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Town Trustees Extend Dock Moratorium

Thu, 11/17/2022 - 10:20

The East Hampton Town Trustees voted on Monday to extend the moratorium on new residential docks, catwalks, floating docks, floating structures, and platforms in waters under their jurisdiction for a second year.

The moratorium was enacted a year ago, one month after the trustees voted 5-to-3 to approve construction of an 80-foot floating dock on Three Mile Harbor, the first such approval in more than 30 years. That vote came months after the trustees had repeatedly tabled the application pending formation of a policy on docks for all water bodies.

Docks have been banned in most waterways under trustee jurisdiction since 1984, and everywhere but the eastern shore of Three Mile Harbor since 1987. The split vote to approve the 80-foot floating dock prompted Francis Bock, the trustees’ clerk, to instruct his colleagues to form a committee to study the matter and issue a recommendation. Also put in motion was a review, assessment, and inventory of existing docks and similar structures.

The pause on new docks, catwalks, platforms, and other floating structures applies to residential property. As the resolution passed on Monday reiterates, it does not apply to existing or future duck blinds or floating upweller systems, known as flupsys, which are used to grow out shellfish in open water while protecting them from predation.

The moratorium enacted last November was set to expire on Tuesday. The one-year extension was warranted because the trustees “have embarked on but not yet concluded their review, inventory, and assessment project,” according to the resolution read aloud by John Aldred.

Applicants for a new residential dock, catwalk, floating dock, floating structure, or platform may request a waiver from the moratorium if they can show need based on a perceived public safety emergency or environmental hardship.

The moratorium, Mr. Aldred said, applies to bottomlands including but not limited to Wainscott Pond, Georgica Pond, Napeague Harbor, Fresh Pond, Hook Pond, Accabonac Creek and Harbor, Pussy’s Pond, Hog Creek, Three Mile Harbor, Duck Creek, Hand’s Creek, Alewife Brook, Northwest Creek, and Little Northwest Creek.

In other news from the trustees’ meeting, they set Jan. 9 for their organizational meeting, during which officers are elected, committee assignments are given, and fees are set. The trustees will also take public comment at the meeting, but there will be no other agenda items.

Susan McGraw-Keber told her colleagues that the trustees had raised $1,323 from the sale of merchandise during the 32nd annual Largest Clam Contest, held on Oct. 9 on the grounds of the Lamb Building in Amagansett, where the trustees’ office is located. The proceeds will be allocated to the trustees’ scholarship fund.

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