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Village approves code change allowing B&Bs of up to five rooms

It’s official: Greenport Village will permit a maximum of five rooms in a bed and breakfast within the village. 

The Village Board unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that amends Chapter 150 of the village zoning code regarding the maximum number of rooms permitted in a B&B. The resolution changed the total number of permitted rooms from three to five.

The topic came into question at a work session meeting last month when Village Zoning Board of Appeals members urged the board not to modify the code.

Their concerns were related to a pending lawsuit against the ZBA: Leueen Miller, owner of Harbor Knoll on Fourth Street, filed an Article 78 proceeding against the ZBA in May after the group denied an ordinance of the Village Code to allow five rooms in her B&B. The document aims to reverse the ZBA’s decision.

The Village Board has approved short-term rentals in the past, which allow for five bedrooms. The discrepancy between the code for B&Bs and short-term rentals was mentioned in the Article 78 proceeding.

Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said Thursday that he previously stated at last month’s work session that the resolution could potentially settle a lawsuit, but it’s not the only reason the resolution was crafted.

“It was not about a lawsuit. It was recommendation of council from the village attorney, planning board and zoning board attorney and from comments we had received on it,” he said. “So, yes, I did say it would settle a lawsuit, but that was not the goal of the whole public hearing and … whole process.”

Prior to approval, board trustee Mary Bess Phillips said she is not voting because of the lawsuit, she’s voting as an overseer of the ZBA and village code.

“We as a Village Board have to look at the code because we are the gatekeepers for it and making sure its relevant for the correct times within our village.”

The Mayor added that the village received a letter from the Greenport Business Improvement District Thursday supporting the resolution.

“They thought it was a good idea, they commended us on it,” Mr. Hubbard said.

Under current New York State Building code, a single B&B can have up to five bedrooms. Zoning code for Southold Town allows up to five bedrooms for a B&B.

The lawsuit between the ZBA and Ms. Miller is ongoing.

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