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Village holds open hearing on proposed parking law

Greenport Village trustees will continue a public hearing on a proposed parking law at their Nov. 17 work session.

Only two residents took the opportunity to speak when the hearing opened last Thursday. Both asked questions clarifying aspects of the law, which is posted on the village website for public review.

In opening that hearing, Mayor George Hubbard Jr. said, “This is what we’ve been talking about for almost a year now. We took some of the exemptions out. We’ve changed the fee structures on it. It’s gone back and forth quite a few times. I think we have a version now that everybody seems to be comfortable with.” 

Village attorney Joseph Prokop said he’d continued to update the proposed legislation based on a discussion at a September work session. He said new requirements for grandfathered property owners would be triggered only if they make a change that creates a need for more parking. They would not be required to make up for spaces from which they had previously been exempt, Mr. Prokop said. 

The proposed legislation would eliminate a grandfathering clause that exempts the use, adaptation or change of use of structures built in retail and waterfront commercial districts before Jan. 1, 1991, from off-street parking requirements. 

Properties currently relying on that clause would not be affected unless there is a change in use or increase in usage, in which case the property owners would need to compensate for the difference between existing and required parking by providing additional spaces or making a payment in lieu.

The Planning Board may allow property owners to pay cash in lieu of up to 50% of the required parking spaces, with fees tied to a sliding scale based on the number of spots being paid for. The board may also establish a payment plan with interest that can span up to 10 years. The collected fees would be placed in a special fund dedicated to the construction, acquisition or maintenance of public parking facilities. 

According to the revision, Planning Board decisions may be appealed within two months to the village Board of Trustees. The Planning Board may opt to not grant any waiver, based on their judgment of what is best for the village.