Port Jefferson residents on Monday debated the village's plan to purchase a harborfront parking lot and marina from Brookhaven Town for $8 million.

Many residents at a village board meeting said it appeared to be a great deal, while some called for a public referendum on the plan.

Mayor Margot J. Garant has said the 299-space lot could help alleviate parking shortages in the village and generate new revenue. She said the board would vote on the proposal at its Dec. 1 meeting.

Some residents at Monday's meeting said they believed the village could improve the 8.8-acre facility, which includes Mary Bayles Park, property leased by the Port Jefferson ferry, and a marina with about 174 boat slips.

One resident, Michael LeVine, said the village's proposal to increase slip fees by about 62 percent would "raise some hackles" among boaters, but he supported the plan to buy the property.

"This is a great proposal," LeVine told a standing-room-only crowd of about 75 people at the Village Center. "I think the village would be crazy not to do this deal."

Others questioned what they called hidden costs such as security and trash pickup at the property and said the plan should be put up for a referendum.

"It's going to be increased monumentally by this," Donald Pawluk Sr. said, referring to security costs. "An $8 million expenditure should go to a village-wide vote."

Garant told residents the village plans to increase parking by 80 to 100 spaces and introduce metered parking to increase revenue from the lot. Tax rates won't be affected because revenue from parking and boat slips would offset annual costs of about $620,000 to $770,000 to pay off a 15- or 20-year bond, she said.

She said the lot and marina are projected to earn about $961,757 in revenue the first year and cost about $909,500. The village hopes to create new boat slips for historic tall ships and larger yachts, she said.

"We see this as a new economic engine for the village of Port Jefferson," Garant said. "We see this as a once in a lifetime opportunity."

Garant added that the lot and marina could become a "cash cow" that may help the village withstand the anticipated loss of tax revenue if the Long Island Power Authority closes or curtails use of the power plant located in the village.

"Every time I look at that lot, I know that lot could look a lot better," she said. "I don't think we can afford not to do this."

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

LI unemployment rate up . . . Day trip to Ocean Beach . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV Credit: Newsday

LI unemployment rate up . . . Day trip to Ocean Beach . . . Get the latest news and more great videos at NewsdayTV

SUBSCRIBE

Unlimited Digital AccessOnly 25¢for 5 months

ACT NOWSALE ENDS SOON | CANCEL ANYTIME ONLINE