Village Planning Board approves Front Street hotel, subdivision of former church

The Greenport Village Planning Board approved both a three-story hotel on the corner of Front and Third streets and a subdivision of the former Greenport United Methodist Church property.

The 3-2 hotel approval —board members Lucy Clarke and John Cotugno voted in opposition — was conditional on the developer’s compliance with recommendations issued at a Planning Board meeting last month. Those conditions include limiting the hours of deliveries and the hours and usage of a rooftop area, as well as a ban on outside music.

The building, which would be built on the currently vacant lot at the southeast corner of the intersection, would feature a 60-seat restaurant on the ground level with 16 hotel rooms on second and third floors.

The applicant, Dan Pennessi of SAKD Holdings, still needs approvals from the Suffolk County Health Services Department, Planning Board chairman Devin McMahon said.

The proposed project previously received six variances, including one to allow just 10 off-street parking spaces rather than the 30 required under the village code.

The other five variances approved by the ZBA in December included a request to allow a third story on the building, for lot coverage 1.6 percent over the code limit, and building height variances to allow for an air conditioning unit, elevator bulkhead and a trellis above the 35-foot maximum allowed under the code.

“We’re very excited,” Mr. Pennessi said after the meeting. “We got good feedback from the village and the board, so we’re ready to move forward.”

Mr. McMahon said the next step for the project is to receive building department approval.

The former Greenport United Methodist Church, located on Main and First streets, received preliminary plat approval for three single-family homes.

Developer James Olinkiewicz now needs to prepare declarations for covenants of the single-family restriction and file it with the Suffolk County Clerk’s Office before he can return to the Planning Board for final plat approval.

During the hearing Mr. McMahon and Mr. Olinkiewicz agreed single-family homes were the best option for the property.

“It’s better for the neighborhood as a whole to restrict it to single-family homes,” Mr. McMahon said. “The subdivision is the highest and best use for the property. It’s in the best interest for the village to let this go forward.”

Mr. Olinkiewicz said he’d be willing to put a covenant on the deeds that would restricted multi-family homes at the site in the future.

The former church, which closed in June 2015, would become one single-family dwelling. The parsonage would become another house, and extra space towards the back of the lot would be used to place a third, he said. Mr. Olinkiewicz would remove an addition on the church that was built over nine decades ago in the process.

One concern, however, was the parking on the property as families move in. Neighbor Chris Dowling, agreed that single-family homes was the best use for the property, but said there’s already a parking problem in the area, and he believes the issue would only get worse with the subdivision.

Mr. Olinkiewicz said he doesn’t need the current parking lot and plans on making it a single driveway during the demolition of the back of the church, alleviating parking issues.

Correction: An earlier version of this story said the hotel approval was unanimous. It also referred to the rooftop area as a bar. Food and drink will not be permitted.

[email protected]