The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees kicked off the new year Tuesday, Jan. 3, with business and general meetings covering public expenditures, code changes and public safety.
East Beach bluff
Mayor Margot Garant announced that the village received $3.75 million for a proposed upper wall at Port Jefferson Country Club. The funds were made available through the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Hazard Mitigation Assistance grant program, facilitated by the office of Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY).
The clubhouse facility at PJCC lies atop the East Beach bluff, which has rapidly eroded in recent years. Now the clubhouse is dangerously close to the bluff’s edge. [See story, “On the edge: Port Jeff Village weighs the fate of country club,” The Port Times Record, April 7.]
In an email from Schumer’s office, the senator outlined his reasons for supporting this coastal engineering project.
“This money will fund efforts to stabilize the crumbling East Beach bluff, where village recreation facilities are currently threatened due to the chronic erosion,” he said. “I worked to secure funding as soon as Mayor Garant reached out to me, and I am glad that with her partnership, we have obtained this funding — not only to preserve village assets but to ensure public safety and protect residents’ pocketbooks.”
Garant said the federal funds would support the construction of an upland wall between the clubhouse and the bluff, potentially shielding the building from further coastal erosion at East Beach.
“That money will help us save that building and restore the facilities as they preexisted up there,” she said. “We definitely have to recognize Senator Schumer’s action,” adding, “We have put that project out to bid. We have our letter of non-jurisdiction from the [New York State Department of Environmental Conservation], so we are ready to go on that project.”
The former Gap property, located on Arden Place in Lower Port, was recently acquired by new ownership. Garant reported that plans for that property are still preliminary with the zoning and planning departments but hinted at the potential for mixed-used use of the space.
The new owner “is looking at a wet space on the first floor — sort of a food court concept that we had all kind of discussed,” she said. “And then possibly a second and third level, and perhaps a boutique hotel, which we welcome.” Devoting the space to apartments may also be on the table, Garant added.
At the request of the director of economic development, parking administrator and communications committee head Kevin Wood, the board voted to evenly split the managed parking revenue generated during the 26th annual Charles Dickens Festival between the village and the Greater Port Jefferson-Northern Brookhaven Arts Council.
“This will bring us back into the black and help the arts council survive,” Garant said.
Country club manager
The board additionally approved the hire of Thomas Natola as general manager of the Port Jefferson Country Club at an annual salary of $139,000. Stan Loucks, trustee liaison to the country club, said Natola comes highly recommended by previous employers.
“Nobody had anything negative to say about Tom,” Loucks said. “Everything was positive.”
The board also held two public hearings during the general meeting. The first hearing dealt with a proposed change establishing Station Street, a one-way street between the Port Jefferson Crossing apartments and the train station. The amendment includes multiple provisions, preventing left turns onto the corridor as well as parking, stopping and standing.
Following a public hearing, the board approved the amendment unanimously. To read how Station Street received its name, see story, “Democracy and tech intersect to name Station Street in uptown Port Jeff,” The Port Times Record, Dec. 22.
The second hearing gave residents a chance to weigh in on a proposed $800,000 grant application through the Restore New York Communities Initiative, offering financial assistance to Conifer Realty. The funds would help Conifer demolish blighted buildings, clearing the way for its proposed Conifer II redevelopment at the Main and Perry streets intersection. Following the public hearing, the board approved the application unanimously.
Fred Leute, chief of code enforcement, discussed the busy work of his department last month. Leute said code enforcement officers responded promptly on two occasions to resolve emergencies. For these efforts, the village board acknowledged multiple code officers, who were awarded proclamations and given a standing ovation from those in attendance.
To view this public commendation and to watch the trustee reports, see video below.