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Village considers adding deadline to approved site plans

Approved site plans in Greenport Village may soon come with an expiration date.

Village trustees discussed modifying the Planning Board code to establish a deadline for action taken on approved site plans. Trustee Mary Bess Phillips suggested at Thursday’s work session that the board review and modify Article 11 of the Planning Board code.

Under village code, once an applicant receives site plan approval from the Planning Board, they are permitted to modify the property in line with the plan. However, Ms. Phillips said she’s noticed some individuals delay construction on the property. By the time renovations begin, she said, the building may no longer fit in with the surroundings.

“A site plan that’s been approved 10 years ago isn’t going to be relevant and understand what’s going on in the current community,” she said.

Village attorney Joseph Prokop said there is currently no village or state law that determines how long an individual has to alter an approved property.

Village administrator Paul Pallas said Planning Board members have informally approached him with concerns regarding a potential deadline for construction.

“Because there’s no expiration date in the code, they can come back, years later, and build that,” he said. “The Planning Board made their decision based on what the community looked like at that time. Changes happen, and now this same project may not fit in, but it already has approval.”

The modified code could set a time limit on when an individual must act after receiving approval. If they do not act within a set period, Ms. Phillips said, they would have to go before the Planning Board again.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said he supports the change if it does not impact pre-existing site plans or overload the Planning Board.

“I don’t want to make it harder for people to try to do business in the Village,” he said, “The Planning Board will just get a revolving door as things keep changing. That’s the issue I have — every year you’re back to the Planning Board for the same kind of thing.”

He said a commercial building on First Street put in the foundation for the property roughly eight years ago and has not been modified despite garnering site plan approval.

“That building permit is expired,” he said. “I don’t even know what was supposed to be built there.”

Mr. Pallas suggested a roughly two-year deadline for construction to be completed. He said he will review local municipalities’ codes and review if they have similar restrictions.

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