There were a few interesting applications this month. The first was an application to add low voltage lighting to a cat walk and dock. The applicant’s representative thought the building code allows lights that are controlled on the dock, but some of the Trustees were adament that this long and narrow dock with no handrails should be dark for the navigator’s return to home at night. It will take another meeting or two to get some safety lighting so the owner or guests don’t fall off the dock after bass fishing at nite.
Another issue of great contention is the diameter of dock pilings. For a long time the Trustees have been limiting the size of dock pilings to 6″ , which to my mind is too small to afford protection from hurricane, especially if your boat is still tied to it, and too small to resist the ice floes of cold winters. If I heard Jim King correctly, I think he said they want 6″ because the DEC has been allowing only 6″ pilings and they want to be consistant. The question that begs to be asked is what is the significance? If the reduced size is to reduce the leaching of the CCA in the first 90 days of installation, which the DEC in a report dated April 2000, said is inconsequential, then what needs to be asked is whether or not the increased circumference of 7″ of impregnated piling has any measurable ecological impact. Of course we know the answer to that question without any government funded studies. But the correct answer is it doesn’t matter, any increase is bad even though even the DEC’s report on the subject says there is no harm to its use. That’s the kind of logic and science that a person who operates a boat is up against. All the concern and discussion of regulation is about the esthetics, from the viewpoint of a non boater. They like docks narrow, low in the water so the pilings will destroy your caprail in a blow, with no tie off pilings to protect you, and flimsy so you will give up after the ice destoys it every winter.
After over six years of expenses in legal and engineering and survey costs, the Trustees granted an applicant an approval to build a house. They took away his dock, his pool, a few bedrooms and a bath. The applicant probably lost a half a million dollars in opportunity cost on this deal. Being a nice guy is not an advantage.
Another point was made later in the evening when discussing a “permitted” structure. A dock with two tie off piles was permitted and repaired and maintained as permitted. The new owner did not transfer the permit to his name. (thinking,” how could they possible not transfer the permit for the dock that has been permited twice over the last 30 years which is in conformity with the existing permit??” …Well, The trustees didn’t like the tie off piles, and one is now missing! (from ice?) In the course of the discussion, it comes up that missing pilings are always replaced in the spring with no permit. True. But, the town attorney reads the chapter and says an administrative permit is required to replace the piling because it is no longer functioning. All the trustees were surprised at that. The take away point to remember from this is that the permit you have is only as good as the mood of the board you are currently dealing with. And if the Trustees don’t like the way you tie your boat, you may lose your tie off pile. This saga will be continued next month.