05/25/13 5:00pm
05/25/2013 5:00 PM

Sterling Street Greenport Village

Greenport Village Board members could vote as soon as next month on a proposed parking ban on Sterling Street, according to Mayor David Nyce.

While the proposal has drawn a considerable amount of comment in the past, a discussion on issue came and went without a peep from officials or the public during Tuesday’s Village Board work session.

If approved, the law would prohibit motorists from parking on the waterfront side of Sterling Street, expanding a parking ban already in effect on the residential side of the street. That would eliminate just three more parking spaces, according to the board.

The change was suggested by village administrator Dave Abatelli, said Mr. Nyce. Mr. Abatelli believes cars parked along the waterfront where the road curves have caused unsafe conditions for southbound travelers.

During a public hearing on the issue last month village Trustee Dave Murray advised the board to wait to evaluate the traffic situation during the busy summer season.

Opponents of the ban argue that eliminating those parking spots would make it more difficult for them to access their boats docked at local marinas.

Another public hearing on the issue is scheduled for Tuesday, May 28, at 6 p.m. at the Third Street fi re station.

Following that hearing the board could choose to vote on the ban during its next regular meeting in June, Mr. Nyce said.

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05/20/13 3:11pm
05/20/2013 3:11 PM
SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Greenport Village officials will discuss a proposed Sterling Street parking ban at tonight's work session.

SUFFOLK TIMES FILE PHOTO | Greenport Village officials will discuss a proposed Sterling Street parking ban at tonight’s work session.

Greenport Village officials will discuss a proposed amendment to a local law that, if approved, would prohibit visitors from parking on the eastern side of Sterling Street at tonight’s work session, which be held in the Third Street firehouse at 6 p.m.

At the Village’s last public hearing, Village Trustee Dave Murray recommended the board wait to evaluate the traffic situation until after the busy summer season before voting to amend the local law.

“I’m unfamiliar with the issue,” Mr. Murray said. “I think we need to wait and take everything into consideration.”

Mayor David Nyce has said the proposal came from village administrator Dave Abatelli, who said cars parked along the waterfront where the road curves have caused unsafe conditions for southbound travelers.

If approved, the parking ban would stretch for 50 feet along the waterfront side of Sterling Street, eliminating three parking spaces. A parking ban has already been enacted on the residential side of the street.

At previous public hearings, residents have argued that the parking ban would make it more difficult for them to access their boats docked in local marinas.

The full agenda for tonight’s meeting is available below.

Greenport Village Board work session, May 20, 2013

04/25/13 4:00pm
04/25/2013 4:00 PM

FILE PHOTO | The Peconic Bay Water Jitney will not run this summer.

Citing the need to apply for federal grant money, Mattituck businessman Jim Ryan confirmed Tuesday that the Peconic Bay Water Jitney, the water taxi that made daily round trips from Greenport to Sag Harbor last summer, will not run this year.

“This is part of developing the business plan based on the facts we developed during the pilot program,” Mr. Ryan said in an interview. “It’s just part of the process.”

Mr. Ryan, who runs the company with Hampton Jitney president Geoff Lynch, said the Water Jitney is in the process of applying for a federal grant, which may require letters of recommendation from community leaders.

“From our standpoint the water shuttle was a great success,” said Greenport Mayor David Nyce, who said he’d write a recommendation letter on behalf of the Water Jitney should the need arise. “It’s disappointing it will not return this summer. We understand they have financial issues now, but I’m hopeful they will be able to resolve it.”

Mr. Ryan said that the Water Jitney, a half-million-dollar project, launched late last June and ran seven days a week through September, transporting about 17,000 passengers. While it did not make a profit, it came close to breaking even, he said.

The company spent roughly $100,000 last year on unforeseen costs, including $50,000 for the use of local parking lots and another $50,000 for bus transportation to and from those parking lots.

“The fear, which was understandable, was that anyone looking to use the service was going to park right down in the village, which was not the case,” Mr. Ryan said. “Now we can eliminate those costs because the need wasn’t there for it.”

Local business owners expressed hope that the water taxi would be back for another season.

“In a maritime community we should have connection by water to the other fork,” said Caroline Waloski, owner of the Sirens’ Song Gallery in Greenport. She said the ferry was “packed” every time she went on it.

“For economic health on the whole East End, I think it’s a very important thing to have,” Ms. Waloski added. “I hope they rethink this and bring it back.”

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04/17/13 9:16am
04/17/2013 9:16 AM

An architect’s rendering for a section of the proposed Clark’s Beach power park.

What do Greenport Village residents think about turning Clark’s Beach into a center for alternative energy? They’ll get their chance to speak tonight.

The Village Board will hold the first of its community forums on the idea at the Floyd Memorial Library from 6 to 7:30 p.m.

Earlier this month the board gave Mayor David Nyce permission to pursue the idea he first floated in the fall. The mayor has suggested building a combination of wind and solar energy systems on the 8.7-acre Soundfront beach, which he said could make the village energy independent and stabilize residents’ electric bills.

The cost and methods of financing the project are both unknown. The board gave its verbal approval for Mr. Nyce to build public support and seek grant funds.

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04/05/13 5:00pm
04/05/2013 5:00 PM
JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce.

JULIE LANE FILE PHOTO | Greenport Mayor David Nyce.

Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce’s $9.36 million preliminary spending plan would carry a 2.02 percent increase in the tax levy.

Mr. Nyce projects village spending to decrease as the result of a $200,000 saving from restructuring the Mitchell Park debt last year and other cuts in discretionary accounts. He expects village revenue to hold steady in the next fiscal year.

While a fraction over 2 percent, the projected tax increase doesn’t pierce the state-mandated cap because certain expenses, such as pensions and capital costs, are exempt.

“We are at a point now where we can see the light,” Mr. Nyce said. “The funds are getting healthier.”

For the first time in two years, Mr. Nyce has presented a tentative budget that includes a tax hike. His critics say the mayor was passing the buck, leaving it to the full the Village Board to adopt spending plans including tax hikes.

Last year, village taxes rose 1.82 percent.

Spending included an $18,000 allocation for a Mitchell Park debt reserve, according to Village treasurer Charlene Kagel. The reserve was created last summer to pay down the debt. The Village Board then agreed to raise the tax levy by the maximum percentage allowed by the state to pay off existing village debts. This year’s budgeted allocation is $30,000.

“Some of the projects I’d like to see get done but we can’t,” Mr. Nyce said. “We’ve had to tighten our belts.”

Mr. Nyce said the village will be in a position to “borrow responsibly” within the next couple of years. He hopes to allocate funds for capital projects, such as road reconstruction.

It’s unclear how, or if, ongoing negotiations between the village and its Civil Service Employees Association will affect the budget. It’s been nearly three years since the previous CSEA contract expired.

“We have no idea what it will mean for the budget because we don’t have a contract,” Mr. Nyce said. “There is not a lot of information available right now.”

The village is unique among East End municipalities because it operates its own electric and wastewater treatment plants. It requires the services of CSEA union members to maintain the generator at the heart of the electric facility along with its mechanical and electrical equipment. Union members also monitor the villages wastewater treatment plant.

The mayor said the administration is “very close” to reaching an agreement for at least the first year of the contract. He he hopes the board will settle on one year before going back to the bargaining table on a three-year deal.

“I didn’t think it would take this long,” Mr. Nyce said of the negotiations. “I’m hopeful we’ll have a deal soon.”

A public hearing on budget is scheduled for next Monday, April 8. The board is scheduled to adopt a spending plan at its April 22 meeting. The deadline to submit the budget to the state is May 1.

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03/27/13 11:49am
03/27/2013 11:49 AM
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | Tonight's Greenport Village Board work session is at 6 p.m.

JENNIFER GUSTAVSON FILE PHOTO | The Greenport Village Board gave a verbal go-ahead to pursue an eco-friendly park at Clark’s Beach.

Clark’s Beach on Long Island Sound is a tiny step closer to becoming an eco-friendly energy park.

Although it did not take a vote, the Greenport Village Board on Monday gave Mayor David Nyce a verbal go-ahead to pursue transforming the 8.7 Soundfront acres from an off-the-beaten-path beach to the site of a two- to four-megawatt electric generating facility using solar and wind energy.

The mayor’s first task is to generate public support before seeking grant funds for the project he suggested last year.

During its regular meeting the board heard a 45-minute presentation from the Riverhead-based Studio A/B Architects, which started designing a concept for the eco-park in September. At that time the board authorized funds to prepare a mock-up.

The preliminary proposal suggests the project could make the village energy independent and even help stabilize residents’ electric bills.

To meet those energy goals, alternative power sources would be established at both Clark’s Beach and the village sewage treatment plant on Moore’s Lane. The plan calls for a wind turbine of about one-megawatt capacity at each site and solar arrays generating roughly 2 to 3 megawatts of solar power. Most of the solar energy — two megawatts — would be generated at the sewage plant.

In addition to providing alternative energy, Clark’s Beach could also be developed as a public park with trails, camping facilities, an educational facility and a conference center.

The buildings’ themes would revolve around concepts related to the sun, earth, wind and water. A community garden and composting area, solar charging station for electric vehicles and a boardwalk are all included in the concept, as well as up to twenty cabins or campsites that would be available to the public for overnight accommodations. Studio AB Architects depicted the cabins with sundials, green roofs and natural ventilation.

Southold resident Lillian Ball, who assisted Studio A/B in presenting the design concept, said education would be the driving force behind the project.

“We’re talking about making something an energy park, but there’s other elements that make people care about it and want to maintain it,” she said.

“It adds yet another aspect of coming out here,” said Glynis Berry, a partner in Studio A/B and an Orient resident. “We already have agritourism, and adding ecotourism to this mix is a natural combination. We think this will benefit businesses and showcase what people can do.”

For the eco-park to become a reality, the site would need to undergo a host of improvements. Previous farming, sand mining and illegal dumping has damaged much of the area. Removing debris and invasive species are among the initial hurdles.

Upfront costs for the project were not addressed during the meeting, but the mayor said construction would depend on grant availability and financing scenarios.

“Either the funds will work or they won’t,” he said. “We have to wait for the grant process. I think the numbers will work out.”

Mr. Nyce emphasized that the project is in its very early stages. The next step, he said, is soliciting support from the public and county, state and federal officials before applying for grants.

“This can’t be done with one entity,” Ms. Berry said. “There need to be partners.”

See below for the full Clark’s Beach proposal.

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Greenport Village’s Eco Energy Park presentation, March 25, 2013

03/26/13 7:00pm
03/26/2013 7:00 PM

FILE PHOTO | The Greenport Village Board voted in favor of suspending the policy of no open containers of alcohol in public for the Maritime Festival.

Alcohol will be available during this year’s Maritime Festival.

The Village Board voted 4-1 on Monday in favor of suspending the policy of no open containers of alcohol in public between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sept. 21 and 22, the dates of this year’s festival.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips cast the lone no vote. She said she was not necessarily against the policy suspension, but was looking for additional information from the East End Seaport Museum, which puts on the festival to raise funds. Her motion to table the resolution failed for lack of a second.

“At this point I feel like it would be best to talk about it to have a better handle about what’s going on,” Ms. Phillips said. “We need to be smart about it.”

Mayor David Nyce said the decision to temporarily waive the village’s public open container laws would not give vendors of alcoholic beverages free reign. The East End Seaport Museum is required to operate the festival within parameters the board will set in upcoming months, Mr. Nyce said.

“If we want to stipulate to them that they not have people vending beer in the park we can do that separately,” he said. “This resolution has nothing to do with that.”

The village has always suspended the open container ban during the festival, allowing visitors to stroll the streets with plastic glasses and bottles of beer and other alcoholic beverages in hand.

During the recent village election, all three candidates, including Ms. Phillips and Trustee-elect Julia Robins, opposed lifting the ban.

In a separate resolution, board members voted unanimously to approve the public assembly permit application needed to hold the event.

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03/01/13 3:00pm
03/01/2013 3:00 PM
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | The Intuition II, shown here in 2012, is one of the largest private yachts in the world, docked each summer across the bay in Sag Harbor.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | The Intuition II, shown here in 2012, is one of the largest private yachts in the world. It’s docked each summer across the bay in Sag Harbor.

The Greenport Village Board voted Monday night to approve on electrical upgrades to the east pier at Mitchell Park Marina, a project that could cost as much as $400,000.

The village will pay for the work by floating bonds, with the expectation that some of the expense will be recovered through increased revenue from the rental of docks with upgraded electrical connections, Mayor David Nyce said at Monday’s meeting.

The move is aimed at luring mega yachts, some of whose captains are in negotiations to help Greenport foot the bill for the electrical power, to the deepwater port, the mayor said.

Many of those mega yachts dock part-time in Sag Harbor, but when their owners aren’t on board, professional captains and crews have the option to dock where they please, said Mr. Nyce, adding that many captains prefer to be in Greenport.

“The owners don’t care but the crews would prefer to be here than Sag Harbor,” he said. “It’s easier to get in and out [of the port] and there’s more for them to do.

“We’re in a Catch 22 with mega yachts. They do bring in a lot of money,” said Mr. Nyce, adding that the yachts also require expanded services. “I’m comfortable we’ll realize a return on that investment.”

Also at Monday’s board meeting, fisherman Sidney Smith asked the board why they were allowing the New York City fireboat Fire Fighter to dock at the railroad dock, which he said is supposed to be reserved for commercial fishermen.

Mr. Smith said he believes there’s a severe problem with electrolysis in the water surrounding the pier, which causes premature rusting and deterioration of metal boat materials.

He said his own boat has 60 zincs on its keel, small detachable pieces of zinc attached to the hull to absorb the electrolysis. He said he has to replace them all each year at a cost of $75 apiece.

“You’ve got a lot of problems down there. There are live electrical wires everywhere, wires in the water,” he said. “There’s electrolysis down there to beat the band. I give it a year and a half [for the fireboat] and you’ve got a problem.

The fireboat is currently docked at Mitchell Park Marina pending a determination by Suffolk County on whether it can dock at the railroad pier instead.

“I’m not against any fireboat,” said Mr. Smith, “but it’s filled in there. I draw 11.5 feet in the middle of the dock and I churn up mud. That boat’s not going to fit in there. If it goes up there, it’ll never get out of there.”

Mr. Nyce said the village intends to work out the docking logistics with the owners of boats currently using the railroad dock.

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01/27/12 12:37pm
01/27/2012 12:37 PM

JUDY AHRENS FILE PHOTO | With tall ships as backdrop, Colin Van Tuyl directs the Greenport Band in Mitchell Park during the 2004 Tall Ships of America's tour.

As Greenport Village finalizes plans for the tall ships visit set for Memorial Day weekend, the event’s steering committee has decided on ticket prices this week.

Tickets to tour six ships will cost $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and children under the age of 12 can enter for free. The village is exploring whether the event can also be free for Greenport residents, officials said.

In 2004, when Tall Ships of America last visited Greenport, the village did not charge an entry fee. It was awarded a state grant to offset the cost of ship appearance fees.

Since that grant came through the defunct “I Love New York” tourism marketing program, Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said charging an entry fee will help offset the cost of the $130,000 appearance fees.

“I wish it could be free, but trying to raise the funds through corporate sponsorship has been difficult in this economic climate,” Mr. Nyce said. “But for a family of four with two children under 12, the cost is $14 to tour six ships. I still think that’s a real bargain. You can’t even get one baseball ticket for that price.”

On Monday, the Village Board is expected to vote on contracts with the owners of the Picton-Castle, whose home port is Lunenburg, Nova Scotia; the Lynx, a replica of an 1812 warship; the Unicorn from New Jersey, which has an all-female crew; and the Pride of Baltimore II.

Last month, the village approved a $30,000 contract for the Bounty, a Greenport-based class A vessel, which is the largest of the ships. Summerwind a schooner ship that belongs to the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, is also expected to make an appearance at the event.

“The entire community is going to pull together to make sure [tall ships] works,” Mr. Nyce said. “The hope is that everybody benefits and we have a nice event.”

In May, the sail will start in Savannah, Ga. and visit Charleston, S.C. before stopping at Greenport Harbor. The tour will then continue onto Newport, R.I. and finish in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The fleet of vessels will race against each other between ports.

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12/21/10 9:03pm
12/21/2010 9:03 PM

On Monday, Greenport Mayor David Nyce gave Village Board members a list of five capital improvement projects he is recommending for future development. The list was not made public and won’t be until January to give trustees a chance to consider the items, the mayor said at the board’s Monday work session.

Not on the list, Mr. Nyce said, are the two major utilities projects already under way — the wastewater treatment plant and upgrades to the electric department plant.

With money tight, all five projects can’t be started next year, Mr. Nyce said. Instead, he is asking the Village Board to prioritize the list and, in 2011, he said, he and the trustees will begin to explore possible sources of funding.

In an effort to save money, Trustee Michael Osinski said he would explore the possibility of seeking loans for the village privately instead of through the public bond market.

He said individuals or corporations might be willing to lend the village $3 million to $4 million to pay down its debt at a more reasonable rate than it might cost the village to refinance with a traditional loan.

The village owes more than $7 million, some of which will be paid between now and 2014. But Greenport would face a difficult time paying the remaining debt without some form of refinancing, Mr. Osinksi said.

It has been a long process, but Friends of Mitchell Park — a trust charged with administering money left by Pauline Mitchell in her will for park maintenance and activities — has finally obtained tax-exempt status to accept contributions. The announcement was made by village attorney Joseph Prokop, who was then finally willing to identify the trust’s board members. They are village residents Teresa Taylor, Rosemary Gabriel, William Price Jr., Jerry Tuthill and Lynn Loveless.

Besides making decisions on how money might be used to benefit the park, the trust also can apply for grants that could benefit park development but are not available to municipalities, Mr. Nyce said.

Village Board members are expected to act Monday night, Dec. 27, on three proposed parking and traffic regulations.
One would make it illegal to park at fire hydrants or in spaces reserved for handicapped individuals. A second would extend from

10 to 30 minutes the time allotted at certain marked parking spaces in downtown and limit parking to two hours in other downtown areas. The third would make Webb Street west of First Street a one-way road heading west.

Mr. Osinski told fellow board members he thinks two hour spaces should be changed to four or six hours. He also suggested that the parking regulations be enforced only during summer and early fall months when parking is tight in downtown.

“We need to enforce our parking,” Mr. Osinski said. But two-hour limits could be too tight for visitors who might come to the village to skate, shop and eat, he said.

He also suggested use of meters to control parking during the summer. Assuming the resolutions pass, the board would next address how to enforce parking limits.

Mr. Osinski wants to know exactly how much the East End Seaport Museum and Maritime Foundation made from leasing public space to vendors during the annual Maritime Festival in September. It’s not the first time he has asked for the figures and he suggested Monday night that the organization’s board is ignoring the request,

Village clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo, who serves on the seaport board, said that’s not the case. Financials are still being tabulated, with some bills still outstanding.

To avoid a conflict of interest for Ms. Pirillo, village treasurer Charlene Kagel said she would follow up with seaport board members to get the requested information.

Bow hunting for deer in Moore’s Woods may be permitted in the future. Noting the proliferation of deer on the North Fork, Mr. Nyce is asking Village Board members to consider whether to give bow hunters access to Moore’s Woods to try to thin the herd. He pointed out that meat from the deer bow hunters take from public lands is prepared for distribution to shelters and food pantries that provide sustenance for people in need.
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