When the Sag Harbor college district announced plans in September to acquire 5 lots adjacent to Pierson Middle/Higher College to construct an athletic field, proponents of the acquisition referred to as it a as soon as-in-a-lifetime chance.

To obtain the home, the district sought a exclusive partnership with Southampton Town, which beneath the proposal would allocate $six million from the Neighborhood Preservation Fund — home transfer tax income the town makes use of for land acquisition — toward the acquire.

The partnership, nonetheless, ran into numerous roadblocks — a mixture of miscommunication, environmental issues and differing visions — eventually top the district to bail on the collaboration. 

“Right now, I consider the deal is dead,” mentioned Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, noticed right here in 2022. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

“Right now, I consider the deal is dead,” Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman mentioned March 24.

The town board not too long ago determined it could not approve Neighborhood Preservation Fund money until additional environmental evaluation was completed — a timeline that did not match the district’s target to have a selection in time for the May possibly college spending budget, when it hoped to present voters a bond to cover expenses for the athletic field.

“They do not want to take any possibilities that they may possibly drop this home,” Schneiderman mentioned. “I consider they recognize obtaining the town as companion also creates a quantity of circumstances that could hamper the school’s capability to do what ever it desires with the home in the future.”

The district now will ask voters to approve a $six million bond in May possibly toward the acquisition of 5 lots along Marsden Street. The bond only would consist of funds for acquiring the land and not developing an athletic field. The district hopes to decide subsequent measures by reengaging neighborhood input.

A spokesperson for the college district said Sag Harbor Superintendent Jeff Nichols was unavailable for an interview.

Right here are 5 takeaways from the failed partnership.

A field hockey match in Sag Harbor on Oct. eight, 2013. The Sag Harbor College District has touted the proposal to get Credit: George A. Faella lots adjacent to Pierson Middle/Higher School as a uncommon chance to construct a field close to the college. Students now stroll about a mile to fields at Mashashimuet Park.

Critical home

Students at Pierson presently use athletic fields at the privately owned Mashashimuet Park, which is about a mile from the college developing. Students routinely stroll from the college to the fields or travel to neighboring hamlets to use other facilities.

The Sag Harbor College District will seek to acquire wooded lots close to Pierson Middle/Higher College in Sag Harbor devoid of help from Southampton Town. The acquire would not consist of funds for an athletic field.  Credit: Sag Harbor Union Absolutely free College Dis/H2M Architects + Engineers

The district had mentioned the new field would supply its teams higher flexibility in scheduling practices and games.

The district held a vote in November to access revenue from an current capital reserve fund as an initial step toward the acquisition. Voters authorized the proposition by a vote of 638-521.

Divided neighborhood

The town board held a public hearing Feb. 28, and critics argued the project would have unfavorable environmental impacts and was an unjustified use of the Neighborhood Preservation Fund. The town board adjourned the hearing till March 14, when an overflow crowd of college supporters urged the town to back the proposal.

Schneiderman mentioned the town would need to have to conduct a evaluation beneath the State Environmental High quality Evaluation Act just before Neighborhood Preservation Fund revenue could be authorized. He mentioned the town has no purpose now to pursue the environmental evaluation because it will not be involved in the acquire.

“We’re in a holding pattern,” he mentioned. “There’s going to be no action from the town.” 

Parents fight for field

Daniel Marsili of Sag Harbor, who has fourth-grade twins, has been a single of the vocal supporters of the acquisition and proposed athletic field.

He mentioned neighbors and civic groups have utilized a “whac-a-mole” approach to raise concern just after concern.

“What they definitely do not want is a field close to their properties,” he mentioned. “That’s classic NIMBYism.”

Marsili mentioned he believes the college and town each share blame for the partnership falling by way of, although adding that an athletic field is “badly required.”

“The parents and operating households of this village are organizing,” he mentioned. “They are actually disenfranchised. Individuals who are forgotten develop a movement. I consider there’s a movement afoot, and I consider people may possibly underestimate that.”


Schneiderman mentioned he believes there was some unintentional miscommunication through the method.

In the town board’s view, he mentioned, they initially imagined a “smaller-scale improvement.” 

“At least from my viewpoint, we realized it was really substantially driven by the wants of the college for higher athletic facilities, and it wasn’t definitely an equal partnership that way,” he mentioned.

Devoid of the town as a companion, the district could “have a lot far more flexibility,” the supervisor added.

The town, for instance, persuaded the district to get rid of a turf field and stadium lights from its original proposal. 

Marsili mentioned he was hopeful the bond would pass and added the neighborhood has a history of supporting bond votes.

What’s subsequent

Sag Harbor voters will make a decision May possibly 16 no matter whether to approve a $six million bond through the regular spending budget vote. The total price for the land acquisition is estimated at $9.425 million, according to the resolution. The district currently has $three.425 million on hand in a capital reserve fund.

If voters approve the bond, the district will then commence a neighborhood engagement method to decide how the home could be utilized.

Schneiderman mentioned if the bond fails, it is feasible the district could attempt to reengage the town on a partnership.

Joe Werkmeister covers the towns of Southampton, East Hampton and Shelter Island. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University and previously worked as the editor of two North Fork neighborhood newspapers.

By Editor

Leave a Reply