Greenport Village could be poised to consider a new policy relating to drinking in all public parks.
At Monday's village board work session, Village Clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo said she had been working with Village Administrator Dave Abatelli on different ways to upgrade the current mass public assembly permit regarding use of alcohol in public parks.
One idea, Lazzari Pirillo sai, would be to create a two-part approval process, that would allow the village board to vote on the initial event permit -- and then, separately, on whether or not to allow alcohol at the event.
The section regarding alcohol use would have its own rules and regulations, she said -- and would include sections pertaining to issues such as a controlled area for drinking, amount, wristbands, distribution and a contact person for the event. "We have to be very specific," she said.
The new procedure would pertain to all public parks in Greenport, not just Mitchell Park, Lazzari Pirilllo said.
"We are working on a draft upgraded permit appication to include all those points," she said.
Trustee George Hubbard Jr said he would like to see the draft. "This is just a recommendation that we will review. We're not saying we're changing anything," he said. "This just gives us more to work with. But we'll have the final say."
Hubbard added that the application applies to large events and fundraisers held in the village -- not events held by small groups or gatherings, such as Fire Department affairs, where beer is distributed to members for their private consumption from coolers and not sold for profit. "We police our own people," he said.
Abatelli said the village was not touching the concept of beer gardens, which have been set up in the past during big events, but said the new policy would involve only mass public assembly permits, such as cocktail parties or dinners hosted by yacht clubs or other organizations, and fundraisers. The only place where alcohol is currently allowed, he said, is on the village's floating docks. The new application would apply to all events planned for village parks, he added.
Greenport Village Trustee David Murray asked how the proposed changes would affect events such as the "Dancing in the Park" series, where no alcohol is served but "everybody brings it," for picnics.
"That's a police issue," Lazzari Pirillo said.
Abatelli said such events would not be impacted by the proposed changes to the application.
Trustee Chris Kempner asked if there had ever been a problem with public drinking at one of the events in the past and said many village businesses are reliant on beer and wine sales.
"We don't want to be too restrictive," Kempner said.
Hubbard said the intent was to address issues that arise at big events, with tents. As for "people bringing a wine in a cup to 'Dancing in the Park,' we don't want to infringe on that."
Abatelli said the existing mass public assembly permit states drinking is prohibited in the parks and the goal is to address that, too.
Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said the suspension of the open container law at public events, including the Maritime Festival, should also be discussed.
Lazarri Pirillo said normally, the approval of the mass assembly event and the suspension of the open container law are done simultaneously for the Maritime Festival but they could be considered separately.
Phillips said she would like to hear more about what the East End Seaport Museum & Marine Foundation had planned for future Maritime Festivals in Mitchell Park, and whether the focus would be on "actual maritime displays and events, and not on beer, wine, and food," before considering suspension of the open container law.
Hubbard asked Lazzari Pirillo and Abatalli to come back with a draft for the board to consider; Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce was not present due to illness.