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Carpenter Street wetlands permit sparks debate

Before voting last Thursday to approve a wetlands permit application for 204 Carpenter St., the Greenport Village Board debated whether to require contractor Costello Marine to file a performance bond with the village.

Currently, the applicant proposes to add 246 feet of bulkhead along the north wall, replace an existing pier on the east wall and add 100 feet of new bulkhead. The plan also includes constructing 125 feet of new bulkhead on the south wall, removing a fixed dock and adding 68 feet of new bulkhead along the face of an existing building section located over water on pilings, and constructing 85 feet of new bulkhead in a new location.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips introduced the amendment, citing village code that gives the board the option to require marine contractors file performance bonds for wetlands projects.

“I think it would assure the village residents as well as our Village Board that the work will be completed,” she said. 

The rest of the board wasn’t as enthused.

“I think it could be perceived as singling out a certain business,” Trustee Julia Robins said.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said he couldn’t think of a time in his 12 years on the board when a performance bond has been required for a wetland permit.

“This is a larger project than has been done in the past. I feel it is better to be safe than sorry,” Ms. Phillips said.

Ms. Robins pointed to language in the resolution that gives the Village Board an option to renew the permit in two years. 

“This is not a rubber stamp,” she said. “They still have to come and ask us.” 

Mr. Hubbard said the performance bond could be costly and would put an “undue burden” on the applicant.

“They’re spending a lot of money to improve their property in the village,” he said. “If it was a village project and we were hiring outside contractors to do something on village land, I could see the performance bond because that’s something we’d normally do.”

The mayor suggested striking the last sentence from the resolution, which read: “The applicant may renew the permit for an additional two years by letter request to the Board of Trustees, which may be approved by resolution, without a further public hearing.”

The application was unanimously approved without the requirement for Costello Marine to file a performance bond with the village.

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