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Jun 16, 2014 2:26 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

Sagaponack Village Gets An Earful On Saturday Construction Noise

Jun 16, 2014 2:56 PM

If public sentiment rules the day in local politics, Sagaponack Village is likely on its way to becoming the second South Fork village to turn down the volume on construction work on weekends.

Three dozen Sagaponack residents, most of them part-time second-home owners, on Saturday morning implored the village’s five elected officials to bar construction entirely on weekends between Memorial Day and Labor Day. With Sundays already off limits for construction work, they asked for an additional 12 to 14 days, depending on the calendar, of peace and quiet a year.

Four years into an explosion of development throughout the tiny seaside village, many shared tales of grumbling diesel truck engines waking them at 6:30 a.m. on the first morning of their precious and fleeting free time, and of the roar of a construction site making backyards all but unusable for much of the day.

“The trucks line up at 6:40 to start work at 7 a.m.,” said Keri Findley, whose family has a house on Erica’s Lane. “It’s just gotten kind of silly—to not be able to bring your kids out here and have the kind of quiet lifestyle we’re used to.”

The sentiment that discomfort caused to homeowners seemed to far outweigh whatever inconvenience would be caused to the trade business was nearly unanimous among the residents. When another homeowner, Nina Whitman, recalled having neighbors begin construction on a new house and that she pleaded with them to instruct the crews not to work on Saturday, a request that was immediately honored, the audience burst into applause.

“The proposed imposition is reasonable,” said Joost Schiereck. “It’s 11 days a year. Most sites shut down around 4 p.m. so there is a lot of unused time during the week.”

Sagaponack currently allows construction work between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. on weekdays, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and not at all on Sunday. The Saturday restrictions, Mayor Donald Louchheim pointed out to residents, are already the most stringent in the region except for tiny West Hampton Dunes Village, which allows only indoor commercial work on Saturdays.

Village officials have not proposed actual legislation regarding any changes to the construction schedule, and they offered no opinions of their own about the idea on Saturday. However, they acknowledged on Saturday morning that the meeting had been called with an eye toward banning both commercial construction—homeowners would still be allowed to do their own work unfettered—and the use of heavy equipment for landscaping or other property work on Saturdays. Mayor Donald Louchheim said that in addition to voices at Saturday’s meeting, the village has received 53 letters, the overwhelming majority of which supported the construction ban.

Builder Michael Davis, a Sagaponack resident and also its most prolific developer, said that the drive to work on Saturdays is fed by the demands of those who would soon be among Sagaponack’s residents.

“I stand here wearing both hats: I’m sympathetic to those who hear the noise and to the builders who are trying to get their work done,” he said. “Owners want their houses completed within a year so Saturdays are really, really important. It’s key to the workers, it’s key to the employers and it’s key to the owners.”

Mr. Davis suggested that, at the very least, restrictions similar to those in West Hampton Dunes would be more appropriate so that indoor tradesmen like painters and electricians could still work on Saturdays.

He also nodded to the substantial portion of the village’s budget that construction fees contribute—about 60 percent, Mayor Louchheim acknowledged.

“Are you suggesting that if we had a ban on Saturdays there would be fewer building permits?” the mayor mused. “I doubt we’ll kill it. We were told our zoning would kill it.”

One landscaping company owner, noting that his heavier vehicles and equipment would potentially be caught in the prohibition too, pointed out that his industry was highly weather dependent and that Saturday work was an important fallback when hit with unexpected delays.

The village’s first mayor, Bill Tillotsen, said that he is frequently the target of noise complaints from neighbors when he goes to work at the crack of morning’s twilight—4 a.m. in early summer—tilling his farm fields. He said he was in favor of the construction limitation, all the same, as long as it would not be a bridge that others would use to call for controls on the sort of industry and activities that made Sagaponack such a sought-after place in which to build homes.

Another developer and real estate broker, Alan Schnurman, said that it was the blue-collar construction workers whom the Saturday prohibition would hurt the most, robbing them of billable hours over the course of the week.

But resident Michael Weisberg graphed the mathematics of that supposition differently.

“If it takes 1,000 man hours to build a house, if we restrict Saturday work they’re still going to be employed for 1,000 man hours, just over a slightly longer period of time,” he said. “And talk of the recession, it’s hard to hear that without a smirk. It’s a tremendous bull market for builders here right now.”

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So these part time residents don't care if the full time residents have peace and quiet the rest of the year? Boy, that takes the cake.
By bubby (236), southampton on Jun 16, 14 4:04 PM
3 members liked this comment
I recall some advice from a fellow member of our "upper class". Mr. Munger should be informed that some in our society have moved in with relatives, and taken jobs at half the pay, and sometimes less than that of their former job or career. Take some advice from your "peer".

"Suck it up, and cope."

~ Charlie Munger, Berskshire Hathaway
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 16, 14 7:01 PM
You make a good point. A bit gauche these out-of-towners. Lets table the matter until October...LOL. But seriously, construction should be banned at the beaches on weekends throughout the town. Or at least noise making work like sawing and hammering and so forth.
By V.Tomanoku (788), southampton on Jun 16, 14 9:39 PM
Phishing scam.
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 16, 14 11:26 PM
Nor did they care when their houses were built. This country is becoming the rich or the poor. Keep beating on the worker of this country, and the rich will see an awful results. Disgusting that we want to stop the honest worker, but bankers that rob our 401k's run free.
By chief1 (2788), southampton on Jun 16, 14 4:59 PM
3 members liked this comment
You know what's really "silly"?

The people complaining are quite responsible for, and do nothing to stop the increased cost of living their existence creates. Quietly they reap from the Fed printing press, suckle at the teat of government subsidized corporate profit, reap Wall St. bailout provided earnings, and apparently protest not that the system is ******. You've CREATED the need for people to work these Saturdays simply by the way you live. They can't afford to live otherwise. ...more
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 16, 14 5:06 PM
2 members liked this comment
This is just a bunch of noise from the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do crowd. Let the Hulkster ref a single elimination cage match and the last remaining second homeowner gets their way.
By Phil McCracken (10), Southampton on Jun 16, 14 5:11 PM
im sure weisburg has never swung a hammer in his life. As was stated most of the work is weather dependant. I wonder if these builders are paying the illegals time and a half on saturdays???
By politcal pawn (120), Flanders on Jun 16, 14 6:46 PM
more class envy and border line anti Capitalist claptrap from Mr Z, do you really believe your own malarkey?
By bigfresh (4593), north sea on Jun 16, 14 8:11 PM
If you knew your history, it's not "malarkey". I dare you to read Gordon Wood's Oxford History, and tell me what I believe isn't what this country was founded to be.

You do realize it was the first generation of American citizens who coined the phrase: "Get Forward". Nah, you probably never learned that.

The one thing that early, original American Citizens held most dear was their equality. They denounced vehemently a miniscule sect of the population holding a massive amount ...more
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 16, 14 9:09 PM
I guarantee these same people wanted the workers there 24/7 everyday when THEIR house was being built.
By bubby (236), southampton on Jun 16, 14 8:52 PM
1 member liked this comment



Fiddle Fiddle Fiddle
By Nero (297), Sag Harbor on Jun 16, 14 9:08 PM
1 member liked this comment
We all have equal opportunity , there is no guarantee of equal outcome, some use their opportunity wisely, some squander it, some work harder than others. Our system is not one size fits all .
as to the article, I feel that forcing work to stop on Sunday is quite enough.
By bigfresh (4593), north sea on Jun 17, 14 6:07 AM
Wrong as usual. You should really try to keep up. Study after repeated study conclusively demonstrates that all do not have such opportunity. Not every child receives proper prenatal care, and overall childhood nutrition. Many "poor" children are exposed to far more environmental hazards and/or toxic chemicals which can stymie mental development. Economic mobility in the U.S. is lower than in the majority of Europe, and far lower than in Scandinavian countries. The last 30 years has seen the ...more
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 17, 14 8:32 AM
1 member liked this comment


By PBR (4952), Southampton on Jun 17, 14 8:56 AM
1 member liked this comment
Speaking of mothers, any chance you could all keep this OFF-TOPIC discussion confined to the breastfeeding article?

The time required for the page there to reload might be a good thing . . .

Thank you.
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Jun 17, 14 9:40 AM
"Sufficient" is not "equal". If you desire adequate, instead of operational excellence, load up on the useless distraction and pointless fineries to your heart's content. Satisfactory is not enough in today's world, and that's all sufficient is. For some people, five hundred bucks a week is "sufficient". For some others, not so much...

I'm out.
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jun 17, 14 5:10 PM
The only ones against the ban are the ones who want their houses finished for next summer! afterwards they'll be all to quick to hop on the band wagon. Hypo racy at its best.

All the whiners had a chance to build their houses and all of a sudden they become agitated when a neighbor tries to do the same.

A leaf blower ban is what they should be arguing over...but that's another story.
By Harbor Master (113), Sag Harbor on Jun 17, 14 7:06 AM
As commented in the other article, what the Village needs is a comprehensive Noise Ordinance to cover construction, landscaping (incl. leaf blowers), social events, etc.. Days, hours and noise levels could be set now.

"Be careful what you wish for," however, may apply to the homeowners complaining now, as the hours and volume for party noise may get lowered also?

"Oh no, Mr. Bill, not my PARTY!"
By PBR (4952), Southampton on Jun 17, 14 8:05 AM
That's what lefties do. It's ok when it's their house but then complain when it's not. Typical NIMBY attitude of a self-righteous left wing American. "Go America", no wait, but not today, it's Saturday.
By whatapity (106), Tuckahoe on Jun 18, 14 6:35 AM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island