Neighbors urge village to reel in oyster farm changes

11/26/2013 4:00 PM |
PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Michael Osinski, owner of Widow's Hole Oyster Company, responds to shouts from the crowd during a public hearing at the Greenport Village board meeting Monday night.

PAUL SQUIRE PHOTO | Michael Osinski, owner of Widow’s Hole Oyster Company, responds to shouts from the crowd during a public hearing at the Greenport Village board meeting Monday night.

A request by a Greenport oyster farm to move some of its operations to a different area of its property drew fire from neighbors during a nearly hour-long public hearing Monday night.

Those living closest to the farm said the business is ruining their quality of life with loud noises that violate zoning rules.

“The quiet and pristine tranquility of the creek feels shattered,” said Jenny Feder, who lives directly across from the Widow’s Hole Oyster Company on Fourth Street. “The whole business is way over the line, which they will continue to push unless we start to push back.”

Widow’s Hole Oyster Company owner Michael Osinski had filed a wetlands permit application to move some of his equipment to the bay side of his property on Flint Street, just south of the North Ferry.

He told Greenport Village Board members at their Monday night meeting that the application was designed to allow his business to expand while also moving the loudest equipment away from his neighbors.

“We don’t save a lot of money, but our entire intent here is to remove any annoyance that we’re causing to our neighbors,” Mr. Osinski said.

He added the family has spent three years trying to obtain the necessary permits.

“This has been an expensive venture,” he said. “We’ve already spent between $60,000 and $70,000 at this point.”

But while neighbors said they supported the idea of more oyster farmers in Greenport, they took issue with a part of the permit that they said appeared to show an expansion of the dock closest to their homes.

“The oyster industry is something that is near and dear to most people who grow up in Greenport … but I will [say], ‘Not in my backyard,’ “ said William Mills III, who lives directly behind the farm.

Mr. Osinksi, a former Greenport Village trustee, said the plans don’t expand the docks but offered to scrap that part of the application to appease his neighbors and smooth out the process.

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