Featured Story

Greenport Village to host public hearing on controversial waterfront condos

A wetlands permit application that’s faced months of delays may receive final approval from Greenport officials this week, on the same day it is set for a public hearing that is sure to attract concerned neighbors.

In January, the Village Board approved the permit to replace a bulkhead at 123 Sterling Avenue, the site of a proposed commercial and residential condo project in Greenport, with a condition to prohibit boats from docking on the east side of the bulkhead facing the channel toward Stirling Creek.

Owner Paul Pawlowski reapplied for the permit without the condition, contending that he never agreed to it and it would limit the use of his commercial waterfront property.

In response to safety and environmental concerns, Mr. Pawlowski proposed a list of compromises that include closing off 40 feet of the bulkhead closest to the peninsula to the east to boats, installing “no parking” signs and removing tie-up cleats in the area, as well as limiting beam size to 15 feet along the entire bulkhead in order to improve navigability.

“I believe that in good faith, it’s a compromise to what could be requested which would be unfettered use of all the entire bulkhead,” Trustee Peter Clarke said during a discussion Thursday.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips agreed, adding that one thing she’d like to see written into the approval is a mechanism to ensure some of the agreed-upon compromises don’t change if the property is sold down the line.

“I do believe that once the dredging is done, there will be a fair amount of room as long as we keep on maintaining it,” Ms. Phillips said. “I think it’s time to move forward.”

Though some concerns were raised about whether the project would intrude upon the federal waters, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said Thursday he doesn’t believe that’s the case.

“It’s more than enough room away from where the federal channel is,” Mr. Hubbard said.

The permit is expected to be approved at Thursday’s meeting, during which a hearing is scheduled on a separate issue regarding the 123 Sterling property.

The hearing, set for 7 p.m. at the Third Street Firehouse, has to do with proposed amendments to a 2007 stipulation agreement. 123 Sterling LLC, a group previously headed by former property owner Richard Raskin, received site plan approval for the project in 2007 as a result of the stipulation in an Article 78 lawsuit filed by neighbors in the Stirling Basin Neighborhood Association. Mr. Pawlowski and Kenny Balloto of Westhampton purchased the 1.72-acre property in 2019.

Mr. Pawlowski has proposed tweaking his plans, which currently call for 12 market rate and five affordable units in a mixed-use commercial building. He is instead proposing to offer the 17 units in the main building at market rate and relocate the five affordable units to a standalone building that would front Ludlam Place, along with additional site improvements.

Since the stipulation also involved the Village Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals and the property encompasses a portion of the historic district, those boards as well as the Historic Preservation Commission would also be required to hold hearings, giving the public a total of four opportunities to comment on the proposal.