Greenport considers changes to ease noise complaints at night
Discussions between community members, business owners, and city leaders over proposed changes to zoning codes continued Tuesday in Greenport.
It’s a process that started earlier in the year and has seen large-scale meetings over the last few months.
For Greenport Mayor Kevin Stuessi, the proposed changes serve as a way to protect the future of the historic maritime village and to help local small businesses.
"The fear was that we were going to wake up and our entire historic working waterfront was going to be a bunch of convention hotels and big-banging restaurants,” he said.
The proposed changes to zoning codes came after several meetings and discussions with community members and business owners.
"We needed to create more balance in making certain that things worked well between tourism and people who live here and the businesses that exist here,” said Stuessi.
Included in the proposal is a prohibition of hotels in the waterfront commercial district. Businesses larger than 1,500 square feet, as well as new hotels, would require conditional use permits in specific zoned areas.
Also, businesses would need to apply for a two-year, $250 entertainment permit for live music. The city is waiving the first year of payment for those applying for the permit if the proposed zoning changes pass.
Local musicians like Julia King, who performs all over the East End, expressed some concerns and doubts over the use of entertainment permits.
"How [...] the entertainment permits are really going to serve the community because for me, I just worry that it's another hurdle for business owners to jump through. Even though the fee that they have now established is kind of nominal,” said King. “I'm just concerned that it gives a lot of power to the town to kind of decide who can have it and who can't."
Tora Matsuoka is one of the managing partners at the historic Claudio’s Restaurant. He said he’s really thankful to village officials for holding meetings with the public to answer questions and address concerns.
He feels though that the entertainment permits only look to address one area of the proposals.
"It's a good idea because there's currently very little control or detail in the code regarding entertainment and music,” he said. “That said, it's only one part of a much bigger suggested code change."
As village leaders continue hearing from residents, Matsuoka stressed that the Village Board of Trustees needs to give business owners more time to understand potential impacts of the proposed changes.
"We need more time to better understand what the intended and potentially unintended consequences could be,” he said.
King also said it’s important for everyone to know potential future impacts, both expected and unintended.
"There's a lot of gray areas right now and I think a lot of us are concerned that there is so much gray area that we're worried that bad things might happen even though they're trying to do good,” she said.
Village leaders, including Mayor Stuessi, stress that the code is a living, breathing document and could be subject to more changes in the future if needed.
The next public meeting about the proposals is scheduled for Thursday.