When members of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund came to the Southold Town Trustees Wednesday night to pitch their plan to rebuild the long-decaying marina at their property in downtown New Suffolk, they said they had a contractor picked out and ready to begin work next week. They hope the marina can be ready for the summer boating season.
The project was unanimously approved by the Trustees, with major modifications, on the condition that the Waterfront Fund provide a new set of plans that more accurately describes the work they plan to do.
In 2007, the Peconic Land Trust purchased the 3.4 acre waterfront site, a former marina at the heart of downtown New Suffolk, in order to keep the property from being developed, with the intention of turning the land over to the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund, which took title to the property in 2010. Last year, the Waterfront Fund sold the southernmost acre of the property to Robins Island Holdings, Louis Moore Bacon’s holding company for the property he owns in association with Robins Island.
The property sustained serious damage in Superstorm Sandy, and since the storm, the old Galley Ho restaurant on the site has been moved away from the water’s edge, and the Waterfront Fund had a new bulkhead installed last year. Now, they’re hoping to restore the marina that once was at the site, in the hopes of bringing in more revenue as they prepare plans for the eventual re-use of the Galley Ho as a restaurant, Waterfront Fund spokeswoman Pat McIntyre told the Trustees Wednesday night.
The Waterfront Fund’s original application to the Trustees called for repairing nine finger piers and adding a tenth finger pier and a 60-foot long dock at the seaward end of the marina. Trustee David Bergen, who asked most of the questions throughout the public hearing, said their plan seemed like “a very extensive project, as proposed.”
He told Waterfront Fund members town code prohibits them from expanding the marina without providing a boat pump-out station. He asked if the Waterfront Fund planned to provide a pump-out station.
“No, we have not,” said Ms. McIntyre. “If we have to do the pump-out facility, we would rather forego the 60 feet.”
Mr. Bergen said he recalled that representatives of the Waterfront Fund had already told the Trustees several years ago they weren’t interested in expansion if it meant providing a pump-out station.
“The Trustees are concerned with the dockage of boats there and no facilities at all provided on site,” said Mr. Bergen. “We are concerned with waste on the site. We’d like to see at least some Porta Johns there.”
Ms. McIntyre said a year from now she hopes there will be toilets that can be used by marina visitors in the Galley Ho building. She said the Waterfront Fund is submitting plans for the renovation of the Galley Ho to the Suffolk County Health Department today, March 20.
The Trustees and Ms. McIntyre ultimately agreed to remove the new finger pier from the plan, along with 50 feet of the 60 foot dock extension. Ms. McIntyre and fellow Waterfront Fund member Gregg Rivara said they needed to add at least a 10-foot extension to the existing dock to keep boaters from falling off the last finger pier.
The Waterfront Fund’s plan also called for adding a row of rocks 30 inches high to the seawall surrounding the marina. Ms. McIntyre told the board the Waterfront Fund already has DEC permits for the work in the marina and Army Corps of Engineers permits for the entire project, but does not yet have a DEC permit for the repairs to the seawall.
The Waterfront Fund and the Trustees agreed to remove the seawall from the portion of the project approved Wednesday night and to set up a joint meeting between the Trustees and the DEC at the site April 16 to discuss the seawall.
The plans provided with the application show the Galley Ho in its old location at the water’s edge, and they also show a crumbling wave break in the marina that the Waterfront Fund plans to remove. Ms. McIntyre said the new location for the Galley Ho has not yet been decided, but it will be at least 75 feet away from the water.
The Trustees gave the project their unanimous blessing, so long as new plans are provided which remove the new dock and finger pier and show the Galley Ho’s “relocation to some location,” according to Mr. Bergen.
“There is a shellfish closure there currently,” said Trustee President John Bredemeyer. “There’s no determination whether [the water quality problem] is from animals or people. But the area will be subject to a marina-based closure if it reopens.”
Mr. Bergen told Ms. McIntyre and Mr. Rivara that there are state and county grants available to install and/or operate pump-out stations.
“You might find that all the costs could be picked up through a grant,” he said.
Ms. McIntyre agreed to look into the matter.
“We’re all environmentally sensitive here,” she said.