Planning Board: Little response to proposed Greenport restaurant

White's Bait Shop in Greenport
SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | A restaurant is proposed for where White's Bait Shop now stands in Greenport.

The restaurant proposed for the former White’s Bait Shop just off Bootleg Alley on the Greenport waterfront drew only two comments — one pro and one con — during a recent public hearing before the Planning Board.

Residents Wayne and Patricia Baylis of Fifth Street sent an e-mail supporting applicant Richard Webley’s plan to open what he calls a “dockside eatery.” But restaurateur Perry Angelson, who owns Harbourfront Deli and The Loft on Front Street, appeared in person to tell the board he doubted the viability of a new restaurant in the village. He also expressed concern about possible litter problems and how the restaurant would impact tenants in apartments he owns that are entered from on Bootleg Alley.

“Since Ralph’s Ices has been there, Bootleg Alley has been a disaster,” Mr. Angelson said. People litter, he said, leaving it to Mr. Angelson and his tenants to clean up.

Mr. Webley, who is proposing seating for 36 people inside and outside the shop, said staff will ensure that littering by sit-down patrons is prevented. Takeout food sold to boaters, he added, will be served in baskets, with real silverware. Patrons would pay a deposit to be refunded when they return the empty baskets and cutlery.

Mr. Webley plans to open in early May and close in late October or November. And while his business plan doesn’t currently provide for it, Mr. Webley said he was open to exploring operating during winter months, serving hot soups and a limited menu.
Planning Board members said they want to encourage more businesses that will operate year-round, rather than seasonally.
“I think the last thing this village needs is another restaurant,” Mr. Angelson said. He warned Mr. Webley that it was very difficult to operate profitably year-round in Greenport.

The board will continue discussion of the application for site plan and conditional use approval at a Feb. 24 work session and could vote on it in early March.

As expected, the Planning Board rejected the site plan for Mr. Robert’s convenience store on the northwest corner of Front and Third streets because it calls for a canopy over the gasoline pumps and signage that doesn’t meet village code. Owner Ali Sahin plans to apply for zoning variances. If he gets them, he’ll find himself back at the Planning Board for site plan approval.

Layyah convenience store at Front and Fourth streets got Planning Board approval for the business operation on the first floor only. It will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week — something the board cannot limit despite community objections. If the owners decide to make use of the second floor, however, they will have to submit a new application to the planners. And if the owners want to sell beer — another concern expressed by neighbors — they would need approval from the State Liquor Authority.

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