Three-story hotel building proposed for Front Street in Greenport

11/02/2015 6:00 AM |

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An empty lot at the corner of Front and Third streets could be transformed into a three-story hotel, complete with stores and a restaurant, under a proposal now before the Greenport Village Planning Board. 

But even the applicant admitted that a lot of things would have to happen before the plan could be approved.

Dan Pennessi, an attorney for contractor SAKD Holdings LLC of New Rochelle, described the project to the Planning Board Thursday. The lot, adjacent to the Greenport movie theater, is currently vacant and fenced off.

Last Thursday, the Planning Board held what’s known as a pre-submission work session on the proposal, one of the earliest stages of the application process.

“What we are proposing is at grade [level], retail and restaurant use, and then two floors above having eight hotel rooms for each floor, for a total of 16 hotel rooms,” Mr. Pennessi said.

The proposal would include 12 parking spaces to the south, he added.

Planning Board chairman Devin McMahon pointed out that a number of zoning variances would be needed for the project to move forward. Under current village zoning, for instance, 36 parking spaces would be required.

“We should acknowledge that this would likely be denied by us initially and would then go to the Zoning Board of Appeals,” Mr. McMahon told the applicant.

Under state law, the ZBA can grant variances from code requirements on things like parking. Because of the project’s potential impact on the environment, Mr. McMahon said, the application will probably also be subject to a public hearing and receive input from the Village Board.

“This is the first stop, but there will be a number of other agencies involved,” he said.

“We would be open to discussing a payment in lieu [of meeting parking requirements] if that’s an option that the Planning Board would entertain,” Mr. Pennessi said.

The applicant prefers to keep the proposed uses and size of the project in order to make it economically viable, he said.

Mr. McMahon said he’s seen two or three previous proposals for this lot in which parking was also an issue. In order to meet the current zoning requirement, he said, the entire lot would need to be parking.

Planning Board member Peter Jauquet said he doesn’t see a way to address the parking issue.

“You can’t put it in any other position on that site,” he said. “You’d take away so much from the rest of the building that it wouldn’t be viable.”

Planning Board member Bradley Burns said while questions remain on the project, he’d welcome its addition to Greenport.

“I just hope that, together, we can pull this off,” he said.

Another issue the project will face is traffic. Trustee Pat Mundus said that, because of the size of the property, most cars would have to back out into the street.

The area also becomes congested when the North Ferry unloads cars, and traffic can often back up to the traffic light at Third Street, Mr. McMahon said.

Mr. Pennessi said the applicant expects a long review process.

“We know this is the first step in a very long process,” he said. “This is a very important piece of the downtown, so we look forward to the input. Where we can, we will certainly accommodate the comments. We did make every effort to be responsive to the initial comments we received.”

Mr. McMahon told Mr. Pennessi to expect many members of the community to voice their opinions on the project.

“Be prepared for that,” he said.

The land is owned by Mayland Shannon LLC, which acquired it in 2009 for $675,000. This site is 0.21 acres, or about 8,400 square feet, and is located in the village’s Waterfront Commercial district, where a hotel is a conditional use. That means the Planning Board can approve it with certain conditions that must be met.

Photo Caption: The proposed location for the hotel at Front and Third streets. (Credit: Tim Gannon)

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