Greenport nixes added planner and may ax another

GREENPORT–The town Planning Board won’t be reconfigured to the seven members most such boards in the county have.

By a vote of 3 to 2 Wednesday, March 3, the Town Board killed a proposal that would have expanded the board to 7 members from the current 6.

“I don’t believe in more government,” said Supervisor Ed Nabozny before the vote, “but I do believe in more people being involved in government.”

“There are a lot of hot spots available for development in town,” warned Councilman Guy Apicella, who joined the supervisor in voting Yes.

Councilman Thomas Fleming, who voted No with Keith Mortefolio and Gary Graziano, said a larger board would be “less effective and more cumbersome.”

Sixteen Columbia County towns and the City of Hudson have seven-member boards.

Greenport’s Town Board will vote next month on moving to a five-person Planning Board.

That proposal also includes–as did the one defeated last week–removing the mandate that one Planning Board member come from the agricultural sector. The consensus was that there are so few farms left in the town that the requirement is superfluous.

Also at the March meeting, the board:

*Agreed to submit a request for a reduction of the speed limit on accident-plagued Middle Road to 35 miles per hour from the current 55. The request goes to the county Highway Department, which will forward it to the state Department of Transportation

*Heard that the Columbia County Industrial Development Agency meets March 10 to consider an application from Local Ocean for a 15-year, sliding scale payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) agreement for a planned $10 million expansion of its fish-farming operation

*Heard that the IDA holds a special meeting Friday, March 12, at 8 a.m. at 401 State Street, to receive a new application from the Widewaters Group for a proposed Kohl’s department store at Greenport Commons on Fairview Avenue. The IDA voted in January not to consider a bid for a 20-year PILOT; at that time, Widewaters representatives said that meant Kohl’s would not come to town

*Heard from Water/Wastewater Superintendent John Mokszycki that applications to use the Town Park are already coming in thick and fast

*Approved spending up to $1,000 for a laptop computer for the Police Department that will allow better access to state systems and databases.

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