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Greenport to trustee: Clean up your mess or else


A Greenport Village trustee received four orders to remedy violations on properties she and her family own in the village following complaints filed by a former trustee.

The orders to remedy affect three residential properties on Atlantic Avenue owned by Trustee Mary Bess Phillips’ family and two parcels on First Street, where they own a large warehouse, which contains contains a consignment shop, and several smaller stores. Alice’s Fish Market on Monsell Place, which they also own, is not affected.

Under a notice to remedy, a person has 30 days to address the alleged violations in order to avoid fines, according to village code.

Bill Swiskey, a retired village utilities director who served briefly as a trustee, said village officials have known about what he called “violations” on Ms. Phillips’ properties and have done nothing.

“The bottom line is that the village has been ignoring this for a long time,” Mr. Swiskey said in an interview last week. “This is an issue of selective enforcement, which came up in the last election campaign.”

Ms. Phillips declined to comment for this story.

The orders to remedy, issued Jan. 29 by a village code enforcement officer, focus mostly on fishing equipment stored out in the open behind of the Atlantic Avenue properties and on “abandoned or unlicensed” vehicles at another property.

Ms. Phillips and her husband, Mark, are involved in the commercial fishing business.

“Lumber, ropes, wooden poles, rusted chains, rusted metal objects, unused boat trailers and other junk and debris” are being stored on the property, said the notice for one of the Atlantic Avenue properties.

“An abandoned or unlicensed white pickup truck and two abandoned or unlicensed white cars” were cited in the driveway of another Atlantic Avenue property. The third Atlantic Avenue notice dealt with the exterior of a house, which the order says is “in a state of disrepair, with peeling, flaking and chipped paint and bare wood surfaces visible from Atlantic Avenue.”

The First Street property was cited for having “ropes, nets, rusted metal objects, black rubber objects, broken concrete, wooden pallets, an old air conditioner unit, wood, metal items, an old headboard and other garbage, junk and debris” stored on the property.

The remedies required by the orders involve removal of the items cited from the properties mentioned, with the exception of the Atlantic Avenue home, which the order states should be repaired and maintained.

Mr. Swiskey, who attends most village board meetings and is often critical of village government, said he has informally raised the issue of Ms. Phillips’ property to village officials for more than a year, and when nothing was done, he decided to file a complaint himself about two weeks ago.

The notice to remedy arrived shortly afterward.

“How come this took so long?” he asked. “The code enforcement officer rides around the town looking for violations; how can you miss this?”

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Photo: The Phillipses, who are involved in the commercial fishing business, have been asked to remove this pile of equipment from their First Street property. (Credit: Tim Gannon)