Discussion of a proposal to build a 16-slip marina adjacent to Dockers Waterside Restaurant and Marina on Dune Road in East Quogue is set to resume at a public hearing scheduled for the next Southampton Town Trustee meeting on Wednesday, September 3.
The most recent plan submitted by Larry Hoffman, the owner and operator of Dockers, calls for the installation of nine seasonal boat slips and seven transient slips. But unlike his earlier proposal, the current plan does not include the dredging of a channel between his bayfront business and Shinnecock Bay.
“We’ve scaled it back substantially,” said John Bennett, Mr. Hoffman’s attorney, during a recent interview. Mr. Bennett added that he and his client have been having discussions with the Town Trustees for several years and have incorporated the board’s suggestions into their current plan. “We’ve now satisfied these concerns,” Mr. Bennett said.
The 94 Dune Road Holding Corps, the company that technically owns the East Quogue property, first submitted a plan for the site in February 2004. The original plan, which called for the installation of 56 boat slips, a fueling station and the dredging of a channel from the restaurant to Shinnecock Bay, was deemed to be environmentally hazardous by environmentalists and was criticized by the Town Trustees.
Last year, the Town Trustees told Mr. Hoffman that they would require expert testimony to determine if the latest project could result in shellfishing closures in the area in the future. Shellfishing closures typically occur following heavy storms, when storm water runoff results in high levels of bacteria in the water.
Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister remains skeptical of the latest plan, which he insisted would necessitate dredging and, ultimately, result in shellfishing closures in the future. “Boats cannot get in and out of there unless they have a favorable tide,” said Mr. McAllister, speculating that Mr. Hoffman would feel pressure from his clients to dredge a deeper channel to accommodate boats at all times.
In response, Mr. Bennett stressed that the current application does not call for any dredging.
Mr. McAllister said it was misleading for Mr. Bennett to suggest that there would be no shellfishing closures in the future. “I’m certain 10 boats or more will constitute a shellfishing closure,” he said.