Sparkling Pointe GM defends tasting room plan at public hearing

Sparkling Pointe general manager Michael Falcetta outlined his plan for a tasting room in Greenport Village and took exception to the suggestion that it would be a destination solely for drinking.

“I’m a board member of the farm bureau and the Long Island Wine Council,” Mr. Falcetta said during a public hearing Thursday before the Greenport Village Planning Board. “Too much of my time and my life goes into the constant defense and certain members of our industry being painted with a broad brush because of handful of bad offenders.”

Planning Board members Walter Foote and John Cotugno raised concerns that clientele would go to the tasting room purely for drinking.

“This location is on the fringe of the commercial district,” Mr. Foote said. “There’s going to be more sensitivity to these areas.”

The primary focus of the tasting room will be on wine, selling products and sustaining a local agricultural business, Mr. Falcetta said.

An application before the Planning Board is to convert the ground floor of a residence on 411 First St. into a wine tasting room. A one-family apartment would be on the second floor.

The discussion Thursday also centered on drop-offs from buses and limousines.

The Planning Board received two letters from residents, asking about parking, music and the apartment. Mr. Foote asked whether limousines or buses would be allowed.

Mr. Falcetta said the business is strict with drop-offs, requiring them to be by appointment only and requests information such as the size of the group and the nature of the visit. Buses and limos already drop off clients at other places in the village, he said.

A wine tasting room is considered a permitted use because the building is in the village’s commercial retail district, Village Administrator Paul Pallas said in March. The building is also located in the Historic District, so the application will also be reviewed the village Historic Preservation Commission.

Village Trustee Mary Bess Phillips, not seeking to speak directly to the application, said she wanted to point out to the Planning Board that they can advise the Village Board on the parking code that they think should be reconsidered or discussed as they receive applications and issues come up.

The second-floor apartment would have to be a year-round rental if the owner chose that path, according to the village code. The owners want to have housing, possibly for a family member, but also want to have the ability to rent, builder David Murray said Thursday.

John Saladino, a member of the village Zoning Board of Appeals, said he has a problem with buses, which carry larger groups that limousines. David Corwin, also a ZBA member, mentioned an overall concern about buses and limousines idling engines in the village while waiting for parties.

The Planning Board voted to keep the public hearing open until June 7. The applicant is expected to submit additional details, such as occupancy size, one week prior.

Photo caption: The site of the proposed tasting room and apartment. (Credit: Rachel Siford)

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