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Trustees Meeting of July 21

It was a busy night, with the Suffolk County Water Authority on the schedule for a wetland permit to install a water line from Dam Pond to Browns Hill in Orient.  About 20 opponents were on hand to speak against it and it was the last item on the agenda.  The board stated they were not making any decision about the application for two weeks to give the public time to send written comment.  The most interesting development was that the attorney for SCWA, when pressed about the fact that they had already stated they were not going ahead with their plans to expand into Orient, as reported in the press at a meeting with Tim Bishop, announced that they are ready to begin construction right after Labor Day!   My take from listening to the opponents is that they feel SCWA gains access to new water resources by extending their mains in small incremental stages which are “type II” reviews, and bypass the need for a State Environmental Quality “Type I” review that the project of expanding to Orient Point would require.  So they are pressing that SCW state the totality of the project and be subject to a type I review.  They state that the real purpose is not so much to improve the water quality of Browns Hill as to gain new water wells which they can use to improve the quality of their water from wells in Western Suffolk where the quality is declining.  SCWA on the other hand, seems to be saying that the Town cannot withhold permission based on the town’s desire to stall development due to a lack of public water.   The town’s “defacto zoning tool” to stop development  has always been the Suffolk Co. Health Dept. standards due to  lack of public sewer and water.    It will be an interesting test of  how  the Trustees can review an application, or if they can somehow require an applicant to project into the future and ask for a larger scope of work that presumably isn’t desired at the time.

There were 4 transfers of existing permits. This may serve as a reminder to those waterfront owners that even though your certificate of occupancy runs with your title, your Trustee permit does not.  And careful buyers are more frequently asking for sellers to transfer the dock (or other  structures) permits to their name to be sure that what they see on the property is not in violation, before the real estate closing.

3 mooring permits were granted, and the Trustees will hold a special mooring meeting in early August to address the issues discussed here about the CAC report and recommendations of last fall.  I offered to volunteer to help identify what moorings are where, so this can be organized.  If anyone would like to help, please call me: 631 275 5939.

Another complicated issue for the Trustees was brought by the Orient Wharf Co. which seeks a wetland permit and coastal erosion permit to replace the asphalt paving over a filled wooden bulkhead, with a new timber deck.   The history goes something like this: Floyd King was controlling partner in the Wharf Co. and he owned the adjacent properties to the North and South of the wharf.  Up until about 1978 the wharf was a dock or timber tressel bridge leading out to the building at the end (now the Orient Yacht Club) with the tide flowing freely underneath it.  In about 1978 he decided the cheapest way to repair the failing structure was to simply make it like jetty and fill  it in with rock and pave over it.  He did that and it has acted as a jetty ever since, with beach accreting on both sides.  Some years ago both the adjacent properties were sold, and those owners, who have always experienced life next to a jetty not a dock or bridge, are worried that this application, like the SCWA application, does not address the full impact of the project, but is a small step in a process that is not even stated.  They worry that the repair to the surface will allow the deterioration of the structure and turn the jetty into a dock again, and then erode their beaches.  What to do Trustees do?  Can they read the minds of the applicants and imply future intentions?  Can they grant an application,or not, on the basis of their expectations of what the applicant may do, or in this case not do, in the future?  I think not, but we’ll see … as it was tabled for more consideration.

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