Awaiting more info, Village Board delays decisions on wetlands permit and smoking ban

03/31/2011 12:09 AM |

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Trustee Michael Osinski leaves the Greenport Village Board after a four-year stint, having opted not to seek re-election this year. He has challenged others to get involved, attend meetings and consider running for office.

If meetings have a theme, Monday night’s Greenport Village Board meeting was about process — who’s following it and who’s not.

First up was an application from owner Paul Henry of Osprey Zoning Corp. for a wetlands permit to rebuild what his agent, John Costello of Costello Marine Contracting, called a “dangerous, dilapidated structure in Sterling Harbor.”

Neighbors along Sterling Street generally favor the rebuild, with some concerns about parking in the area. But John Mancini was concerned about how Mr. Henry, who apparently filed the application only six months ago, got in front of the Village Board so quickly.

It took Mr. Mancini about three years to win approval to rebuild his Sterling Street home after a fire destroyed it several years ago.

The answer appears to be that somehow, the application landed on the Village Board agenda without having received clearance from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which the board requires before it considers a wetlands application.
Mr. Costello asked for conditional approval that would kick in only if the Army Corps of Engineers OK’d the project.

What he got was a unanimous board vote to table the application until the Army Corps of Engineers has weighed in on the work.

Next up, Trustee Chris Kempner tried unsuccessfully to move a resolution for a hearing in April on her proposal to ban smoking within 30 feet of a children’s play area. Mayor David Nyce and Trustee Mary Bess Phillips insisted the issue was still before the code committee on which all three sit. They accused Ms. Kempner of trying to bypass the process requiring the full code committee to first share its thoughts with the Village Board.

Not so, Ms. Kempner told The Suffolk Times Tuesday morning. She said she introduced the idea to the code committee Jan. 19 and has been trying to push it forward at three subsequent committee meetings without success.

“So many things get stuck and don’t move,” she said. “It’s a little disingenuous to say that I jumped it.”

She called her resolution “a simple fix” and that the code committee has kicked the issue around long enough.

Ms. Phillips said she favors the ban, but wants to adhere to the process. The mayor has said he doesn’t favor trying to legislate behavior, but he thought it should eventually come to the public for discussion after code committee members make a recommendation.

The board agreed to hold off a hearing pending the code committee’s report.

“I would rather move slowly and correctly,” Mr. Nyce said.


Board members agree they want to regulate downtown parking during summer months. The village established two-hour limits along much of Front and Main streets and parking on other roads is limited to 30 minutes. But there are no street signs saying that.

Mr. Nyce appeared before the Southold Town Board Tuesday morning to ask that the town police post a traffic control officer in the village. He was told that would cost Greenport about $770 a week from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Mr. Nyce said he will ask his board next week to approve the expenditure, but admitted he doesn’t yet have parking meters purchased or installed and doesn’t know what the parking fee might be. Metering is a high priority item on the village’s capital improvement list, the mayor said. He also said he would like an officer to work through the Maritime Festival on the weekend of Sept. 23-25.

During Monday’s Village Board meeting, Business Improvement District president Mike Acebo applauded steps taken toward enforcing the time limits, which would free up additional parking. But he admitted that some merchants and their employees leave their vehicles on the street in front of their businesses. He also called for improved lighting in the Adams Street parking area and designated parking for business employees.

Existing lighting is in place, but many lights aren’t working, former trustee Bill Swiskey said.

What’s allowed in Mitchell Park and what isn’t? That’s another concern BID members have, Mr. Acebo said. Although proponents of a farmers market on Saturday morning in the park said BID endorsed the idea, some members clearly aren’t happy about what they view as use of the park for a retail operation, he said. He didn’t specifically point to the farmers market project, but Leueen Miller of the Greenport Business Association did. That will be the subject of a special meeting at the Third Street firehouse on Friday, April 8, at 6 p.m., when proponents and opponents will have an opportunity to make their views on the market plan known.

The village should develop specific criteria for the park’s use, Mr. Acebo said. Mr. Nyce responded that the code committee is considering that.

On hold is a request from Sts. Anargyroi and Taxiarhis Church to use the park for the congregation’s annual two-day festival, July 16 and 17. While organizers said they would bypass any activities to which the board objected, Ms. Phillips said she wants church members to submit a list so the board can approve or disapprove each one. Mr. Nyce said he would work with the organizers to develop a more specific event request.

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24 Comment

  • I for one would like to know why the Times didn’t mention the motion on the agenda to settle a lawsuit , that had no paperwork attached. Seems only the lawyer knew about the suit, since when asked about it the mayor said there was no suit until a report from the county clerks office was dropped on his desk that there was. I know reporters who would jump on this, Is the times agenda the truth or just being good budd.

  • Have a Budd!

  • I see, you would rather be sarcastic than care if the Village is being sued, and because of your dislike (justified or not) for wswiskey that makes it OK for the Mayor to either not know, or be less than honest about a pending lawsuit? Misinformation, lies, feigned ignorance, its all OK with you as long as you can razz wswiskey.

  • Yes, John, I do care. I also respect the Mayor and expect that this unique lack of communication will be worked out and handled in a proper manner without the empty heckling produced by Mr. Swiskey.

    What I do not care for are William Swiskey’s constant incoherent, research-free, inequitable, ill-mannered shouting snipes at everyone because they dare to disagree with him. His “telling like it is” can hardly be illuminating and serves as nothing more than a lame excuse for annoyingly bad manners. Any potential benefit he might possibly offer is made toxic by his overbearing behavior and misinformation. And finally, his Joe McCarthy-like behavior in this last election was a new low even for him.

    By the way, you committed one of Mr. Swiskey’s cardinal crimes-not providing your full name. Personally, it does not bother me one iota as to who you are.

    When Mr. Swiskey behaves in a democratic fashion as a serious contributing member of this community, he will earn my respect. Until then he gets the raspberries.

  • First, let me apologize for posting, and not submitting my full name, I am a frequent poster here and am used to my full name being published with my comments, I do not know why on this occasion it was not. Having said that, I have to respectfully disagree with you assessment of the interaction of wswiskey and the Village Board, while it is true Mr. Swiskey has a very challenging style of asking questions, the substance of his questions are valid. Your characterization of his questions as being incoherent, research free, ill mannered (well maybe ill mannered is fitting on occasion) are light years from being non-illuminating or untrue. His questions are based in fact, and are supported by Village records or public recollection. I can understand because of misguided loyalty, lack of first hand knowledge ( because of non attendance at VB meetings) blind trust in (at times) a self serving VB, and a biased press, your lack of understanding at the true issue here. You choose to dismiss the original question and make it about the questioner, which brings me back to my original question…do you really care or is it just about raspberries?

  • Sorry, It happened again, I’m trying to post my full name, but for some reason it will not transition from composing to publication, so in the interest of disclosure It is John Saladino. Again I apoligize to anyone this would be an issue to.

  • I appreciate your extensive reply and have admired many of your comments in the past.

    Mr. Swiskey in a recent letter claimed that Latham Farms pays $12,000 a month for their space during the summer months in Greenport Village. He provided no substantial evidence for this ludicrous statement and then used it to concoct an outrageous scheme of payment for the proposed Farmers’ Market.

    During the candidates’ forum, he made several claims regarding the village administration structure that were refuted by the chief administrator of the village, namely the mayor. Mr. Swiskey, as if an incoherent broken record, never discussed the details of this disagreement but just repeated his unfounded claims with greater volume again and again.

    Need I go on?

    I have seen this act performed endlessly when I attended Village Board meetings and even spoke about it from the podium with prepared notes. Need I remind you that if was necessary for the arrival of the police at one time to quiet Mr. Swiskey and bring order?

    I agree with your right to disagree but many of us feel that he has shouted “wolf” so often and so loud that we can no longer take him seriously. After all, he lost the last election to a relative newcomer by a significant wide margin. That should tell you something.

  • In order for either one of us to be taken seriously by the people who are unfamiliar with the dynamics between the VB and Bill Swiskey the very least we owe them are facts. Your assertion that Mr.Swiskey claimed that Lathem paid 12K a month rent is false, his claim was $500 a month (which is easily checked by just scrolling down to the story on this website). Your willingness to accept the “chief administrators” explanation about the number of managerial positions and pay structure is clearly disputed if you look at salary comparisons for manager-supervisors to labor in the proposed current budget. I do remember your speaking at a public meeting, and if I’m not mistaken you were told to stop because even by Mr. Swiskeys detractors on the VB, your comments were construed as a personal attack, and out of place at a VB meeting. Lastly, there was a open and admitted concerted effort by the VB and local newspaper to promote a candidate whose response to the majority of the questions asked was “I don’t know”. To answer your above question “what does that tell you” it tells me that the current board and newspaper is more interested in someone who will “cooperate” with them than perhaps what’s right for the majority of the Village.

  • Mr. Swiskey’s comment regarding the proposed Farmers’ Market reads. “I want a comperable (Sic) rent from each vendor. $500 x 24=$12,000 a month, I’ m sure Latham pays that much.” Part of Mr. Swiskey’s problems is that his writing lacks clarity, in my opinion also his thinking, so that to me the sum for Latham’s he is quoting is $12,000 per month. If for not this reason, why does he quote $12,000 and where else would this figure come from? Obviously he meant this to be the monthly rent paid by Latham’s. Other people also came to that same conclusion. I commented on this figure as being absurd and since Mr. Swiskey never responded to clarify the issue, I can only assume that this is exactly what he meant. We’ve never known him to be reluctant to say something, whatever it may be in all these years, so why not now?
    Mayor Nyce repeatedly explained the structure of administration positions in great detail. Remember, he ran unopposed and unlike Mr. Swiskey, did not have an ax to grind. I accept his explanation. You do not. There is nothing I can do about that. Speak to the mayor.
    Yes, there was a singular moment when Mayor Nyce asked me to be less dramatic in my comments regarding Mr. Swiskey and I immediately ceased and spoke in a more tempered tone extemporaneously. The impact was the same judging by the reactions of several people there. I reined my passion in when it was demonstrated to me to be inappropriate. I lapsed once. I did not go on so that it was necessary for the police to be called as has happened in the past with Mr., Swiskey’s unrelenting hysteria. Not so long ago, Mr. Swiskey was so outrageously belligerent, insulting and non-stop, that David Corwin, a Board Member, rose from the table and walked out rather than be exposed any longer to another outstanding Swiskey anger performance.
    Your last remark is ludicrous for two significant reasons. Firstly, I thought that everyone on the North Fork knew of my low professional estimation and frequent criticism of the Suffolk Times. I am not one of their boosters; this is based on my own journalistic career starting in 1957 on a small town daily. ‘Secondly, Julie Lane has been very considerate of Mr. Swiskey to the point that I sometimes thought to excess. For him to lash out at her by writing “I know reporters who would jump on this, Is the times (Sic) agenda the truth or just being good budd,” (Sic) reveals that he cannot penetrate beyond the thick carapace of his own indulgent ego. His actions demonstrate that he sees the world and everyone in it as black and white without the slightest nuance of gray.
    Your comment “the current board and newspaper is more interested in someone who will ‘cooperate’ with them”, might be interpreted as a signal that you also suffer from the same myopia. And how does a Board member cooperate with one of the local papers? Are you saying that Mr. Murray is a plant? The Village Board nor The Suffolk Times did not elect David Murray, Greenporters did. And, mind you, by a significant margin. I frequently disagree with The Suffolk Times but I think they made a wise choice in advocating Murray since another four years with William Swiskey on the Board would have meant more paralysis, more parliamentary storms, more wasted time and money and all to the detriment of Greenport and its citizens. Mr. Swiskey is a strident soloist who refuses to work as a team member. You may call him independent; I call him an isolationist.
    No doubt Mr. Swiskey will run for office many more times in the future. Seemingly he does not understand the word “No!” Already a pattern has been set with his margins of defeat growing. He is well on his way to becoming Greenport’s own Harold Stassen, a near forgotten footnote, no matter how loud and often he shouts “Wolf!” Ho-hum.

  • Mr. Edelson, it’s fairly obvious that you and I are probably not going to agree about the practice of politics in the Village of Greenport, (however I do think we might be close to a mutually shared opinion about the ST). So between equally opinionated neighbors and in the spirit of lively debate…How about those Mets.

  • John:
    I’m an old Bronx Boy.
    “You can take the boy out of the Bronx but not the Bronx out of the boy.”