(reposted to now allow member comments)
Report by SoutholdVOICE on October 17th Public Meeting of the Southold Trustees
Seven resolutions for administrative permits, fifteen applications for amendments/extensions, twenty-eight wetland permit applications of which nine were postponed prior to the meeting and finally four coastal erosion/wetland permits (two were postponed prior to the meeting and two were discussed.)
These numbers are noted as it is interesting that of the thirty-two permit applications, twenty-six applicants had agents representing them at the hearing. This is growing trend due to the application complexity, new technologies for dock building and bulk heading and the better success rate of professional representation. First-time applicants usually do not fare well for numerous reasons.
It is also interesting to note that for one sound front coastal erosion/wetland permit application, the Trustees brought Robert McDonough, Environmental Program Specialist-Coastal Erosion Management Unit who is based in Albany and Eric Star DEC Region I (Stony Brook) to the Sound front site for their determination of land features The applicant, who was being represented by an agent, was told at the hearing that “It is a Dune” When asked when that was determined, the Board answer was, “today,” therefore giving the applicant little time for research to respond appropriately. That application was tabled. Applicants and their agents should be notified of an inspection by State or other regulators to give the owners and agents an opportunity to hear what the state says in person (not as translated or interpreted by the Trustees). Not only because of liability to the owner of people on their property, but the Trustees are conducting a “meeting of three or more Trustees” without the owner’s, agent’s or public knowledge. Prior notice is given for field inspections, if the Trustees schedule meetings with anyone to review a project, the owner deserves to know. The constitution of the United States also applies in Southold.
The issue of “grandfathered docks” and whether you need a permit to do repairs to a dock that has no permit because it predates the Trustee’s regulations leaves a bad taste in the owner’s mouth. Even if your dock was built by your ancestors, repaired for thirty years, the Trustees claim that you can no longer repair it without a permit. Not even the DEC regulations require a permit to repair an existing structure whether built with a permit or built prior to 1977. (N.B.–Rebuilding always needs a permit.) This should be cleared up in the amendment of the regulations. Presently only “permitted” structures can be repaired without permits. Most people would read that a dock is “permitted” if it was built prior to Trustees regulations.