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Front Street hotel’s fate likely to be determined next week

03/31/2017 12:00 PM |

The fate of a proposed three-story, 16-room hotel and restaurant on the southeast corner of Third Street and Front Street could be decided at the Greenport Village Planning Board meeting April 6.

The application has been in the planning stages since the fall of 2015 and Planning Board members said at their work session Thursday that, barring the unexpected, they expect to render a verdict at the 4 p.m. regular meeting.

One thing that could change that is a section of state law that village attorney Joe Prokop is researching. That law would allow the village to require a payment in lieu of parking with that money being used for parks and recreation.

Parking has been the biggest concern with the project.

In December, the applicant — SAKD LLC, which is headed by Dan Pennessi — received a number of zoning variances from the village Zoning Board of Appeals, including one allowing for 10 parking spaces instead of the 30 required in the Village Code.

Owners of several adjacent businesses have expressed concern at prior meetings that the hotel and restaurant customers will end up parking in their parking lots, because there isn’t enough room on the hotel property, which has about 2/10 of an acre.

Mr. Pennessi said they’ve shrunk the proposed building by about 1,000 square feet in response to resident concerns, and he said a traffic study done for the project indicates that it will have little impact on traffic and parking.

The project has some backers.

Chatty Allen, who lives across the street from the proposed hotel site, said she was originally opposed but now supports the project. She said Mr. Pennessi has responded to resident concerns in scaling back the project.

Ian Wile of Little Creek Oysters said that years ago, Greenport wisely opted not to require each business to have its own parking.

“It would have been impossible to have any growth if every place had to have their own parking,” he said.

And ZBA member Arthur Tasker, who voted in support of the parking variance given to the hotel project, said many other projects are approved without requiring them to have parking of their own.

“You’re holding their feet to the fire in an unfair manner,” he said. “Don’t hold this property hostage.”

Planning Board member John Cotugno added: “I love this project but it’s too intense for the site. It’s not going to work.”

Planning Board chairman Devin McMahon said he has yet to make up his mind.

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