Hilo gets high five for dock extension

JULIE LANE PHOTO | Hilo Shores Association members Warren Moore (left) and Chuck Kraus made their case Monday night to the Waterways Management Advisory Council for extending a community dock by 20 feet.

When members of the Hilo Shores Association sought to build a community dock about 15 years ago, the idea was rapidly embraced by town officials who viewed the concept as a means of avoiding some 40 individual docks jutting out into West Neck Bay.

But now, while members of the Waterways Management Advisory Council are just as enthusiastic about the group’s application to build a 20-foot extension to that dock, they had to warn the representatives of the association that it will take more time, money and potential aggravation to get the necessary permits in place that will allow the project to proceed.

Councilman Peter Reich, the Town Board’s liaison to the council, warned association members at Monday night’s meeting that they would be well served to hire a professional to handle the  application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The expense of paying a professional marine contractor who knows the ins and outs of such filings can save a lot of money later, Mr. Reich said.

He suggested the group select a marine contractor to tackle the construction and, in putting the job out to bid, include the necessity of the contractor handling the DEC application.

The reason for the extension is that when the dock was originally built, the association allowed boaters to pull up to the dock to discharge passengers, but then the boat had to be taken out to a mooring. Today, there are a number of Hilo Shores residents who fish and come back late at night. The association has changed its requirements to allow them to tie up at the dock. But to accommodate the more expansive use, a larger dock is needed, association member Warren Moore said.

Because the association has to work through the application process with the DEC, it hasn’t formally filed an application with the town. But association members wanted a sense of whether the council would embrace the concept and that much they got Monday night.

The saga of how to restore Reel Point that had sustained erosion even before taking a battering by superstorm Sandy, continues. The latest update from WMAC member Alfred Loreto is that the cost would likely fall entirely on the town as Peconic Land Trust, which owns a preserve on Reel Point, doesn’t want to share the expense. The restoration proposal is “on their radar,” Mr. Loreto said about the DEC and Army Corps of Engineers. He suggested that a letter from Supervisor Jim Dougherty to the DEC explaining how much the landscape has changed since Sandy hit might help to move the application forward.

In other actions, WMAC members are recommending that the Town Board approve five applications for moorings and two applications for bulkhead reconstructions.
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