The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has issued a $50,000 fine to a Montauk business owner and his contractor for violating conditions of a dredging permit on Lake Montauk.
Steve Kalimnios, the vice president of Star Development Realty Holding Corporation, which does business as Lake Montauk Club and Marina, and Christopher Gentry, of Seacoast Marine Construction in Sayville, were listed as respondents in a DEC order of consent signed by both men on December 27. In it, the DEC claims the pair violated state environmental law by not complying with conditions of a maintenance dredging permit for the marina basin at the Montauk Lake Club and Marina on East Lake Drive. Those include exceeding the dredging limits of the permit, which allowed a maximum depth of 6 feet below mean low water, resulting in about 4,000 cubic yards of dredged material.
Mr. Kalimnios, who is also an owner of the company that manages the Royal Atlantic Beach Resort Motel in Montauk, and a member of the East Hampton Town Coastal Erosion Committee, did not return calls seeking comment this week. When reached on Tuesday afternoon, Mr. Gentry said he had no comment.
The DEC received a complaint about the dredging project from the environmental group the Concerned Citizens of Montauk last fall, according to Aphrodite Montalvo, a DEC spokeswoman. The 10-year dredge permit was issued in October 2011. A stop-work order was issued after a site inspection by the agency on November 20. The respondents complied with the stop-work order, she said. They continued work on December 28, after agreeing to the fine. The project was completed at the end of December or early January, said Ms. Montalvo in an email.
The DEC does not have an approximate figure on how much was ultimately dredged, according to Ms. Montalvo. “On November 20, 2012, a DEC inspector visited the site and confirmed that the dredging company had dredged outside of the scope of the permit,” Ms. Montalvo wrote, detailing the violations. “The permit allowed the club to dredge an area of the marina for boat navigation. The company dredged outside of this scope to deepen the area to help the dredging barge navigate in the waters. They dredged an area approximately 30 feet by 30 feet on the northwest corner of the property to facilitate the removal of the dredge material from the barge and into conveyance vehicles. The area dredged affected shoals and mud flats, and had some shoreline impacts to the tidal wetland area. The company also stored dredge spoil on-site rather than immediately removing the material to an approved disposal site, and the company did not notify DEC at least 48 hours prior to the initiation of the project, as is required by permit conditions.”
Both parties are responsible for removing the dredged spoil after it is tested and deemed suitable for disposal, said Ms. Montalvo. They are also required to restore the spoil storage area, conduct a survey of the area that was illegally dredged to determine new depth limits, create a restoration plan which includes replenishing the disturbed shoreline and paying a penalty for the violations.
The DEC has agreed to suspend $30,000 of the $50,000 fine “upon strict adherence to the compliance schedule,” Ms. Montalvo said. “The respondents are current on their payment schedule and are working with DEC to comply with the schedule,” she wrote.
Jeremy Samuelson, executive director of CCOM, originally alerted the DEC to the situation last fall.
“I think that the recent rulings by the DEC speak volumes and speak for themselves,” Mr. Samuelson said. “…Mr. Kalimnios essentially got a permit in hand and used that as a license to do whatever he wanted. Thankfully, the DEC stood up and levied $20,000 in fines to assure Mr. Kalimnios and the community that his rogue interpretation of his permit was well outside the bounds of what was allowed.”