Frank Purita won conditional Greenport Planning Board approval Thursday night to convert his Main Street D’Latte gelato and coffee shop into Sasuke, a sushi restaurant that will still offer the gelato, pastries and coffee, along with the expanded menu. He’s renting the adjacent space that has been occupied by Townsend Insurance for 40 years.
But before he can open Sasuke, Mr. Purita must obtain a certificate of occupancy, assuring adherence to the site plan the board approved. The approval is contingent on Mr. Purita’s adherence to village codes, including the noise ordinance that prohibits outdoor music that can be heard in adjacent premises such as the residential and commercial space owned by neighbors Sigrid Burton and Max Brennan.
Other stipulations include at least twice-a-week refuse pickups and securing of garbage between pickups so that it doesn’t result in odors or debris bothersome to neighbors.
Mr. Purita has also agreed to provide fencing around outdoor seating in front of the restaurant to assure that the sidewalk area isn’t blocked by tables and chairs.
“It’s our intention to comply with all provisions of the code,” Mr. Purita’s representative, former mayor Dave Kapell told the board.
As for the music that’s clearly present outside many village businesses, Planning Board chairwoman Lara McNeil advised Mr. Purita that he could apply for a variance.
“There is a mechanism for this to be allowed,” Ms. McNeil said. “I’d go for it. Then you don’t have to worry about a violation.”
In another matter, board members raised concerns about parking with the pending village code change to allow bed & breakfast owners to rent as many as five rooms, instead of three as is currently allowed.
Board members say any B&B owner applying for added rooms would need on-site parking for guests and space for their own vehicles.
That opened the discussion to a wider view of activities at B&Bs and noise in the village.
Ms. Burton suggested that controlling the activities of businesses who have or are applying for liquor licenses could be accomplished through the State Liquor Authority, which she said takes violations seriously.
“Nobody want to lose their liquor license,” she said.
Warning that the planners and Village Board members shouldn’t be too hasty in trying to crack down on noise, Michael Solomon said throughout Greenport’s history, “It has never been known as the land of no.” Music in downtown, he added, is “the vibrancy of this village.”
“Music is a hell of a lot better than sirens,” said Eileen Kapell, wife of the former mayor, noting that when they first moved to Greenport, police and fire sirens were the only sounds heard downtown.
Others living in the downtown area said they’re not objecting to some noise, but to sleep-disturbing music that goes on every weekend until 2 a.m.