The underdog came out on top at May 22’s Southold Town Board meeting as the board granted a permit for the 2nd Annual North Fork Dock Diving Pet Festival and fundraiser.
The board unanimously adopted a resolution that “ratifies the publishing of the notice of public hearing for the appeal by Greenport Harbor Brewing Company of the denial of its application for a Special Event Permit.” Councilwoman Jill Doherty recused herself from the vote.
The event is set to run on June 2 and 3 at the Greenport Brewery in Peconic from 9 AM to 5 PM. It will be co-hosted by Harbor Pet at the brewing company’s Peconic location on Main Road. Dog owners sign up their pets for a competition to see how far and high the dogs can jump, and how fast they can swim in a pool. The event is free.
“We are local. We are invested in the community and support the community around us. We don’t do these events because they are money makers. We do it because it’s the right thing to do, to support the community and our neighbors,” said Brewery co-owner Rich Vandenburgh.
He also briefed the board of various ways in which the brewing company has contributed to the community, such as hosting fundraisers and donating to local charities and causes.
Earlier this year, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company had its request for a special event permit denied by the Southold Zoning Board of Appeals.
The board noted that Southold Town Police Chief Martin Flatley had cited parking issues as a main concern in allowing the event to move forward. It was reported that during the same event last year, a surplus of vehicles was parked along Route 25, or Main Road, and on town-owned parcels at Peconic Recreation or Community Centers.
“For the record, we never told anyone to park on town property,” Vandenburgh said.
The appeal was granted under the condition no vehicles will park on Main Road, Peconic Lane, or on any town-owned property. In addition, it was stated that that there be no loud music after 5 PM.
Vandenburgh, who applied for the permit and the appeal, said that, as a solution, this year’s event will offer shuttles from two off-site parking areas that will run to the brewery every 20 minutes.
The off-site locations are at 36450 County Road 48 and 1410 Leslie Road.
Parking is extremely limited at the brewery in Peconic and is available on a first come, first serve basis at $10 per spot. Councilman Jim Dinizio asked how many parking spaces were allowed on the brewery’s property, and Vandenburgh stated there were only 110.
Vandenburgh explained to the board that this year, signs would tell drivers not to park on Main Road or on town property and will also direct people to the off-site parking locations. He also said that because last year’s event was so successful, it made him realize there was a need to handle parking differently and that he chose a date prior to July 1 to avoid increased seasonal traffic.
“The town has a responsibility,” said Dinizio. “You had a site plan and you agreed to certain things. We’re not looking at how gracious you are, how much money you give, or even if the organization is worthy. We’re looking at the entire town and how the flow of the town works.”
Vandenburgh said he expects many attendees to arrive by bus, Uber, taxi, or on foot after leaving vehicles at other vineyards.
The issue was concluded when Supervisor Scott Russell said he supported issuing the permit to Vandenburgh, but that there was a need for “more self-awareness and concern on the town’s part on intensity of uses.”