Pictured Above: Strong’s Yacht Center, with the hill where the new boat storage buildings behind the existing buildings on the right, with the Old Mill Inn, which is slated to be restored, in the foreground.

To the Editor:

Anne Sherwood Pundyk and Jeff Pundyk have done quite a job misrepresenting the Strong’s Marine project on Mattituck Inlet. Their recent letter to the editor of the Beacon imagines several outcomes that will likely never happen.

Your article of May 16th on the Southold Town Planning Board hearing did a much better job showing both sides of the issue, with comments from farmers, fishermen, marine workers, marina clients and the Chairman of the Mattituck Park District supporting the project and speaking for the property owner’s rights to proceed.

Funny, I didn’t see the Pundyks and Stephen Boscola protesting the truck traffic last summer when several large houses were built on Stanley Road. I didn’t see them protesting the even larger McMansions built on Royalton Row off Cox Neck Road. And I didn’t hear them asking questions about the renovation of the Old Mill Inn, which is directly ON the Inlet. They should change the name of their group from “Save Mattituck Inlet” to “Stop Strong’s,” as stopping this project seems to be the only issue they care about. We have yet to see any positive action from them on actually maintaining the Inlet.

Shutting down this project will affect many marine-related businesses on the North Fork and many people’s livelihoods. A working waterfront is part of the character and tradition of the area; once that is gone no one from Manhattan or Montauk can recreate it—that specialized knowledge is lost forever. Supporting this longtime business is vital, and I for one would like to see this marina remain within the purview of a local family.

Hopefully the Planning Board will consider the entire community’s concerns on this issue and not be swayed by the speculation of the loudest, shrillest commentators. The Board should consider the big picture and work to “save what is left” of our traditional marine industry as the North Fork changes.

Stephanie Villani

Editor’s Note: The public hearing will continue on Monday, June 5 at 6 p.m. at Southold Town Hall

Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

3 thoughts on “Letter: In Favor of Strong’s

  1. Stephanie Villani’s comments are of a wife / partner of a local fisherman who work out of Mattituck Inlet and I suspect do business with the Strong family often. The commercial fisherman has a direct interest in keeping the marina satisfied. Stephanie may be researched on line as to her interest in commercial fishing and sales. Just saying.

    1. Hi, Anonymous,
      We know Stephanie is the partner of a local fisherman, and she has a right to her opinion, same as anyone. We don’t, however, know who you are. Just sayin.

  2. Stephanie Villani’s letter in favor of the Strong’s yacht-storage project claims that “[s]hutting down this project will affect many marine-related businesses on the North Fork and many people’s livelihoods.” How so? The commercial and sport-fishing industries are in no way dependent on wealthy outsiders being able to park their boats in Mattituck for the winter. Strong’s has a thriving marina business which has gotten along until now without this facility, and has not shown, or even attempted to show, that building the project is an economic necessity. Obviously Mr. Strong has the right to realize an economic return on his investment, subject to the oversight of the Town. That has been true since the day he bought the property. Equally, the residents of the Town have the right to express their opposition to what they consider an ugly and environmentally destructive development.

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