The Greenport Village Council voted last month to extend the moratorium on development of the three downtown business districts for another six months, according to the minutes of the April 20 board meeting.

In December, the board of directors issued what village officials called a “moratorium” on development, temporarily restricting any new projects in the village’s business districts: general commercial, retail commercial and waterfront commercial.

Last month, the Suffolk County Planning Board voted to give the village another two-month moratorium, but the village council voted unanimously to extend the moratorium by six months, overturning county officials’ main recommendation by a supermajority vote.

The village did follow the county’s recommendation to separate the moratorium from efforts to update the local waterfront revitalization plan.

“We listened not only to the community, but also to the Suffolk County Planning Commission,” Greenport Mayor Kevin Stuessi said at an April board meeting.

Before running for mayor, Mr. Stuessi spearheaded a successful petition campaign that persuaded the previous board to pass the moratorium and later won the election in a landslide.

“Our goal is to complete the code update by the end of the summer before Labor Day to continue the work of LWRP,” Mr. Stuessi said. “That way, the ability to unsuspend is not tied to any completion of the LWRP.”

Village trustee Kevin Brennan noted that the moratorium “has galvanized the community and brought attention to our planning and regulatory needs,” saying time remains of the essence.

“Six months is actually the shortest time we can do this,” he said.

Extrapolating backwards from the six-month endpoint, Mr Brennan estimates the council has about a month to “consider these code changes”.

At the SCPC meeting on March 1, village trustee Julia Robins defended the need for the village’s moratorium, saying it was a “unique situation”.

“I want to put a historical perspective on why I think this is a unique situation in Greenport,” Ms Robbins told the planning commissioner. “There’s a commercial area in the village that’s intertwined with residential areas. That has implications for parking.”

Ms. Robbins added that “even a single building has a direct impact on the area” of increased use, noting that Greenport’s business district has declined with the arrival of Riverhead’s massive development along County Road 58 .

“This development has forced most of the small retail businesses on Front and Main streets to close.[s] Residents used to buy most of their clothes, home goods, hardware and sundries,” she said. “A lot of businesses closed down, and the downtown business district had a depressed feel to it. The development of Mitchell Park and Marina began the turnaround of the village. “

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