Greenport presses pause on waterfront commercial development

Moratorium in North Fork village to take effect for six months

Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. with the Greenport waterfront (George Hubbard Jr., Google Maps, Getty)
Greenport Mayor George Hubbard Jr. with the Greenport waterfront (George Hubbard Jr., Google Maps, Getty)

Under the dark of a Friday night meeting, the Greenport Village Board made a decision guaranteed to rankle North Fork developers.

The board unanimously adopted an immediate moratorium on development in the waterfront commercial, retail commercial and general commercial districts, the Suffolk Times reported. The moratorium is for six months, though there will be an option to expand it to a full year.

The moratorium is designed to allow time to update the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan after residents and business owners complained of the speed of development along the waterfront.

While the village board adopted the administrative moratorium, it still needs to be finalized. A public hearing is scheduled to be held in two weeks. Additionally, the resolution will need to be sent to the Suffolk County Planning Commission, which will then either kick it back to the village for final approval or request changes to the resolution.

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The moratorium bars developers from applying to build in any of the three districts singled out in the resolution. The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Village Board also can’t issue new permits or certificates of occupancy, though exceptions are allowed on a case-by-case basis, such as to remedy a hazard.

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Trustees of the village began looking at a pause on all development last month. That proposal would’ve been even more restrictive, but a moratorium on building in three major commercial districts is still significant for the village, which has become a trendy hotspot for investors looking to fix up hotels and restaurants in the walkable area.

Local officials in the North Fork are increasingly leaning on moratoriums as a way to slow down development in their communities. The Town of Riverhead is considering an 18-month moratorium on industrial development in Calverton. The hamlet also recently extended a 12-month moratorium on solar projects for a second year.

— Holden Walter-Warner