Greenport extends zoning debate through Oct. 10

Mayor Kevin Stuessi has announced an extension of a public hearing on proposed zoning changes through Oct. 10 and said the Village Board is reconsidering a controversial parking fee proposal.

At the board’s regular monthly meeting on Thursday night, Mr. Stuessi said the code committee and the Village Board were considering an alternative scenario to its proposal to charge between $25,000 and $50,000 per space as a payment in lieu of parking option for certain new businesses, including large restaurants and hotels.  

Instead, the mayor said, the owners of “conditional use” businesses, including bars, restaurants and hotels larger than 1,500 square feet, would be required to commission a parking study specific to their project.

“So rather than establishing any types of fees for those larger projects immediately, there will be a parking study that will be commissioned by the owner of the property, if they choose to go down that route. The village would manage it through the planning department, and then [the study] would be reviewed as part of a planning department application.”

Mr. Stuessi also addressed another issue that concerned local business owners: rebuilding after a natural disaster. He said village officials are rewriting a section of the proposed changes and “making it abundantly clear in the code, that those restaurant uses, which are in waterfront commercial [district] will have no issues with rebuilding in kind, off of their existing plans, in the event of some sort of calamity, whether it is a hurricane, flood, fire or something else.”

Mr. Stuessi said the zoning proposal package has been revised twice since mid-July, including on Sept. 8, and that a new version with language addressing payment in lieu of parking and rebuilding after natural disasters would be available on the village website next week.

He also said the code committee, headed by Deputy Mayor Mary Bess Phillips, was looking into “bonuses for having any housing as part of a larger project.”

“I would ask you to pay attention over the next 45 days,” the mayor said. “We’re going to be scheduling additional public meetings with the code committee.”

Also at Thursday’s board meeting, the new owners of Whiskey Wind Tavern came before the board to discuss their plans and their pending state liquor license application, which Mr. Stuessi said the board would support in a letter to the State Liquor Authority.