Owner withdraws rental property proposal, pitches new plan

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | The property owner chose to withdraw his proposal to build a second home on this Fifth Avenue lot.

Shelter Island contractor James Olinkiewicz withdrew his controversial application to build a second rental house on property he owns on Fifth Avenue in Greenport Village, instead hoping to mend fences with neighbors before pitching a new formal plan in front of the Village of Greenport’s Zoning Board of Appeals.

Citing outcry from neighboring residents – many of whom showed up to Thursday night’s ZBA meeting – Mr. Olinkiewicz told members he’d prefer to discuss amending his proposal with the community, privately, before moving ahead.

“I want to find a more harmonious idea for the subdivision,” he said.

Mr. Olinkiewicz originally filed a site plan with the Village of Greenport to subdivide his property and build a two-story rental house with three bedrooms on each floor within a few hundred feet of an identical multi-family rental house he already owns on the property.

The proposed lot would have been about 6,500 square feet, short of the village’s minimum lot-size requirement of 7,500 square feet. Due to the small lot size, and other setback requirements, the application was seeking a total of five variances between the two parcels, which would have required ZBA approval before the Planning Board would have made a final decision on the application.

On Thursday, Mr. Olinkiewicz offered an alternative option, stating that he spoke with a few neighbors earlier in the day about his new plan.

Instead of the initial proposal, he said he’d change the application to covert the first rental on 221 Fifth Avenue to a one-family home and ask the ZBA to permit a second one-family home on the subdivision. Additionally, the deed of the home would be amended so he or future owners couldn’t permit more than one family to live in either structure, Mr. Olinkiewicz said.

Many other neighbors, who came to speak about the original plan and weren’t included Mr. Olinkiewicz’s earlier impromptu community discussion, seemed taken aback by the change.

However, without any officially application on the table, members decided to move on to the next public hearing.

“I would encourage everyone to keep informed with what the new application is,” Doug Moore, chairman of the ZBA said.

Mr. Olinkiewicz said he’d like to hold more private meetings with residents before submitting his new proposal to the ZBA. But, lifelong Fifth Avenue resident Michael Reed, who believes the rental properties have impacted the quality of life on the once quiet street, said it is too little too late.
“If he talked with us in the beginning it would have been amicable, but now there is a lot of hard feelings and I don’t think that will change,” he said after the meeting.

He hopes to have the new application prepared and formally accepted by the ZBA next month. If so, the revised proposal can go before public hearing in December.

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