussion, lest the village lose its vital significance. This temporary moratorium is an appropriate and necessary first step to improve Sag Harbor’s review and approval process for building alteration and new construction within the historic district.

Village boards, such as the Board of Historic Preservation and Architectural Review (ARB), Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and Planning Board are meant to work together managing village growth appropriately and provide expert advice to the Village Trustees when necessary. In the months leading up to the moratorium, community members called attention to the lack of communication between these various appointed boards, which subsequently affect the ability to realize good urban planning. Inappropriate zoning variances disrupt the historic character of the village, and approved applications for drastic alterations to historic buildings will destroy the integrity of contributing properties within the district.

Sag Harbor is a Certified Local Government (CLG), a nationwide initiative that directly links a community’s preservation goals to state and federal preservation programs. This program enables Sag Harbor to apply for State funding to: hire a consultant to assist the ARB in determining appropriateness of building alterations; develop a village preservation plan; and provide training for board members. During this building moratorium any or all of these ideas could and should be implemented in order to improve the Village’s preservation initiatives.

The Society is pleased to see the efforts the Village Trustees have taken to ensure that Sag Harbor remains a vibrant and beautiful community. This temporary moratorium allows the residents and municipality to reassess what is and is not working for the community and implement appropriate changes. SPLIA hopes the Village will use the six month period as a time to take on this challenge of addressing and mitigating the short comings that have developed during the recent development boom in order to preserve the unique character of Sag Harbor.

Jason Crowley

Preservation Director

Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities