Greenport Village Board members are expected to establish some rules about who can use Mitchell Park for group events and whether or not the village can charge them.
Trustee Mary Bess Phillips told board members at their work session Monday night that she was placing a resolution on next Monday’s meeting agenda calling for a committee to be created to recommend what kind of park-based activities should be sanctioned and what fee structure should be established.
Her request grew from complaints from merchants after the board gave the Long Island Wine Council (LIWC) permission to use the park on June 27 for a food and wine tasting event priced at $40 a person.
Ms. Phillips asked that a LIWC representative appear at the May 24 meeting to report on the steps it has taken to comply with requirements the board imposed when it granted the group a mass assembly permit last month. They included cleaning up the site after the event and paying any costs the village might incur in connection with the setup, operation and cleanup.
Greenport Business Association members reportedly grumbled to Ms. Phillips and Mayor David Nyce, asking why the village had failed to impose a fee on the wine council for using the park.
Village attorney Joseph Prokop has explained that there’s no policy establishing the right to charge a fee for park use, although the village’s agreement with the council provides for the village to recoup any expenses it incurs as a result of the event.
Past practice has generally allowed the park to be used for public events where an admission fee is not charged, such as Shakespeare in the Park productions. Private wedding ceremonies have been allowed, but requests to hold receptions in the park have been refused.
The Trawler Fest and other events have been allowed to use sections of the park on weekends under the reasoning that they bring boats to the Mitchell Park Marina and their patrons frequent local restaurants and stores.
Ms. Phillips said that while she understands local merchants’ concerns, she was disappointed that they had failed to show up at the April meeting when the Village Board approved the mass assembly permit, despite her advising them to do so.
In an effort to revitalize a plan to encourage energy conservation, utilities director Jack Naylor is asking board members to allow him and his staff to develop a proposal. The village previously considered asking the New York Power Authority to allow a one-tenth of one cent surcharge on electric bills, to be used to build a rebate program similar to one operated by the Long Island Power Authority. NYPA liked the idea, but the village took no action until now. Over a five-year period, the goal would be to develop a fund to provide money for LED street lighting, replace fossil-fueled village vehicles with electric vehicles and develop rebate programs for using energy efficient appliances or renewable energy systems.
CLIFFSIDE STILL AT BAY
Mr. Prokop and a representative of Cameron Engineering have been authorized to meet with Southold attorney Patricia Moore and the engineer for the Cliffside condo project on Route 48 to try to work out difficulties with the sewer pump station at the site. Before the village will accept assignment of the pump station from the condo builders, it has to pass muster with its engineers. Ms. Moore and Mr. Prokop are at odds about a letter from Cameron Engineering. She believes that the letter approves transfer of the pump station to village management; Mr. Prokop disagrees.
Ms. Moore requested a meeting with the Village Board, which Mr. Nyce rejected.
“Putting political pressure on the situation doesn’t necessarily change the facts,” Mr. Nyce said. But he agreed to sit in on the meeting with the attorneys and the engineers if that would help resolve the situation, he said.
Residents will get a chance to weigh in on two proposed code issues at Monday night’s meeting.
The first deals with a proposal to create a Bay to Sound Integrated Trails project that would run from Mitchell Park to Long Island Sound through Moore’s Woods and along Silver Lake.
The second would prohibit basement apartments in village houses.