If the Town Board ignores a recommendation from an advisory body, could that lead to a re-evaluation of the board’s role in decision-making?
The question was posed last Monday, March 7, when the Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC) revisited an application from Jeffrey Lightcap that has bounced back and forth between the WMAC and the Town Board.
WMAC member William Geraghty asked whether there should be a separation between the WMAC and the Town Board to preclude the latter from ratifying or rejecting WMAC recommendations as the result of a “political decision.”
Councilman Jim Colligan, the board’s liaison to the WMAC, said he respects its members, but doesn’t see the Town Board relinquishing its role as final decision-maker.
The discussion was spurred by revisting the Lightcap application, which has undergone a number of changes since it was first presented to the WMAC by Jack Costello of Costello Marine in Greenport. The council has spent hours examining the application over the course of several meetings.
Although the WMAC has recommended, by a vote of 3-2, that the Town Board turn down the application, the subject was back on Monday night’s agenda.
Mr. Lightcap purchased what had originally been a commercial marina with between 36 and 50 slips and another 50 moorings, according to Mr. Costello.
Because the property was to revert to personal use, Mr. Lightcap took steps to clean up the area, having numerous docks and equipment removed, Mr. Costello said.
His most recent application, as amended several times in response to WMAC concerns, would remove a southern dock and a boatlift still on the property in exchange for being allowed to install a floating “splashboard,” or guard, to protect against a boat’s wake.
The WMAC has said it would permit a permanent dock to which the splashboard would be attached.
“This is a good opportunity to clean up the mess,” Mr. Costello said, insisting there’s no precedent he’s aware of in which a commercial marina has been converted for private use.
“The discussion has gone too far,” he told members Monday night.
The WMAC wants assurance that if the application is approved at Friday’s Town Board meeting, it would clearly stipulate why it doesn’t set a precedent for future applicants. Members also want to ensure that if the application is approved, Mr. Lightcap would not be allowed to apply for further changes.
Back to the drawing board
Two applications submitted to the WMAC were sent back to applicants because they lacked sufficient information.
Michael McLean of 44-46 Tuthill Drive: There were several deficiencies in the application, Mr. Needham said. While the application was in Mr. McLean’s name, it doesn’t match the name on the property, Shanty Bay. The insurance also has to be in the name of Shanty Bay, Mr. Needham said.
The council also wants a more detailed survey of where the dock placement.
William and Norma Rodgers of 53 Dinah Rock Road need to submit a detailed survey for their dock request .
“They’re asking us to approve something and we don’t even know what we’re approving,” member James Eklund said.
In other actions Monday night, the WMAC recommended:
• Approval of a dock application from James Corl of 5 Winthrop Road providing he submits a letter of hardship explaininng the reasons for realigning his dock. Mr. Costello said it was motivated by the need to provide easier access to his boat for his small children.
• Approval of a dock application from Joyce and Edward Bausman of 6F Joy Drive.
• Approval of mooring applications from James Murphy of 68 Ram Island Road and Robert Pagliaro at Smith Cove.