Surf shop opens without approval, angers Greenport business owners

05/30/2014 11:55 AM |
Flying Point Surf and Sport opened last weekend without proper approval. (Cyndi Murray photo)

Flying Point Surf and Sport opened last weekend without proper approval. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

The owners of One Love Beach surf shop in Greenport and some village officials are not pleased that a competing business opened a Main Street storefront Memorial Day weekend without Planning Board approval —  and that the store hasn’t been fined for not following protocol.

Thursday night’s Planning Board meeting was the first time members discussed Flying Point Surf’s site application. However, the store — which also has locations in Southampton, Sag Harbor and Bridgehampton — has quietly opened its second storefront at 405 Main Street, without approval of the application.

During the meeting, Blake Dowling a co-owner of One Love Beach on Main Street said it was unfair the other business started operating without following the same process that other village businesses are required to.

“With the opening of Flying Point this weekend there seems to be an underlying theme of disregard for our [village] and its rules and its merchants,” she said.

Ms. Dowling, who opened One Love on Main Street last June with her husband, Chris — who also serves as a Planning Board member —  added that too many similar businesses could hurt the local economy.

Other business owners agreed who had showed up to protest Flying Point expressed similar sentiment.

“Now we’re in a situation when a new store comes in and carries the exact same brands as a small mom and pop store that is directly going to effect the livelihood of that business,” said Rena Wilhelm, who also owns the White Weathered Barn on Front Street. “That is just something in Greenport that we don’t do to each other.”

Board attorney Joe Prokop said the village has no control over the types of businesses people chose to establish.

Planning Board members also voiced concern that the store opened prematurely.

“This is other example of lack of enforcement in the village of Greenport,” said board member Pat Mundus.

Applicant and owner Mark Zucchero said he was not well versed on the site plan approval process, adding that for his other East End locations did not require such a vigorious process.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t know the system,” he said. “It is different than other towns. I didn’t think I was bending the law, but maybe I should have got approval.”

“It is not a ‘maybe.’ You have to get approval before opening,” said planning board member Peter Jauquet.

Although it opened without its application approval, Flying Point Surf has not been cited by the village and is following due process in the village’s opinion, village administrator Paul Pallas said before the meeting, adding that Flying Point does not need an occupancy permit or a building permit to operate at an existing building and is paying the appropriate fees to the village.

“The fact that they are going to the Planning Board means whatever they are required to do, they did,” Mr. Pallas said Thursday afternoon. “They wouldn’t process it to the Planning Board unless they filled out the right paper work and paid the right application fees.”

The board is set to vote on the application during its next regular session on June 5 at 5 p.m.

If approved and allowed to remain open, the store will carry beach apparel and accessories for men, woman and children and will be open year round.

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