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Greenport Planning Board requires site plan for Jet Ski tour proposal

The Greenport Village Planning Board on Thursday tabled a discussion on a plan to bring Jet Ski tours in Greenport so that the applicant could submit a site plan application.

The applicant, Evan Hoffman of East Hampton, should not have gone to the board for a use evaluation and instead applied for site plan approval, which also requires long-form environmental assessment form, according to planning board attorney Robert Connolly.

“The problem is you’re adding a new use to that property,” Mr. Connolly said of Mr. Hoffman’s application, which looks to launch tours from Preston’s Dock and guide customers around Shelter Island and Gardiners Bay.

At a planning meeting last month, Mr. Hoffman said that tours would be small groups, with him on one Jet Ski touring alongside up to two customers. A safety tutorial would be provided before launching, he also told the board.

Before the board voted to table the application until a site plan is submitted, Peter Harris, who is the village harbor patrol officer, voiced concerns about Jet Skis.

Mr. Harris, who said he was speaking from personal observation and not on behalf of the village, said the vessels he has the most problems with while on patrol in Greenport Harbor and Sterling Harbor are Jet Skis.

“I’m not trying to put someone that’s looking to go into business into a bad light,” Mr. Harris, a lifelong Greenport resident, said. “I’m just giving facts.”

He said Jet Ski operators tend not to adhere to rules and regulations or are not aware they apply to them “because they’re not a boat, so to speak.” Mr. Harris continued to say that he is concerned the proposed business’s intentions could change down the road.

Mr. Hoffman, before the board voted to adjourn for the night, said he plans to run his business for tours only and that he and his father, Martin Hoffman, have never received any tickets for wrongful Jet Ski operation. He also noted how he is a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

“Safety is the first thing at the top of my list,” Mr. Hoffman said.

Planning board member Mary Given said she would not vote based on the assumption of whether someone would adhere to the rules.

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