Sunday, March 18, 2018

More About the Galvan Motel

At the special meeting of the Board of Supervisors Health and Human Services Committee on Thursday, the question arose about why the rehab of the Sunset Motel had not come before the Greenport Planning Board. Tom Alvarez, whose properties border the motel site on their east and south sides, raised questions about water and drainage and where 2,000 gallons of waste water will go. (The motel has its own well and septic tank--systems that, according to Alvarez, are more than sixty years old.) Alvarez and others insisted that these concerns would have been addressed had the project been subjected to site plan review by the Greenport Planning Board. 

Kathy Eldridge, Greenport town supervisor, explained that because the area was zoned for a motel (a rather remarkable statement since Greenport has no zoning) and this was not a change of use, a site plan review by the Planning Board was not a requirement. Dan Kent assured Alvarez and the group that Galvan's project engineer and the Greenport building inspector were addressing all the issues, and they were developing the space "in full compliance with the code."

Although questions may linger in the minds of project's opponents, the Galvan Foundation has erected a new sign at the motel. One wonders if the new sign was needed because people were stopping there looking to check in.



  1. When you run the Sunset Motel through the DEC's "EAF Mapper," the program automatically registers a "Yes" for regulated wetlands. That's because a tributary crosses the property in the woods behind the motel, which is easily seen on the County's satellite-view tax map.

    If there is truly a potential for more guests than the average rate (I'd have no idea), then that's a planned intensification of use and a potential "change in use" under the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).

    In the event that Galvan is preparing the facility for greater habitation than usual, and given the fact that there's a regulated wetland on the property, then the Board of Supervisors as the likely Lead Agency should require the Galvan Foundation to submit a Short Environmental Assessment Form (SEAF), pursuant to SEQRA.

    Part II of the SEAF is completed by the Lead Agency, which must address questions relating to "impact on community character" (question #2); "impact on [wastewater] systems" (#7); and "impact on natural resources" (#9); and so on.

    Depending on the number of visitors anticipated at the facility, if the Board of Supervisors ignores SEQR in the first place then, technically, it can claim it never knew enough to suspect negative impacts to a regulated wetlands by a fragile and potentially overused septic system.

    That's why those who ignore or cheat SEQRA can be challenged in court.

  2. Ignoring and accepting Galvan 'carte blanche' is the plan.