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Apr 4, 2012 10:54 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Town Criticized For Reopening East Quogue Marina

Apr 4, 2012 12:05 PM

The decision by Southampton Town to continue using a small marina at a property preserved last winter with Community Preservation Fund proceeds drew criticism from the East Quogue Civic Association this week.

Al Algieri, the association’s acting president, blasted the Town Board and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst during Monday’s Town Trustees meeting, accusing the lawmakers of misleading community residents about their intentions for the East Quogue marina when the $5.4 million purchase was made.

Ms. Throne-Holst, in response, said that she and other Town Board members had never said the bare bones dockage would not be used when it held a public hearing on the purchase of the property last December. She added that the town has still not made a final decision about how the property will be utilized.

“The supervisor said there were not plans for the marina at the property,” Mr. Algieri said on Monday. “Then a letter went out that said the marina would open on May 1 and that the current tenants would have priority. I called the supervisor and said I thought there weren’t plans and she confirmed there’s no plans, but they’ve got the marina up and running.”

Indeed, Ms. Throne-Holst said on Tuesday that the town has not decided exactly what it will do with the marina or the property as a whole yet. But she said that timing and the opportunity to draw some sorely needed revenue from the property this year led to the decision to reopen the marina—at least for this summer—while a long-term plan for the property is developed.

“The main purpose in buying that land was to preserve it from development,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “What I told [East Quogue residents in December] was that there was a deadline looming to make the purchase and that I assumed everyone agreed we should purchase it and then address what to do with the marina.”

The marina is part of a 27-acre mostly wooded parcel off Josiah Foster Path that the board bought from William Swan in January. The dockage is currently just a single row of floating docks tethered parallel to a bulkhead that runs along the shoreline of Weesuck Creek. There are no fueling, boat storage or repair facilities. The dockage has traditionally accommodated 12 to 14 boats.

At the public hearing on the purchase in December, several East Quogue residents expressed concerns that once it had purchased the property, the town would seek to develop it into a full-service marina to generate revenue. Town Board members assured residents that a marina was not in the offing and said that any future plans for the property would be vetted with the community first.

Southampton Town Department of Parks and Recreation Superintendent Chris Bean said on Tuesday that the town told the 14 people who kept their boats at the dock last year that they could use the space again this year, albeit at the town’s standard rate of $100 per foot—substantially more than the former owner had been charging. Mr. Bean said 11 of the 14 boat owners said they wanted to keep their slips. The town held a lottery for the other three slips and awarded them to boat owners drawn at random from a pool of applicants. The largest boat berthed there will be 33 feet long, he said.

The town operates three other marinas: at Conscience Point in North Sea Harbor, at Bay Avenue in East Quogue and the commercial dockage near the Shinnecock Inlet. The Southampton Town Trustees own slips at five marina sites as well, which they award via an annual lottery each spring.

The Trustees told Mr. Algieri that they have had some preliminary discussions with the town about the condition of the bulkhead where the boats are tied. The bulkhead is in need of repair and is constructed of chemically treated wood, which the Trustees have banned. Ms. Throne-Holst said a number of issues regarding the property and the marina use are complicating discussions of how the property will be used in the future, and that abandoning the marina is still a possibility.

“There’s treated lumber there—do we replace it or rip it out? There are a lot of things to consider,” the supervisor said. “If we had nothing better to do we would spend our days worrying about this and only this, but, as it is, we’ll have to address it when the time comes.”

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Once again Al Algieri the "acting president" of the EQ Civic Association thinks he speaks for all East Quogue residents...Thank you Supervisor for not allowing the vocal minority to influence the decisions of the Town.
By Little D (9), East Quogue on Apr 4, 12 3:00 PM
I agree, Algieri gives the impression that he speaks for all of EQ which he does not. The civic association represents a very small segment of the population. Differing opinions are not welcome and those who have them are ostracized. Kudos to the Town for allowing those who have docked their boats there the opportunity to continue to do so. Why not take advantage of the additional revenue in these tough economic times? The condition of the bulkhead is an issue the Town will need to deal with ...more
By crusader (391), East Quogue on Apr 5, 12 6:50 AM
1 member liked this comment
Isn't it like that in every little town out here? The big mouth with nothing to do thinks he or she represents everyone. It's usually the same one who wants special treatment.
By chief1 (2800), southampton on Apr 4, 12 9:30 PM
Why would a town dock be a bad thing? As someone who lives down the street from this space, I was happy to see the town bought it and assumed they would renovate the marina.
By KrisV (12), Westhampton on Apr 5, 12 1:19 PM
I would think saving the area from development so it could continue to be enjoyed in the same way it has been, while producing revenue for the town would be a GOOD thing. Leave it to busybodies to decide that since "everyone" owns it, "no one" can use it.
By M. O'Connor (147), Southampton on Apr 7, 12 5:01 PM