Tour boat hopeful says Greenport choosing money over local business

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Bruce Garritano said the board is choosing money over local business in its comments about his proposed tour boat operation.

Greenport businessman Bruce Garritano says he believes the village is choosing private yachts over local businesses.

Last week, the former restaurateur, motel operator and electric scooter rental shop owner Bruce Garritano pitched, for a second time, for the Village Board to grant him permission to dock a tour and party boat in Mitchell Park Marina.

When Mr. Garritano first proposed the idea in 2012, the board agreed to rent him space at the marina for $10,000 a season. But since then the marina has undergone a $400,000 upgrade, in an attempt to lure in mega yachts.

Deputy Mayor George Hubbard said that while Mr. Garritano’s business plan hasn’t changed, the dock has.

In August, usage of the marina was up 35 percent compared with last year, which village administrator David Abatelli has said brought in about $180,000 in additional revenue for the village in just one month.

Mr. Hubbard said that if they were to rent the space out to Mr. Garritano now, it would cost closer to $55,000 a season given the current going rates.

“Our clientele has changed,” Mr. Hubbard said during the board’s last work session.

Mr. Garrianto didn’t appreciate the price increase, saying that members are putting money over local businesses.

“Eighteen months later you have seemed to increase the rent 550 percent,” he said. “This business will consistently offer revenue and employment. You should be concerned with local businesses starting and prospering.”

Under Mr. Garritano’s proposal, the tour boat would run excursions on which passengers could purchase drinks, hors d’oeuvres and light snacks.

The 110-foot, 149-passenger boat would be available for 3-hour tours on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. during the summer months, Mr. Garritano said.

He also expressed interest in hosting private parties such as weddings and other receptions, as well as public events, including “80s themed” parties and Sunday brunches.

Muddying the waters further is Mr. Garritano’s track record as a business owner in Southold Town.

Mr. Garritano is the former owner of the Blue Inn in East Marion, which had come under fire from neighbors over noise and other complaints. He later sold the property and opened a short -lived bicycle and electric scooter rental operation in the village.

The Village Board hasn’t taken any action on the proposal, nor have board members provided a time frame for a decision.

[email protected]