Featured Letter: Now is the time for action in our village

In late December a remarkable thing occurred in the Village of Greenport. More than 200 people signed a petition calling for a pause on development in the village and called for an updated Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and corresponding update of the Village code. Many of these same people packed Village Board meetings twice in one week to express their concerns about the lack of a long-term plan for the village. The board listened to the community and, to many in the audience’s surprise, acted with alacrity and unanimity to immediately enact a moratorium. The mayor moved quickly to propose a committee to take charge of the planning process and the village retained Pace University’s Land Use Law Center to do an initial presentation/training session. All of this came after eight years of delay by the village in enacting the updated LWRP (which was last worked on in the prior mayor’s administration in 2010-2012) and numerous debates but little agreement among the board on potential solutions to issues confronting the village as it has developed into a tourism and second home-owner magnet.

Without a doubt the community sent a strong message to the current village administration that the village was at a pivotal point and needed a long-term development plan. It is now the latter part of January and much of that initial community elation has died down. The community has seen no further action by the waterfront committee or board seeking community input or setting forward meetings and deadlines for an update of the LWRP. And meanwhile the clock continues to tick, commercial properties in the village continue to come up for sale and be purchased by investors with deep pockets and the community is facing a pivotal election in March that will have long term consequences for the future of the village. 

What will the future of the village be — continued development in a piece-meal reactive fashion that is driven by commercial interests focused on a seasonal tourism economy? Now is the time for the community to keep pressure on the current administration to advance the goals set forth during discussions on the moratorium. It is also the time for the community to make it clear that if this administration isn’t capable of moving the ball forward on the LWRP that it is willing to vote for a change in administration. 

If you live in the village please pay careful attention to the actions of the current mayor and Village Board over the next two months as well as take advantage of various opportunities to engage with the various candidates running for office – whether through sponsored debates or just having a coffee and speaking with those candidates. And based on this due diligence please exercise your voice and vote to ensure that the village moves forward with its comprehensive planning efforts. This is the time for demanding action from our village and exercising our voices!