House sails away to a new home in Mashomack

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO | A house floating from Smith Cove Friday afternoon to a new home in Mashomack.

If you were around South Ferry Friday afternoon you saw something that made you look twice.

It was the startling site of a house floating across from Smith Cove. A tugboat pulled a barge that supported the house through the water where it was transported to a new site on the main campus of Mashomack Preserve. It will be used as an outbuilding.

Last October, the Nature Conservancy, which operates Mashomack Preserve, won Town Board approval for a wetlands permit to float the house and over the beach to its new home.

Besides the need for a wetlands permit, the board discussed the possibility of eventually creating a new zoning area that would affect public properties such as the Preserve and Sylvester Manor to free them from more restrictive zoning limiting the number of buildings they could have on their properties.

The Town Board did approve a wetlands permit that allowed moving of this one building, but has yet to take any action on zoning.

In the course of the discussion on the wetlands permit, Building Permit Examiner Mary Wilson said the application was simple and did not involve building anything in the vegetative and regulated areas that extend 75 and 100 feet from wetlands, respectively. She said the Conservancy had filed an application for a Suffolk County Health Department permit for the septic system that will serve the structure at its new site, but that wasn’t a wetlands issue or a factor in the house-moving process.

Town Councilman Peter Reich said it was the first wetlands application to come before the board that did not call for a waiver of the limits on construction in the regulated area.

“It really only involves the hours” that the house will be hauled over the beach and into the preserve, he said.