Village Board Notes: Greenport sewer pipes will be smoke tested

Each of the sewer pipes in Greenport Village will be smoke tested this September to determine where repairs are needed.

The Village is undertaking the effort with the assistance of the New York Rural Water Association to make sure no leaks go unrepaired for an extended period of time, which they fear could lead to the release of contaminants in the air.

The street-by-street testing process, which will begin Sept. 18, involves opening manhole covers and blowing smoke into the pipes so that any leaks can be detected and repaired.

Village Board members said Monday night they want to schedule a special meeting to explain the project to residents and provide a specific timeline for when pipes on each street will be tested.

Neighbors awaiting action on a burned out structure at 620 Second St. won’t see any relief this month, but Mayor David Nyce said all the paperwork is in order and reconstruction is now being delayed only by final state approval of building plans. The village has issued a building permit for the work, he said.

That house and an adjacent house at 618 Second St. were heavily damaged in an August 2008 fire. The house at 618 Second St. was demolished and work on building a new structure there is expected to start in August, he said.

But neighbors have been complaining about the danger of the structure at 620 Second St., and they’ve lost patience with delays they say are hurting their quality of life and their own property values.

The mayor and Trustee David Murray met this month with North Fork Housing Alliance director Tanya Palmore, who promised she is doing everything in her power to expedite the process. If the village pushed forward to tear down the structure, the permitting process for a rebuild would have to start from scratch, Mr. Nyce said.

Mr. Nyce said he’ll meet with members of the Greenport Business Improvement District this week to enlist their support in addressing the problem of household garbage that often ends up on the street or in commercial dumpsters belonging to businesses.

Much of the refuse is left by weekenders or visitors who don’t have private garbage pickups or access to the Cutchogue transfer station.

It has always been a problem, but is becoming more pronounced, the mayor said. He was responding to comments about litter in Mitchell Park and at Fifth Street Beach and refuse overflowing village garbage cans provided for small items such as coffee cups and food wrappers.

“It’s time for the Village Board and BID to address it in some meaningful way,” he said.

Trustee Chris Kempner revived her complaints about the Village Board taking actions she said has resulted in hassling the operators of the Peconic Star and Peconic Star Express. The issue was initially raised when village attorney Joseph Prokop contacted Suffolk County officials to get their permission for the Peconic Star Express to run excursions between Greenport and Block Island. Mr. Prokop took the step because the railroad dock from which the boat sails is owned by the county, and the village must have permission to sublet it to any vendor.

County officials have no objection to the operation of the excursion boat from the railroad dock, but want a 90-day cancellation clause in the agreement. The village asked for a 365-day cancellation clause.

Ms. Kempner insisted that county officials with whom she spoke would be open to a longer notice period for cancellation, while

Mr. Prokop said county attorneys, with whom he is speaking, insist on 90 days. He suggested Ms. Kempner’s sources might be giving her a political answer to satisfy her interests.

“We want the boat to stay,” Mr. Nyce said. But by law, the village is obligated to include the county in any sublease it negotiates.

“I don’t know that we’re really advocating for the 365 days,” Ms. Kempner said.

The majority of the wastewater treatment plant’s main structure is completed and electrical work on the new plant is under way, Mr. Nyce said. He estimated that the system would be brought online by the end of November, at which time there would be a checklist of items to be smoothed out before the village could sign off on the project.

The road department is working on a schedule that will keep residents informed about when brush pickups and street cleaning would occur in their neighborhoods. Without public notice, residents have been leaving brush in the streets on days when the sweeper is going through, interfering with the crew’s ability to clean the streets, utilities director Jack Naylor said.

Anyone who’s tried to use the official Greenport Village website — including Village Board members — has been met with frustration. But village clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo said a new website is close to going live and those who have seen it are happy with the results.

It’s still unclear just when village residents will be able to access monthly calendars, an accurate list of Village Board members and agendas for various village meetings. But this is the first time Ms. Pirillo has expressed optimism that the site is nearing completion.

Neighbors on Washington Avenue have long complained about traffic speeding down the road and have requested that stop signs be placed at Washington and Booth Place to slow the speeders. The problem is that while the south side of Washington Avenue belongs to the village, the north side is regulated by Southold Town.

Rather than wait for the town to respond to the neighbors’ request, Mr. Nyce will ask board members at next Monday’s meeting to approve a stop sign on the village’s side of Washington Avenue and he hopes the town will eventually follow suit on the north side of the street.

The village is signing on to a North Fork Chamber of Commerce grant application for funds to replace street signs throughout Greenport and Southold. If the money is forthcoming, only signs in bad repair would be replaced, Mr. Nyce said.

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