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Waterways Advisory Council looks at code change

BEVERLEA WAZLZ PHOTO Kayaks lining Wades Beach.

BEVERLEA WAZLZ PHOTO Kayaks lining Wades Beach.

Owners of small boats, such as kayaks, who leave them in the water or beached on town-owned property during the warm weather season must remove them between December 15 and March 30 of each year.

But that doesn’t always happen, creating problems and expenses for the town. The town has the right to remove the crafts after giving owners a 21-day notice and can auction them off to recover costs associated with the removal. Bay Constable Peter Vielbig had suggested eliminating the 21-day notice, according to the Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC).

Giving notice isn’t always possible, since many owners fail to attach stickers to the boats identifying themselves. And what’s worse, after a storm, the boats that should have been removed are found floating in the water leaving the bay constable to wonder if someone has fallen off a boat and drowned.

The WMAC is now working with the Mr. Vielbig to study the current code with an eye to revising it and encourage improved compliance with the law.

There was discussion about increasing fines for those who could be identified in order to discourage people from failing to secure and label their crafts and remove them during the off season. As it stands now, owners of crafts that the town has to pick up and store are charged a storage fee.

Ultimately, it will fall to the Town Board to determine whether there’s a need for changes in the code.

The WMAC is struggling with a provision in the town code that prohibits changes to docks if they are already considered nonconforming.

To date, the WMAC has either rejected applications to change nonconforming docks or required significant givebacks that presented reasons for recommending that changes be allowed.

Such givebacks might include shortening the length of an existing dock or taking out floating docks connected to the main dock. But basically, the WMAC looks for reasons to stop the floodgates from opening with a host of applications that would increase nonconformities from the town code.

WMAC Chairman John Needham found himself particularly troubled by recent applications that he thought offered givebacks but were insufficient to distinguish them from previous applications the WMAC had rejected.

Members gave a 3-3 vote to a proposal from Peter Levensen for changes to a nonconforming dock in Dering Harbor. One member, Mike Anglin, was absent while three participated via a televised hookup because they were out of town. Members are allowed to vote if they are participating at a meeting where they can be viewed on screen to ensure their identities.

“I have a lot of chips to trade,” Mr. Levensen said, explaining that the new dock arrangement would reduce the footprint from the current dock and have less impact in Dering Harbor.

But he was unwilling to give up splash boards on the proposed new structure and that bothered some of WMAC members.

It will fall to the Town Board to make a final decision on whether or not to grant Mr. Levensen’s application.

Greg Nissen and marine contractor Jack Costello had their hands full in winning five votes to recommend changes to a dock in West Neck Creek sought by Daniel Lord Road LLC. The passageway is narrow, but the men agreed not to ask for any movement of moorings that are in an area they said belongs to the limited liability corporation.

That won the day with all but Al Loreto, who voted “no” on the application. As he saw it, there were insufficient givebacks to justify changes to an already nonconforming dock.
Frank Ciacco secured a 6-0 recommendation for a dock in Coecles Harbor.

Bill Geraghty, a WMAC member, had to recuse himself, but returned to the room after the vote to learn that the other five members had approved his application for a dock in West Neck Creek.