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Village Board hires engineering firm to review 123 Sterling project

The Greenport Village Board approved a contract to hire an engineering firm to review the controversial 123 Sterling Ave. building project at its meeting Monday.

J. R. Holzmacher P.E., LLC of Ronkonkoma will provide “building inspection services” to supplement the village staff for the project, village administrator Paul Pallas said.

Under village code, applicant and owner Paul Pawlowski is required to reimburse the village for the cost of the consultant, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said. The firm will assist the village building department with review of electrical, plumbing, mechanical, structural, architectural, fire suppression, ADA Compliance and means of egress and accessibility plans for the property, according to the approved contract. Upon completion of each type of work, the firm will prepare individual reports on their findings for the Building Department.

Since the consultant has not yet seen a complete set of plans, a total cost was not included in the contract. The contract suggests an initial budget of $10,000 for building plan review and $40,000 for building inspection services, but is subject to change.

At the work session, Mr. Hubbard said that the consultant may alleviate the neighborhood’s concerns.

“Even though our staff is more than qualified to do it, we’re doing it just to put everyone’s minds at ease,” he said. “We’re taking the extra step … so there’s no question at all about the building permit, construction design, flood plans and everything else, we’re taking the extra step to make sure this is taken care of.”

The hiring of a consultant comes after some members of the Stirling Basin Neighborhood Association publicly criticized Greenport’s certified building inspector, Greg Morris.

“It’s a very large project,” Mr. Pallas said in an interview Monday, “that requires a little more attention.”

“Hopefully we can just move forward with the project, make compromises and do what needs to be done,” Mr. Hubbard said.

Resident Stephen Weiss said much of the project has already been completed and expressed concern that the completed work would not be reviewed by the consultant.

Mr. Weiss then urged the Village Board to issue a stop-work order on the project until all completed work has been reviewed by the firm.

“The reason we moved forward with this was to make people feel better about this, not to make people feel worse,” Mr. Hubbard responded.

Pat Mundus of Sterling Street thanked the board for the resolution, but said she was concerned that the scope of the firm’s services does not include review of the property’s flood plans.

However, village attorney Joseph Prokop stated that, under the contract, the firm will review the floodplain near Stirling Basin.

In October, Mr. Pawlowski submitted a modification to the 2007 stipulation agreement for the property.

The new plan, still under review with the village, calls for a three-story, 45,000-square-foot building with “new exterior siding and overall look,” according to Mr. Pawlowski’s diagram. It will house 20 market-rate single-family condos. Five affordable-rate condos will be created in an outbuilding.

The outbuilding was included in the approved plan, but its footprint has now increased and it will include a rooftop pool as well as the five affordable-rate condos. The modification also calls for perimeter landscaping and a first-floor parking garage with 77 spaces.

Builders currently working on the property are expected to adhere to the 2007 stipulation agreement until the village approves the proposed plan.

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