The Water Management Advisory Council wants to do the right thing if only members knew what the right thing is.
At issue is whether a son whose parents are deceased has a right to a mooring in Dering Harbor last held by his mother, Edith Monks Stark, who died in August 2011.
Charles Stark of 20 Clinton Avenue is asking for a private mooring — the same one his family has had for years — to secure a small boat — the same boat that has been moored in the northwest corner of Dering Harbor.
An initial vote by WMAC members Monday night was recorded as 6-0 in favor of recommending that the Town Board grant the application.
Then Councilman Ed Brown, liaison to the council, raised questions about the legality of allowing a relative to inherit a mooring, ignoring a waiting list of those seeking moorings. A husband or wife are allowed to inherit, but council members agreed there have been cases where a cousin was allowed to take over a mooring, and they discussed the legality of allowing a son to take over his parents’ mooring.
All, including Mr. Brown, voiced support of allowing Mr. Stark to take over the mooring, but two members demurred when it came to a re-vote, resulting in four votes in support of the application and two who said they just didn’t know if the action was legal by town code. And no one knew if there was a waiting list for moorings in Dering Harbor.
There is “a very short list,” Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar told the Reporter Tuesday morning. The location of the mooring would limit its use to a relatively small boat.
Town Code pertaining to moorings is unclear about passing on the right to a mooring to anyone but a spouse, but does reference the boat owner and it’s unclear if Mr. Stark is currently listed as the boat owner. He couldn’t be reached for comment.
“It’s the right thing to do, but not necessarily technically right,” WMAC member James Eklund said in voting to allow Mr. Stark to take over the mooring.
At some point, someone could raise the issue of bypassing the waiting list, said member William Geraghty. “I think we all want to go that way, but we don’t want to get bitten by it,” he said.
Member Al Loreto wondered whether the council would be setting a precedent in recommending granting Mr. Stark the right to the mooring or if a precedent had previously been set. He noted that a similar transfer to a relative had been made in the Silver Beach Lagoon, but that’s an area less likely to be a problem than in Dering Harbor, his colleagues said.
George Zinger, who joined Mr. Geraghty in questioning the recommendation, suggested that the code might need to be adapted to account for such situations.It’s the same boat and the same house where Mr. Stark’s parents live and the same mooring they used, Council Chairman John Needham said.
It will now fall to the Town Board to take action on the application.
With Supervisor Jim Dougherty poised to send a letter to the Suffolk County Department of Public Works, Mr. Loreto suggested his colleagues endorse a request that South Ferry and Menantic Creek be given high priority as areas that need dredging. At the same time, Mr. Needham noted that dredging that took place last December at the mouth of Coecles Harbor at the end of Reel Point is already filling in due to tides in the area. But no action was recommended by the council.
The council voted 6-0 to recommend that the Town Board approve an application from Barbara DeCarlo Lane of 84 Peconic Avenue to construct approximately 100 feet of new bulkhead landward of the apparent high water mark, a 20-foot return at the eastern end and a beach access stairway.