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Proposed contractors yard in Greenport faces criticism from residents

A site plan for a 2.68-acre contractors yard on Kerwin Boulevard in Greenport drew criticism from neighbors during a public hearing at a Southold Town Planning Board meeting Monday.

Owner George Penny is seeking approval of a site plan for a proposed contractors yard that includes eight existing buildings comprising nearly 25,000 square feet. It’s located on the southwest corner of Main Road and Kerwin Boulevard in Greenport and is currently home to a variety of businesses, including Lighthouse Marine Services and Greenport Art & Design Emporium.

Mr. Penny said Monday that his family has owned the property since 1961, when it was operated as a lumber yard. Since then, buildings have been leased to several different tenants, he said, but the only site plan on record is still for a lumber yard.

Several of his residential neighbors say the property has become an eyesore and are seeking help from town officials to mitigate noise and other issues they say pose health and safety risks.

Every resident who spoke Monday raised concerns about large boats and sometimes U-Haul trucks stored on the corner near the Main Road intersection on Lighthouse Marine’s area of the property. “Coming out of Kerwin Boulevard onto the Main Road, you cannot see traffic coming over the bridge properly. You’re pulling out almost into the road to see [up the hill],” said Fred Salzberg, a Kerwin Boulevard resident.

Speaking on behalf of the Peconic Bay Property Owners Association, Laura Yantsos asked if the Planning Board could limit the number of businesses that could operate on the property, or the types of vehicles that could be stored at the site. Ms. Yantsos also requested that vegetation be used to block the “sloppy, ugly mess” on the corner as well as overflowing dumpsters at the site.

Bernadette Hoban of Greenport described the situation as an “irresponsible tenant renting from an irresponsible owner,” accusing the marine facility of working on boats and improperly dealing with chemicals, which causes concern among neighbors about water table contamination. “The whole thing is toxic,” she said.

Several neighbors have also written letters to express their concerns over the site, which is zoned Light Industrial.

Before closing the hearing, Planning Board chair Don Wilcenski said the board will conduct site visits in the upcoming months as part of their review and is trying to gather as much information as possible.

Earlier this year, the Southold Town building department issued Mr. Penny with two notices of disapproval for a permit to allow retail uses in addition to the contractors yard, noting that retail is not an acceptable use in the Light Industrial zone.

Mr. Penny indicated that retail operations would have to cease if the site plan were approved.

“We don’t make determinations on uses—that’s the building department,” Mr. Wilcenski said. “But we’re trying to work closely with them in rectifying the problem.”