The principals of Greenport’s new Layyah convenience store appear to be close to an agreement with neighbors on the store’s operation, but it will be at least late August or early September before the store can expect a certificate of occupancy to operate legally.
That isn’t deterring store operator Imran Khan, who leases the property from owners Dr. Fehim Uyanik and his wife, Amy. Mr. Khan is continuing to operate the store on the southeast corner of Front and Fourth streets between 6 a.m. and midnight.
The Uyaniks and Mr. Khan have already received two violation notices from the village and are likely to receive additional notices, according to village administrator David Abatelli.
Whether anyone will ultimately have to pay fines for the ongoing violations could be up to village attorney Joseph Prokop and the courts, Mr. Abatelli said.
“It’s an administrative problem,” he said.
The Uyaniks’ attorney, Michael Solomon, told Planning Board members last Thursday that he’s not conceding their claim that Planning Board approval of the store’s operation, received in the fall of 2009, is void. But village attorney Joseph Prokop insisted the decision was void because the village hadn’t yet gotten approval from Suffolk County planners. County planners have since rendered an opinion that the store is acceptable to them, leaving it to the village to make the final decision.
After the fall approval, the issue was reopened when one more parking space than approved was added to the store’s lot.
Planning Board member and neighbor Jeanne Cadden seemed to agree with Mr. Solomon that a fence could be erected between her property and the store. The height of that fence would go from six feet at the eastern end to 30 inches at the western end, to avoid impeding drivers’ view of traffic as they exit the lot onto Fourth Street. Ms. Cadden also said she intended to plant large bushes that would afford her privacy. Still at issue is how to ensure that stormwater runoff from the store’s parking lot won’t collect on Ms. Cadden’s property. That’s necessary by village code, Ms. Cadden reminded board members. She’s still asking that plans to operate the store 24 hours a day, seven days a week be limited, but it may fall to neighbors to try to elicit such an agreement from Mr. Khan
“I don’t want to judge what he’ll do,” Mr. Solomon said. Nothing in Mr. Khan’s lease with the Uyaniks mentions hours of operation, since no one knew it would be an issue, the attorney said.
In making their final decision, Planning Board members agreed to review and consider comments about the store’s operation made to the Village Board in June.
Congregation Tifereth Israel board president Dr. Micah Kaplan asked that the Hampton Jitney, which turns down Fourth Street to access its lot, be encouraged to use another route to prevent potential accidents at the corner, especially on Friday nights and Saturday mornings when the synagogue holds regular services. He was urged to write to Hampton Jitney owners to make that request.
Another issue still pending with congregation members is Mr. Khan’s plan to seek a permit from the State Liquor Authority to sell beer. The SLA prohibits the sale of beer or other alcoholic products within 200 feet of a religious institution. The synagogue is diagonally across from the store on Fourth Street. Dr. Kaplan had previously expressed concern about vandalism of gardens on its property if the store does operate 24-7.
In other Planning Board actions, members:
* Asked former mayor Dave Kapell to speak with his client, Ali Sahin, owner of Mr. Robert’s convenience store on the northwest corner of Front and Third streets, to scale back the size of a proposed canopy over the gas pumps outside the store. Mr. Sahin was on vacation and the former mayor said he would consult with his client.
* Told White’s Bait Shop owner Cheryl Inzerillo to file a conditional use application that would also allow her to sell T-shirts and other non-fishing related items.
* Approved applications for Scott Kirk, as agent for two new restaurant operations, to proceed with his plans. The former Fifth Season restaurant at 45 Front St. will open as the Farmhouse Restaurant, under the same management that ran the Fifth Season. The former Bay and Main at 300 Main St. will open as the Crab House. Planners warned Mr. Kirk that they didn’t want a repeat of problems they had under the previous managers, including loud music playing late into the night and patrons leaving the bar with beer bottles that ended up broken in the streets. Mr. Kirk promised to be a good neighbor and agreed to return to the board three months after the Crab House opens for a review of its operations.