Former Greenport United Methodist Church now being listed on AirBnB

03/04/2018 9:28 AM |

What was once a 19th century Methodist church on Main Street in Greenport is now a short-term rental property, according to an AirBnB listing that has local residents expressing disgust on social media. 

The former United Methodist Church is listed under the heading “Unique 1880 Church converted into Luxury Home” and lists it for $1,200 per night with a one-week minimum stay. It can accommodate up to 16 guests in six bedrooms, according to the listing.

Local builder James Olinkiewicz bought the church building in early 2017 for a reported $950,000 after the United Methodist Church opted to sell it and combine with several North Fork Methodist congregations, which would meet at a new church building proposed for Route 48 in Southold.

In December, Mr. Olinkiewicz received Greenport Village Planning Board approval for a three-lot subdivision of the 0.77-acre property that includes the church building and a parsonage, and which fronts both Main and First streets.

Mr. Olinkiewicz had told the board he wanted to have a single-family residence in the church building and another in the parsonage, and that he planned to build a new single-family residence on the third lot.

He said he would not use the site for multi-family housing.

The listing on AirBnB, an online service that allows property owners to rent their homes for short stays, says there will be no nightly or weekend rates offered.

“Loud parties and excessive noise are not welcome here,” the listing says, warning that nuisance complaints about a guest from neighbors could result in the forfeit of the security deposit.

Mr. Olinkiewicz did not return a message seeking comment Saturday.

The AirBnB listing found its way on Facebook over the weekend, where a number of local residents shared the post and commented on it.

Several pointed out the price, and others said the building was taking on a commercial use, similar to a hotel or Bed and Breakfast, and as such, should be assessed as commercial use, which would normally pay more in taxes than a residential property.

Short-term rentals have been the subject of controversy in recent years with many municipalities, including the Town of Southold, adopting regulations regarding minimum stays. The Village of Greenport has discussed but so far opted not to pass a minimum stay requirement on short-term rentals.

The church property is also listed for sale for just over $2 million, according to a listing with Richmond Realty.