The Southampton Town Trustees approved a permit for a modification to boat docking facilities at Dockers Waterside restaurant on Dune Road in East Quogue—more than four years after they had approved the exact same application.
The Trustees approved the addition of a single dock extending from the restaurant’s bulkhead, with accommodation for the docking of 16 boats.
The vote was unanimous, 4-0, with Trustee Bill Pell recusing himself from the review and the vote.
The approved permit carries a couple of caveats that the original application did not: including a provision that if the state Department of Environmental Conservation determines that boats using the basin create water quality problems that force them to close shellfishing on nearby baybottoms, the Trustees reserve the right to re-open the consideration of the permit.
Nonetheless, Dockers owner Larry Hoffman said this week that he was pleased to be done with the nearly 10-year saga of his marina aspirations.
“I’m thankful for the hard work that everybody put into this and the strict review that they put me though,” Mr. Hoffman said. “I’m glad we came to a conclusion of the matter.”
Mr. Hoffman had originally applied for a much bigger facility than the one approved this week—one that could have hosted more than 50 boats, with fuel pumps, various services for boaters and dredging of a boat channel leading from the Dockers basin to the Intra-Coastal Waterway. That application was withdrawn in the face of outcry by neighbors and the environmental community.
The much smaller dockage facilities were initially applied for in 2007 and fairly quickly approved by the Trustees. But a lawsuit by the Peconic Baykeeper challenged the approval for having not followed state-mandated processes, which the Trustees said they do not have to follow. A judge ruled that the Trustees must revisit the application and go through some of the mostly clerical steps of SEQRA, which they did prior to this week’s approval.
“There was a lot of issues that were involved with this property, but we felt it was reduced to a size that was as low impact as possible,” Trustee Eric Shultz said following the approval. “We had approved it before and then we brought it back and we went through SEQRA with the help of the planning department and new public hearings. This application got put through the wringer.”
Mr. Pell sat out the review of the Dockers application because Mr. Hoffman’s attorney, John Bennett, challenged his participation because of statements Mr. Pell had made about the original Dockers application, and Mr. Hoffman, while running for Trustee several years ago.
Mr. Hoffman said he did not yet know when he would build the planned dock.