The Bayville Village Board late Tuesday night approved a zoning change that opens the way for a Manhattan-based developer to build a 23-room inn and restaurant on long-vacant waterfront property.
The 5-2 vote to allow “seaside inns” in the village occurred after contentious public hearings during which supporters argued that an inn would bring customers to local businesses and tax revenue to village coffers, and opponents worried about the inn polluting the Sound and eventually turning into a government-subsidized apartment building.
Al Carfora, 65, a supporter of the zoning change, said the vacant site, the former Steve’s Pier One restaurant, is “an eyesore.”
“I’m tired of seeing a pile of dirt at the end of Bayville Park Boulevard with a chain-link fence around it,” he said.
But some residents urged the North Shore village to instead turn the site into a park or community center, an option that Village Trustee Harry Pinkerton III said after the meeting would be too costly.
The measures passed Tuesday allow inns with between four and 30 rooms in the village’s three business districts. Until the vote, overnight accommodations were not permitted in Bayville.
Michael Gjoni, owner of Soundview Caterers, a Bayville banquet hall, said after the meeting that he loses events to other halls because there is no upscale accommodation nearby.
Carla Panetta, 51, said “Bayville is behind the times in not having a boutique hotel.”
But Ron Ruel, 53, worried that if the inn isn’t successful, the owner would turn it into government-subsidized housing.
Jim Alessi, 62, urged trustees to ban kitchenettes in inn rooms to discourage potential conversion into apartments — something the board opted not to do.
Trustee John Taylor said concerns about apartments were unfounded because the village currently limits apartment buildings to four units. Inn opponents say the village board could loosen that restriction..
Taylor, Mayor Paul Rupp, Deputy Mayor Joe Russo and Trustees Pinkerton and Tim Charon voted for the zoning change. Trustees Timothy Fay and Peter Valsecchi Jr. voted against it.
Craig Kirsch, managing partner of developer Euroamerican Funding Group LLC, said by phone after the meeting that he plans to meet with Bayville officials, business leaders and residents in coming weeks to get their input on the inn’s design, which has not been finalized.
Kirsch said he hopes to submit a site plan by the end of April and, if it is approved, open the inn by the summer of 2017.
He said the company hasn’t decided whether to propose kitchenettes in the units but said there are no plans to one day turn the rooms into apartments.