It was a fitting day for a commercial dock to open up in Greenport, albeit a rare occasion these days.
Widow’s Hole Oysters cut the ribbon at its new 140-foot dock on Saturday morning on the opening morning of the village’s annual Maritime Festival, celebrating the company’s expansion after the project was delayed due to opposition from neighbors and a clerical error by the village.
Mike and Isabel Osinski had proposed the new dock as well as expanding part of their operation in a creek on the west side of their property that abuts Fourth Street homes. The company owners ultimately scaled back the expansion to please neighbors who voiced opposition to the plan. However, plans to build the dock heading into Greenport Harbor, on the east side, were stalled after the Greenport Village board said a clerical error required a second public hearing on the plan.
Eventually, the Osinskis filed suit against the village over an “arbitrary and capricious” amendment it made when issuing the company’s tidal wetlands permit. Last month, a state Supreme Court judge ruled in the company’s favor.
Mr. Osinski had some choice words for those who opposed the expansion, as well as the village, though summed it up on Saturday morning by saying, ”It was an ordeal.”
While the celebration for Widow’s Hole fit in with the theme of the day in Greenport, dockbuilder John Costello of Costello Marine said opening a new commercial dock isn’t something that happens too frequently anymore in the village, which originally grew due to its commercial fishing success in the mid-1800s.
In fact, Mr. Costello — who’s been building docks for 51 years — couldn’t recall the last time he built a working commercial dock in Greenport, noting that most of his work in the village comes through repairs.
“We’ve seen them disappear as more condos took the prime real estate,” he said.
The dock was completed on Thursday and took about five weeks from start to finish.
As supporters of Widow’s Hole hoisted a “Working Waterfront Greenport” sign, Congressman Tim Bishop was on hand to cut the ribbon at the new dock after helping Widow’s Hole secure permits from the Army Corps of Engineers needed to get the expansion up and running.
Mr. Osinski said that in addition to growing in Greenport Harbor, Widow’s Hole is now leasing 10 acres near Gardiner’s Island from Suffolk County, and the added dock space and stronger winches will permit the company to keep up with growing demand for local oysters in New York City.
“I’d like to grow the oysters to three years old, but the demand is too much. Everybody wants them,” he said.