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Suffolk hands over windmill to Sag Harbor


It won't go down in history as a real estate bargain to rival the sale of Manhattan to the Dutch, but last week Suffolk County officials turned over a windmill and an adjoining small sandy beach to the village of Sag Harbor for one dollar, then agreed to waive the fee.

The property -- one-third of an acre standing next to Long Wharf and the Bay Street Theatre in the heart of the village -- is not a beach for swimming, but does offer a view across Sag Harbor Cove to North Haven, and a vantage from which to take in the sight of the multimillion dollar oceangoing yachts tied up at Long Wharf.

The village used the windmill as a tourist kiosk, and its badly weathered wooden blades have been taken down until they can be repaired or replaced.

"It's not actually a historic structure. It was built 40 or 50 years ago to look like one," said Suffolk Legis. Jay Schneiderman (R-Sag Harbor), who negotiated the property transfer to the village.

Meanwhile, the village and the county continue to negotiate over the future ownership of Long Wharf itself, a property owned by Suffolk County but managed by the village. Schneiderman said he expects the sale to the village to be concluded by the end of the year.

Standing on rusty bulkheading, Long Wharf is the only wharf owned by Suffolk County, which wants to give ownership to the village. But Sag Harbor officials are worried about the impact of maintenance and repair costs; major renovations must be done every few years and costs can reach several hundred thousand dollars.

Originally built as a railroad spur, Long Wharf is technically a county road -- CR 81, the shortest road in the county system. The Long Island Rail Road abandoned its Sag Harbor branch in 1940, and the .15-mile road was built over the right of way in 1949.

Long Wharf is a popular spot for fundraising events, and rental fees -- including rent for docking -- vary greatly from year to year. This year, county officials expect it to bring in $50,000 to $60,000.

Long Wharf is also the terminal for an experimental summer ferry service to Greenport which was started this year.