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Public hearing set for proposed three-story Front Street hotel

01/21/2016 11:44 AM |

Greenport Village ZBA

Greenport Village residents will have an opportunity to weigh in next month on a three-story hotel being proposed for Front and Third streets. 

The village Zoning Board of Appeals voted Wednesday to accept an appeal for variances on the project and to set a public hearing for Feb. 17 at the Little Red Schoolhouse on Front Street. The ZBA has also scheduled a site visit for the property prior to the hearing.

In order to move forward, the project would need six variances from the ZBA, including lot coverage and setback allowances, approval for fewer parking spots and even for an increase in the allowable height of the proposed building. The application calls for 12 parking spaces where code requires 36; the proposed construction calls for 6 percent more lot coverage than allowed by code, as well as a 6-foot setback variance; and the height of the building goes beyond the two stories allowed by code.

“It’s a really ambitions application,” said ZBA member John Saladino.

ZBA members said they anticipate certain changes to the application before the public hearing is held.

There was some discussion about who would assume lead agency status for the environmental review — the ZBA or the Village Planning Board. The idea of hosting a joint session with the Planning Board to discuss the environmental impact of the project was also mentioned.

The public hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

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Greenport Zoning Board of Appeals chairman Doug Moore was noticeably absent from Wednesday’s meeting, as the Village Board of Trustees continues to discuss whether or not any board members should be allowed to videoconference into a meeting they can’t physically attend.

Mr. Moore had previously indicated that he would be spending the winter months elsewhere, making him unavailable to attend meetings. Board member Ellen Neff served as chair in his absence Wednesday.

The Village Board is expected to make a decision on videoconferencing at its Thursday, Jan. 28 meeting.

Ms. Neff said a board member who connects to a meeting through Skype or other videoconferencing tools could participate in discussions and “offer their expertise,” but not vote on resolutions. Fellow board member John Saladino, who will serve as interim chairman moving forward, said he thinks it “only helps” to allow people to use videoconferencing to participate in discussions at one meeting when they may have to vote on the issue the next time around.

Complicating things further for the ZBA’s Feb. 17 meeting will be the absence of board member Dinni Gordon, who along with Mr. Moore will be unable to attend. That means any resolution voted on at that meeting will need unanimous approval from the board’s three members expected to be in attendance that evening.

There was some discussion about moving the meeting back, but the board ultimately approved keeping the meeting on the calendar for Feb. 17.

Caption: Greenport Village Zoning Appeals members David Corwin, John Saladino and Ellen Neff at Wednesday’s meeting.

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