Greenport overhauls zoning, lifts development moratorium

North Fork village scales back parking mandates after outcry

Greenport Moratorium Lifted Following Zoning Changes
Greenport Mayor Kevin Stuessi (Greenport Village Business Improvement District, Getty, Kevin Stuessi for Mayor)

Greenport has become a trendy spot for North Fork visitors and New York City transplants, and investors have responded by acquiring and fixing up local hotels and restaurants. That led the bayside village to enact a development moratorium last winter as it contemplated a series of zoning changes.

It took nine months, but last week the rezoning was enacted and the moratorium was allowed to expire, the Suffolk Times reported. The ban, initially set for six months, was kept in place longer because Greenport needed more time to craft the rezoning, which proved controversial.

Parking was a contentious issue throughout the process. The village board ditched a proposed change that would have required some new or expanding businesses to provide ample parking or pay large fees — $25,000 or $50,000 per space — if they didn’t.

Critics, including Compass agent Bridget Elkin, said Greenport should try to remain a walkable village rather than encourage customers to drive all the way to the doorstep of their destination. The parking requirements, the likes of which have fallen out of favor with urban planners across the country, might have also discouraged entrepreneurs from opening businesses at all.

In the enacted plan, small business and property owners face reduced parking mandates. Larger projects, however, will need to provide a parking analysis that could trigger demands for more spaces.

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The village also changed the zoning of its primary shopping street, making the south side of Front Street standard retail instead of waterfront commercial. As a result, store owners won’t need variances for non-maritime uses.

Businesses will now need permits, however, to host live entertainment, as Greenport seeks to keep loud music and other disruptions in check. The two-year permits will be free until the end of the year, then cost $250 to renew. Businesses with citations won’t be eligible for renewal.

The development moratorium halted project approvals in certain commercial, retail and waterfront districts. The Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Village Board also weren’t able to issue new permits or certificates of occupancy, except to remedy a hazard.

The discussion of the village’s future isn’t over, as Greenport’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan and harbor management plan remain works in progress.

Holden Walter-Warner

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