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Village Hall Notes: Residents again protest mini-railroad location, grant awarded for sidewalks

Pushback against a miniature railroad planned for Moore’s Woods continued at a Greenport Village Board work session Thursday.  

Multiple residents and environmentalists argued against the track location in a discussion that lasted nearly an hour.

Randy Wade, who had organized an initial petition against placing the railroad in the woods, said she’s “been amazed at how many people do not know what’s going on with the nature trail in Moore’s Woods” and criticized a planned six-foot chain link fence for potentially blocking an existing footpath. 

“We absolutely want the railroad, but it’s just the wrong place and there are other places,” she said. 

Other attendees questioned why the DEC approved a location for the railroad in the wetlands, especially with growing concerns about climate change.  

“Right now, we have bigger needs and different needs than 2017,” Margaret de Cruz said at the meeting. “Climate change was happening, but now we’re seeing it like crazy.”

Village trustees pointed out to attendees that the railroad’s location was approved by the DEC, and it has been an open discussion since 2017, refuting claims from some attendees that nothing about the railroad’s location was presented to the public until a few months ago. 

“We’ve had fundraising events, we’ve had posters up, we’ve had banners … over the past three years,” Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said, adding that the design plan has been on the village website. 

GUYER LAWSUIT CONCLUDED 

A December 2019 lawsuit against Greenport Village and its trustees, the village Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and 123 Sterling Avenue LLC has been dismissed, according to village attorney Joseph Prokop. 

The suit, filed by Stephen Guyer and Kathleen Moraglia, had alleged the village “abused its discretion” when issuing a building permit to property owner Paul Pawlowski in September 2019 and requested to overturn the site plan, building permit and a 2007 stipulation agreement between the village and the Stirling Basin Neighborhood Association.   

Mr. Prokop said he had filed for coverage of legal fees and a motion to dismiss on the grounds that the case “was frivolous” and had started “with bad intent.” The Suffolk County Supreme Court granted those requests after an oral argument in court on Thursday.  “Pending an appeal or some further action by the plaintiff, the case is over at this point and it’s just a question of what the legal fees will be that are awarded,” Mr. Prokop said.  

GRANTS FOR SIDEWALKS 

The Village of Greenport has won $106,000 in grant funding from New York’s Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement Program, treasurer Robert Brandt said at the work session.  

The funds are a reimbursement for money already spent on sidewalk and curb work on Sixth Avenue earlier this year. The village won an additional $35,000 from PAVE New York for the same project, in addition to a first-year payment of about $114,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act.  

The village has not yet decided how to use the ARPA funds.