When I was in high school, I used to pump gas and change oil for cars at the Harbor Heights Gas Station, a little shop off of 114 that is a pretty charming place. The building is old as all hell, it’s practically falling to the ground, the people that work there, in general, are all kind of loveably crazy, and for me, it was a great job on weekends.
I looked at it as a way to make some easy pocket change, and genuinely enjoyed working there and getting dirty. It amazed me how stupid people were when it came to their cars. I can’t tell you how many people (who are rich and successful by the way) would come up to me and seem completely dumbfounded at the concept of getting an oil change, a tire rotation, tire plug or a jump start.
Anyway, the reason I’m bringing all of this up (besides the fact that I’m trying to pretend I’m this macho dude who used to pump gas even though I sit in front of a desk for a living now) is that the owners of the station want to knock down the building. They want to tear it down, build a new, more modern building, increase the amount of gas pumps that are there, build a little shop that sells soda and coffee like any other normal gas station, and…well you know…make it better. Right now the only thing to eat there is a candy machine that you drop a quarter in and it delivers you a handful of M&M’s. Trust me, you want to think twice before you eat those M&M’s. They could be from the 1950s.
Of course, GOD FORBID OWNERS OF A LOCAL BUSINESS IN SAG HARBOR WANT TO UPGRADE THIER STORE FOR THE BETTER!!!! (Cue the loud conch call and Will Ferrell screaming, “Preservation Committee! ASSEMBLE!!!”
In no short order, a website was created and over 230 signatures were presented to the Sag Harbor Village Planning Board that reads, “We oppose the application of Petroleum Ventures/Harbor Heights for a gas station with many more pumps, a massive overhead canopy and a new, oversized convenience store. The Sag Harbor Village boards must strictly apply all present zoning codes to protect the village character and the residential neighborhood.”
Okay, I get it, you don’t want the character of Sag Harbor to change. I don’t think anybody with their heads on straight would want that, but you have got to let these guys upgrade their gas station so that it is profitable for them and so that it looks better. I don’t know what crazy eyes these people see this gas station through, but it’s an absolute mess down there, it always has been. That is charming in itself, but we should be welcoming businesses owners who want to invest and clean up where they do their business.
Am I in favor of making the building a huge structure with a giant neon sign? No of course not. Am I in favor of building a McDonald’s there? No. Am I in favor of knocking that building down and building something that is cleaner, better and fits in with the Village of Sag Harbor? Yes. Of course I am. I can’t imagine why anybody wouldn’t be.
Obviously, the owners of Harbor Heights can’t turn the place to a freaking circus over there, but increasing pumps? Building a new store? Seriously? You have a problem with that? Are you that jealous of others success?
I don’t get it.
These guys have a huge financial incentive to keep this building within Sag Harbor’s character and the Village Planning Board…THAT’S WHAT THEY DO.