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Greenport businesses put in requests for public assembly, outdoor seating and live music

04/09/2019 5:53 AM |

Downtown Greenport Village now has applications for live music at one venue, a public assembly area at another and outdoor dining at a third.

All three matters went before the village Planning Board last Thursday.

Assembly area sought

The owners of Main Street’s Stirling Square want to convert a vacant space, formerly occupied by a retail store called Openspace, into a public assembly use.

The building in question is directly across a courtyard from the American Beech hotel and restaurant.

The assembly use would allow private meetings or parties in that space, although no food preparation would take place on site, according to Robert Brown, the architect on the application.

Any food preparation would be done in the restaurant, he said.

There were no speakers at a public hearing on the application at last Thursday’s work session.

Mr. Brown asked if the board could vote on the application that day.

But board members said they would wait until their next regular meeting to vote on the application, which is normal procedure.

The next regular Planning Board meeting is set for May 2.

Outdoor dining for hotel

The owners of The Menhaden, the new three-story hotel at the southeast corner of Third and Front streets, are seeking permission to have seasonal outdoor seating in front of the hotel.

At a public hearing on the request last Thursday, Planning Board member John Cotugno expressed concern about diners and waitstaff occupying the public right of way.

General manager Dennis McDermott, representing owner Daniel Pennessi, said there will be a metal-enhanced barrier that will prevent anyone from exiting toward the street.

He said the distance from the building to the barrier will be six feet, five inches, and the barrier will be four-feet tall.

Planners said they wanted to see what the barrier and the tables look like.

Chatty Allen, who lives across the street from the hotel, said she favors the outdoor seating.

“If you look down Front Street, you’ll see there a lot of restaurants with outdoor seating,” she said.

Ms. Allen added, “Anything you ask [the hotel owners ] to do, they are going to do because they care about the village.”

The Planning Board closed the public hearing but took no action on the application.

Live music sought

Green Hill Kitchen at the northeast corner of Front and First streets, where Harborfront Deli and The Loft used to be, seeks permission to have live music on the second floor of the building.

Robert Brown, the architect on this application as well, said the request is similar to the request for assembly space at Stirling Square, but seeks permission for live music as well.

“It’s a restaurant space, except for the nights they have live music, in which case there will be more room made for people to listen to the music,” Mr. Brown said. “But primarily, it’s the same. I personally could argue that having live music up there doesn’t change the use. It just an enhancement to the use.”

He said it’s mostly a “bar, but they will have some food.”

“It’s not going to be a concert hall?” Mr. Cotugno asked.

“No,” Mr. Brown said. “No fixed seating or anything like that.”

Mr. Brown said he believes the live music will be only on weekends during the summer and said they will comply with any village noise regulations.

Planning Board member Walter Foote suggested the village impose limits on the hours of operation.

Mr. Brown said he believes, if the music is within noise limits, it shouldn’t matter what the hours of operation are.

Greenhill Kitchen owner Christoph Mueller had said at the March 28 Planning Board meeting that they plan to have country music, blues and rock and roll. He said they had live music last year in the context of background music for the restaurant and found there was great interest in that.

“The facility proved to have a good capability for keeping sound from the street,” Mr. Mueller said.

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on this application at its May 2 meeting, which starts at 4 p.m. in Greenport’s Third Street firehouse.

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