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Town Board to focus on controversial docks

The ongoing controversy over plans for a new dock to replace the Bennett dock adjacent to the Ram’s Head Inn would be used by the Inn since the Ram’s Head Inn and the former Bennett property are both owned by Aandrea Carter. The Town Board will continue the discussion on Oct. 24.

Proponents insist the replacement dock is necessary and say changes to plans have changed several times to adjust to suggestions from the Waterways Management Advisory Council and the Town Board.

In response to complaints about the height, contractor Jack Costello told the Town Board at a continuation of a public hearing last week that higher sea levels have resulted in raising the dock to avoid it being washed over in times of stormy weather.

Neighbor Pam Demarest questioned whether Ms. Carter would have access to two docks serving the Inn that would violate the agreement the Inn would have a single dock. 

Supervisor Gerry Siller said the dock in question is not on Ram’s Head Inn property and not meant for use by Inn visitors. 

Ms. Demarest also maintained the Zoning Board of Review would need to consider setback variances for the proposed dock and the proposal should include a vegetation plan. To her charges that Ms. Carter had removed vegetation, the Inn owner responded she had never done so.

Resident Jan Sudol said the Town Board had no obligation to consider the dock if it’s non-compliant.

The discussion at next week’s work session is aimed at clarifying the situation so a decision can be made one way or the other.

On a second dock application — this one for Todd Prager, at 78 Peconic Avenue, the issues didn’t get any less controversial.

Mr. Prager wants a dock in an area his neighbors say is very dangerous because it poses safety risks. He, too, hired Jack Costello and the contractor said he has made changes to the design.

Neighbors said they believe a dock at Mr. Prager’s property would cause damage in foul weather where there is wind and wave action that others said deterred them from seeking docks at their properties.

Prior to the public hearing, the Waterways Management Advisory Council had voted 4-1 in opposition to the dock with one member abstaining.

Both sides had experts testify about why the heavy tides either don’t cause a problem or would threaten their properties.

The public hearing on the Prager application was closed, but allowed a week for letters or emails from anyone who wanted to comment further.

That time has passed and the Town Board will discuss the application at next week’s work session and likely vote on it one way or another at its regular meeting on Oct. 31.