Village Board Notes: Fireboat to relocate despite heavy opposition

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Fire Fighter is moving to the railroad dock.

Despite objections from residents and two board members, the decommissioned New York City fireboat Fire Fighter is moving from Mitchell Park Marina to the railroad dock.

During its regular meeting Monday, Greenport Village Board members approved the mooring of the historic boat at the Suffolk County owned dock, which Village law reserves for commercial fisherman.

The motion passed by a 3-2 margin with Trustees David Murray and Mary Bess Phillips in opposition.

The contract between the village and the Fireboat Fire Fighter Museum to dock the vessel at Mitchell Park Marina expired earlier this month. Since its arrival in Greenport in February, the plan has been to ultimately move Fire Fighter to a permanent berth at the railroad dock near the East End Seaport Museum.

The relocation of the 134-foot ship, now a nonprofit floating museum, is pending a determination by Suffolk County on whether it can dock at the railroad pier. The county leases the railroad dock to the village for a token fee of $1 per year, according to Mayor David Nyce. In exchange, Greenport maintains the dock. The county, however, is the final authority on who can use the dock — which is intended exclusively for commercial fishermen — and it has the right to refuse any sublease agreement the village enters into regarding the railroad dock, the mayor said.

Greenport resident John Saladino disagreed with the mayor’s statements on the lease.

“No where in the lease agreement with the County is it required for the village to get County approval for a vessel to dock at the railroad dock,” he said in a statement after the meeting.” The first page of the lease clearly disputes Mr. Nyce’s contention the dock is to be used exclusively for commercial fishing boats.”

Housing Fire Fighter at the railroad dock has drawn outrage from fisherman who said the move conflicts with the Village’s law to support and maintain a working waterfront. Many have called the overall condition of the boat into questioning.

“I want to state up front that I am in support of any village project that offers residents something new and unique that attracts visitors from outside the village,” said Stephen Clarke, owner and operator of the Greenport Yacht & Shipbuilding Company. “I want to draw the board’s attention to things that might have been overlooked. It is not an inspected boat. The most routine maintenance has not been done on this boat in more than 10 years.”

After a previous meeting, Mayor Nyce said though the boat had not been hauled out, it was inspected last fall.

Although the now-expired contract had protected the village previously, the resolution passed on the condition that a $1 million insurance policy is taken out by its owner to protect the village from liability.

Board permits alcohol consumption on public property 

Board members Monday approved a permit allowing The Long Island Power Squadron to serve alcohol on public property at Mitchell Park Marina for an event running from July 25 through July 28 at Mitchell Park Marina.

Board members are currently reworking the regulation to formally allow the consumption of alcohol on public property during all special events, according to Mr. Nyce. If passed the amendment to the Mass Public Assembly Permit would authorize private organizations to serve alcohol at Mitchell Park.

The intent is to allow guests of the marina to use the park as a reception area, the mayor said.  The amendment would still prohibit the sale of alcohol and would restrict the events to an enclosed area, he said.

All of the events are subject to the approval of the Village Board regardless of its passage.

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Sterling Street parking ban passes.

Sterling Street parking ban passes

Motorists looking to park on the waterfront side of Sterling Street will have to find an alternative spot.

Residents remained split on the issue for months, but board members ultimately decided the additional parking was a source of safety concerns and adopted the law prohibiting parking on a portion of the eastern side of Sterling Street.

The ban stretches about 50 feet and eliminates two to three parking spaces.

Mayor to Mexico

Mayor Nyce is headed to Mexico.

Board members approved a resolution permitting Mayor Nyce to attend the Hagedorn Foundation and Witness for Peace program in Mexico City, Mexico from July 13 through July 21.

The Port Washington-based Hagedorn Foundation supports social equality and champions immigration reform; while Witness for Peace works towards peace, justice and sustainable economies in the Americas by changing U.S. policies, according to its website.

Mr. Nyce was said he was invited to represent Greenport because of the village’s diverse Latino population.

“The idea is to tie the history of immigration here to what’s currently going on in regards to [nationwide immigration],” he said.

The Witness for Peace program will compensate the majority of the travel costs, Mr. Nyce said.

The village will provide $200 for the mayor’s transportation to and from John F. Kennedy International Airport in Brooklyn.

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