Greenport’s new mayor and council members held their first joint meeting with Southold Town Council on Tuesday to discuss how the governing bodies can work together to address a set of shared challenges and aspirations. Topics range from policing and law enforcement to housing, transportation, and conservation in Greenport’s commercial waterfront.

Village trustee Mary Bess Phillips said she recently learned that Community Conservation Fund funds that are typically earmarked for protecting agricultural land could also be used to purchase development rights on the village’s waterfront to preserve its historic character.

The working waterfront is one of Greenport’s most prized and threatened assets. Village officers and volunteers have been hard at work in many subcommittees in recent months to update the village bylaw and draft the final revision of the Greenport Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan.Mayor Kevin Stuessi said the board aims to deliver the updated LWRP to the state by the end of the summer

Southold Town and Greenport Village officials vowed Tuesday to work together to protect the village’s important working waterfront. (Credit: Chris Francescani/Sunset Beach Films)

Ms. Phillips said she learned that CPF funding could be used to protect commercial waterfronts while working with Long Island Farm Board President Karen Rivera and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski.

On Tuesday, Southold Town director Scott Russell confirmed it was possible.

“It was an interesting conversation,” Ms Phillips said. Still, she notes that the idea is in its infancy, and cautions that it may not be the best solution. “It has a lot of problems,” she said in an interview after the meeting. “You have to be careful because when you sell development rights, you have to be sure [future allowable] use of the property”, since the permitted use cannot be changed once established.

Town council member Sarah Nappa shared Ms Phillips’ caution. “Our biggest challenge in agriculture … is what is going to be allowed for those reserved spaces,” she said. “But the idea of ​​protecting a working part of the waterfront is going to take some serious work to really map out what we want there … that way, we’re not preventing things from happening. We’re promoting what we want. “

Ms Phillips cautioned that town and village regulations needed to be harmonized so that, as village trustee Patrick Brennan added, “these updated plans make sense for all of us.”

Policing and Homelessness

Noting that a second Southold Town police officer was assigned to patrol the village on foot this summer, Mayor Stuessi said his board also sees the need for a staffed police precinct in central Greenport. That way, residents can find an officer for help if needed, he said.

Village members also welcome the appointment of a year-round Greenport police officer to address specific off-season challenges, including homelessness, he added.

“Our village has been hit especially hard, a small group of people have been [housing] challenge, it’s great to have someone who has a direct connection to the police department,” Mr Stuci said.

He also described recent efforts to condemn and raze dangerous and abandoned homes in the village where the homeless have been sleeping during the colder months.

Southold Town board member Greg Doroski agreed the rural police precinct was a good idea, but said it was ultimately a matter of resources. “If the budget is X, would you rather work in the field or manage the office?” he asked.

Mr Russell agreed, saying he believed homelessness was a “more humanitarian” issue than policing.

transport and roads

Mr. Brennan raised another concern, telling town council members that the eastbound “entrance” to Greenport Village — via Route 25 and the intersection of Routes 25 and 48 — is the important concerns, but both are outside its jurisdiction. He said village officials were concerned with “how people arrive” and urged “a certain sensitivity to the aesthetics of how these areas are developed”.

Mr Russell proposed changing the structure of the town’s building review committee to allow for a dedicated seat for the village’s representative.

Mr. Stuessi is also seeking to build a united front with the town on improving public transportation in North Fork. Describing his trip to Riverhead for the conference, the mayor said that while he was able to get to Riverhead from Greenport via public transportation, he would need to “spend a fortune for an Uber” to get back in time.

short term rental

Stressing the need to crack down on illegal short-term rentals in Southold, Mr Doroski was alarmed by a consultant’s report estimating there were more than 700 illegal rentals in the town.

Eliminating those illegal short-term rentals “would go a long way towards solving the [housing] problem,” he said

Mr. Stuessi said the village had thoroughly reviewed proposals from tech companies for software that would automatically identify illegal short-term rentals.

The software will “allow us to cast a net and quickly determine whether someone is complying,” he said, promising to share the village’s findings with the town council.

code execution

On the issue of code enforcement, Greenport trustee Lily Dougherty-Johnson sought better coordination among the board. Jill Doherty, a town council member, said she will connect the village bylaw enforcer with the town attorney’s office, which oversees enforcement across the town.

Both cities have struggled to attract and retain law enforcement officers because the salaries and benefits packages they offer do not entice capable applicants, officials said.

When Mr Stuessi said the village was currently recruiting for two law enforcement positions, Ms Doherty simply smiled and said, “Good luck”, to laughter from the audience.

Greenport’s newly elected village council members met with the Southold Town Council on Tuesday. (Image credit: Chris Francescani)

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