Featured Story

UPDATE: Town removes planks to Ram’s Head Inn dock: No indication of when the decision was made

A controversial dock long in use by past and present operators of the Ram’s Head Inn is unusable as the Memorial Day weekend approaches. Last year, an application for a replacement dock was tabled by the Waterways Management Advisory Council despite approval for a new dock having a permit from the State Department of Environmental Conservation.

A resolution at a special meeting on March 1 was passed giving 30 days notice for the dock to be removed or the Town could have it removed. Aandrea Carter, the Ram’s Head Inn owner, said she understood that date could be extended and it was extended with no action taken by the Town until last week.

Ms. Carter and her new attorney handling the situation, Anton Borovina, argued a new dock had been designed by Costello Marine and gained DEC approval. Mr. Borovina blamed the Waterways Management Advisory Council (WMAC) for delaying action on the application. Ms. Carter has said lack of a dock would severely affect her business.

WMAC Chairman John Needham said what delayed action were advertisements indicating a more than 40-foot craft would be using the dock to shuttle guests to the Inn. Without an indication of the how the dock was intended to be used, Mr. Needham said the Council was unable to act on the application.

In a May 11 letter, Town Attorney Stephen Kiely informed Alex Kriegsman of Kriegsman PC, Ms. Carter’s attorney at the time, that floating docks measuring 40-feet by 8-feet, and 25-feet by 8 feet, had to be removed by June 9. No mention of the rest of the dock was made in his letter.

If the floating docks were not removed by then, the Town would remove them on June 10 at the expense of the Ram’s Head Inn owner, Mr. Kiely said in his letter to Mr. Kriegsman.

In response to Mr. Kiely’s letter, Mr. Kriegsman on May 13 wrote that he found the town’s threatened action in June “reprehensible.”

He said the Town officials are “prohibited from entering the dock or interfering with its lawful use without written permission” from Ms. Carter or a court order and called the Town’s threat of removal of the floating docks “illegal.” Any attempt to interfere with what he said is Ms. Carter’s property would be  “prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In addition to defending our right to continued use of our property, we will bring Civil Rights claims seeking compensatory and punitive damages against the Town.”

Last week, besides putting up fencing on the dock to stop its use, workers were told to remove planks leading to the dock from the shoreline, according to Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman.

Although Councilman Jim Colligan had told contractor Jack Costello of Costello Marine on March 1 that materials could be recycled for use on a new dock once one was approved, the planks removed were cut with a chainsaw in such a way that they could not be used as any part of a new dock.

Mr. Kiely on March 1 had cited concerns of the Town with liability if there were to be any accidents at the dock and Ms. Carter had said she would extend liability insurance to cover herself and the Town until a new dock was constructed.

At the May 16 work session, in response to a question from neighbor Pam Demarest, Mr. Kiely said the dock had been fenced off and Ms. Carter had been ordered to remove two floating docks from the structure within 30 days. In the meantime, the dock would remain fenced off and could not be used, he said.

There was no mention of any other steps to be taken by the Town prior to June 10.

A review of records shows Ms. Carter has paid taxes on her property, including  the controversial dock since she acquired the Inn. Former Inn owners James and Linda Eklund had done the same.

There was no mention of any other steps to be taken immediately.

But Public Works Commissioner Brian Sherman said he was instructed by the Town Board to have his crew remove the parts of the dock reaching the shore.

There is no indication of when the Town Board took action authorizing the action.

Mr. Kiely hasn’t yet responded to a request for comment.

Ms. Carter has not responded to a request for a comment.