Greenport residents upset over building plan to cut down woods

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06/07/2015 7:01 AM |
(Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

These Greenport residents oppose a plan to tear down the trees behind them for an electrical contracting building at Seventh and Corwin streets (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

A group of residents who live near the intersection of Seventh and Corwin streets in Greenport, where a building for electrical contracting is proposed for a wooded area along the railroad tracks, are rallying together in hopes of keeping their quiet neighborhood undisturbed.

Seventh Street resident Susan Smith described the land’s current Light Industrial zoning as “antiquated,” and she and the others believe the current plan for the 0.2-acre property will decrease the value of surrounding homes.

“Since there are no cars here, the kids all play ball and games,” she said during an interview last week near the proposed contractor’s yard, where she was joined by 13 neighbors, including children. “This will be a building on steroids. It’s very upsetting to us.”

Ms. Smith and about three dozen others have signed a petition opposing the proposal, she said, and the group is attempting to submit their comments to the town, along with appraisals and other supporting documentation they say show that their home values will plummet as a result of the new building. (For more information about the community effort, email [email protected].)

The owners of the disputed property, Fred and Donna Fragola of ADF Ventures in Medford, have submitted plans to build a 2,800-square-foot building on the property for use as office and storage space.

In addition to site plan approval from the town’s Planning Board, the company is seeking variances from the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

ZBA chairperson Leslie Weisman and the property owner’s attorney, William Kelly of Southold, each declined comment for this story.

The property owners did not return a phone call seeking comment.

The area isn’t strictly residential, however. On Corwin Street, next door to the proposed building site, is a warehouse for Lewis Marine Supply.

Ms. Smith described that building and its operators as “respectful” because, she said, only a couple of trucks drive down the street and they travel slowly through the neighborhood.

Rosemary Gabriel, who’s lived in her Seventh Street home for nearly 25 years, said she didn’t even know the wooded lot in her neighborhood was zoned for non-residential use.

“I always thought it was too small to be developed,” she said of the plot, which she called “our little corner of solitude” away from busy Main Road and the village business center.

Southold Town planning director Heather Lanza said that if the ZBA decides to grant the variances, which are needed for the project to move forward, the Planning Board would then complete the site plan review process.

In a March 24 letter from chairperson James Rich to Ms. Weisman, the Planning Board requested some changes to “minimize potential impacts to the residential uses surrounding the parcel.” Those changes included a 30-foot buffer along the eastern boundary of the property and an increase in the rear yard setback from 5.5 feet to 12 feet.

The letter also expressed concern about potential vehicle storage at the site.

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