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Coucilwoman BJ Ianfolla on mooring procedures

Councilwoman BJ Ianfolla took issue at the May 3 Town Board work session with an editorial in the Reporter dealing with proposed changes in the process of handling mooring applications by the Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC).

The editorial called on the Town Board to move on to other issues, noting that the process in place has worked well for years.

“There’s always room for improvement,” Ms. Ianfolla told her colleagues.

It’s not a reflection on the WMAC members who have done “a phenomenal job,” she said. But she wants the bay constables, who are charged with enforcement, to be involved with the approval process of applications.

She also suggested there should be a new look at conservation moorings that had been rejected by the WMAC in 2018. The Peconic Estuary Partnership had encouraged use of the conservation moorings.

But WMAC members had concerns that over time the moorings would work their way out of the bottom. Ms. Ianfolla said conservation moorings may have improved in the past few years and more information should be researched.

Advocates have urged use of conservation moorings in areas where there is eelgrass, which needs to be protected. These underwater seagrasses provide nourishment for endangered species, including sea turtles.

Materials in mooring construction may have changed since 2018, Councilman Jim Colligan said.

There are also questions about whether commercial moorings should be lessened to enable more mooring space to be given to residents.

WMAC members maintain they can accommodate most applications for mooring spaces, with minor changes for safety reasons. But on occasion, there’s a wait in some areas, although an alternative area is generally offered.

Over the years, there has not been a need to cut back on commercial moorings to accommodate moorings sought by residents, according to the WMAC. Another concern has been the need to bring on some younger members to the WMAC.

Current members are able to handle the work, but they are generally in the same age group, and if several were to retire at once, it would be important to have younger members with the experience to handle the job, Mr. Colligan said.