Front Street hotel, restaurant proposal moves forward

12/06/2016 9:10 PM |

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A 16-room hotel and 60-seat restaurant proposed for the southeast corner of Front and Third streets in Greenport has cleared a critical hurdle. 

The Greenport Village Zoning Board of Appeals approved a series of variances on the proposal during a special meeting Tuesday, allowing the project to move ahead for site plan review before the Planning Board.

“The applicant has made many modifications to deal with zoning issues,” said ZBA member Dinni Gordon.

Of the six variances approved at Tuesday’s special meeting only one was met with objections from the board, though the project was allowed to move forward with just 10 off-street parking spaces rather than the 30 required under the village code by a 3-2 vote. ZBA chairman John Saladino and member David Corwin voted against it, while Ms. Gordon and fellow members Ellen Neff and Arthur Tasker voted in favor.

“This seems to me something the market can take care of with valet parking in the busy months or with fewer customers who arrive by car,” Ms. Gordon said of the parking issue.

Mr. Tasker, a recent appointee to the board, said that as a member of the public attending Village meetings he was against the parking variance, but said he’s seen other proposals for that parcel come and go over parking and he doesn’t want the lot to remain in its current state.

“The fact of the matter is the Village of Greenport has a parking problem and its been imposed on this parcel of land,” Mr. Tasker said.

In explaining his vote against that particular variance, Mr. Saladino said he felt allowing the plan to move ahead with only a third of the required parking was too much. The handful of residents in attendance appeared to agree.

“You turn down a two-foot variance on a fence and you vote for this?” said Greenport resident Bill Swiskey. “Hey folks, this is silly.”

The special meeting was called after the Planning Board failed to take action on a proposal by applicant Daniel Pennessi, president of SAKD Holdings, to make a payment to the village for the lack of parking spaces rather than seek the variance.

The other variances, which were all approved unanimously Tuesday, included a request to allow a third story on the building, for lot coverage 1.6 percent over the code limit, and building height variances to allow for an air conditioning unit, elevator bulkhead and a trellis above the 35-foot maximum allowed under the code.

The restaurant would be on the ground level of the proposed building and the rooms would be located on a second and third level.

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