Greenport Planning Board sets hearing on 123 Sterling

A series of proposed changes to the site plan for the 123 Sterling Avenue project will be the subject of a public hearing before the village Planning Board later this month.

Developer Paul Pawlowski appeared before the Planning Board last Thursday to explain the modifications, which include relocating some parking to an indoor garage area and installing additional green space, sidewalks and curbing to allow for additional screening and improved access to the public waterfront.

The 12 indoor parking spots proposed would be located in a first-floor area of the building originally intended for indoor storage. 

The modifications will require the developer to seek two variances from the Village Zoning Board for the parking garage, which will be reserved for use by the owners of the 12 proposed market rate condos. Five parking spots outside would be assigned to the affordable condos, and the overall site plan still includes the 60 spaces required by code, Mr. Pawlowski said.

Planning Board members raised questions about the roughly 10,000 square feet of waterfront commercial space planned for the ground floor of the development, which Mr. Pawlowski said he envisions being used as yacht clubs or art studios. 

“We’re trying to pick uses that are waterfront commercial by code and somewhat lower impact than a restaurant or retail situation,” he said, adding that covenants would help prevent any other uses in the future.

Concerns also arose about the equity of condo association and maintenance fees, as well as property taxes, since the market rate and affordable units will be located in the same building.

“Even though [the affordable units] are going to be set at $175,000 to buy in, somebody’s going to have to have enough income to show that they’re going to be able to presumably cover those fees,” board member Patricia Hammes said, pointing out that those fees are subject to change on an ongoing basis.

Though unable to provide an estimate for property taxes, Mr. Pawlowski said monthly maintenance costs could be $400 per month for the affordable units and $700 per month for the market rate condos.

“I’m concerned about how affordable these actually are,” Ms. Hammes said. She also said the current flip tax structure—two years and two percent—is potentially a “recipe for some real abuse.”

Mr. Pawlowski said he’s trying to work with the village to increase the limitation to 7 years and 40% and agreed with concerns over HOA fees and taxes. He said that’s why he presented a plan last summer to move the affordable units to a separate building on the site.

Since the application includes modifications to the 2007 legal stipulation, formal public hearings must be held before the board of trustees, Zoning Board of Appeals and Historic Preservation Commission.

The Planning Board voted to set a hearing for March 25 and is expected to leave the hearing open until there is a decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals.