Greenport Village Board closes public hearing on rental law

CARRIE MILLER PHOTO | Greenport landlord Robert Jarosak spoke out against the proposed rental law Monday.

Critics of Greenport’s proposed rental regulation law for residential properties continued to speak out against the proposal at a second public hearing on the issue Monday night.

During the course of the hour-long meeting, local landlords repeatedly called the plan racist and unnecessarily restrictive.

“The way that this is written is discriminating against Latinos,” said Robert Jarosak, owner of the Ludlum Place development in Greenport.

Ludlum Place is home to 16 rental units Mr. Jarosak said he has typically leased to Latino families during his seven years as the property owner.

“I can tell you as far as the Latino population, sometimes the family consists of three close-knit couples,” he said. “So if I lease to six people in a three bedroom apartment now I am a criminal.

Under the draft law a family is defined as two or more persons related by blood and up to five persons not related by blood occupying a dwelling and living together as a traditional family.

“You will pay for this dearly, whether it be a civil rights case or bad press or attorney’s fees,” Mr. Jarosak said.

Village officials say the code would help eliminate illegal apartments, which lead to excessive traffic, parking problems, a strain on municipal services and general public health and safety concerns, but critics say the way the law penalizes landlords is excessive.

Mr. Jarosak said he is selling the Ludlum Place property to an unnamed Riverhead development company due to the village’s overbearing restrictions.

“I can either start a lawsuit or walk away, I’m walking away,” Mr. Jarosak said. “I don’t even need to be here tonight. I’m doing it for the next guy or for me, God forbid it doesn’t sell.”

Another Greenport landlord, James Olinkiewicz of Shelter Island, said he favored strengthening criteria for rental housing to prevent overcrowding and unsafe living conditions, but said that the provisions in the draft law are extreme. He suggested the board meet with members of the housing community to create a safe and fair law.

The board closed the hearing with plans to discuss the proposal at its next work session.

[email protected]