It all came down to parking. Or, more precisely, a lack thereof.
The Greenport Village Zoning Board of Appeals held a public hearing Wednesday to discuss an application for a new three-story hotel, which includes an 80-seat restaurant and 715 square foot retail store, proposed for the corner of Front and Third streets.
The main point of contention during the meeting was about parking requirements for the hotel. Village code states it needs to include 36 parking spaces. The developer, SAKD Holdings LLC of New Rochelle, has requested a variance for 12 parking spaces.
Some Greenport residents expressed concerns about the hotel having less parking spaces than bedrooms (the hotel plans to include 16 rooms). Residents said they also feared drivers will fight over parking spaces in the town’s parking lot, causing more traffic in the area.
“The drawings are gorgeous and any other place it would be perfect, but not on that tiny lot,” Greenport resident Chatty Allen said. “To me, this is the most unsafe thing to put on that corner.”
One of Ms. Allen’s biggest concerns was that delivery trucks wouldn’t be able to access the building. Another concern of hers was the amount of variances being asked for, as the developer is seeking for eight variances. 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, among other variance requests.
Architect Tom Pedrazzi said building’s first floor, as currently planned, will have a lobby, retail space and restaurant, including 70-indoor seating and 10 outdoor seats. The second and third floors will each contain eight bedrooms.
Additionally, there will be a single elevator, two egress stairwells, a trellis at the entryway and a deck with a fire pit on the roof restricted to hotel guests only.
Many attendees agreed that the plans were “beautiful,” but felt the parking was too big a problem to ignore.
“I do agree with the attractiveness of the building and the positive affect the business might have on the economy,” resident Arthur Tasker said. “The compound affect of parking and traffic and conflict with the rest of the uses that carry on in that area is going to be overwhelming to that area.”
He said that the current traffic in that area combined with the inability to park on the east side of Third Street and in front of the building on Front Street will make it difficult for people to stop quickly and unload their bags or get dropped off to visit the restaurant.
Jillian Hughes, who lives on Third Street across from where the hotel is proposed, stressed there’s limited parking in the village and said she already can’t find parking near her apartment.
Other residents, however, described the project as beneficial despite its need for multiple variances and one person suggested turning the first floor into a parking garage.
“I lived here for 20 years,” Greenport resident Mike Osinski said, “and that corner has been an eyesore for 20 year.”
He suggested having restaurant goers park down the street, as well as establishing a valet service as way to accommodate guests.
The ZBA will continue the public hearing at its March 16 meeting.
Photo: Greenport Village Zoning Board of Appeals member David Corwin at a public hearing to discuss a proposed hotel. (Credit: Nicole Smith)