Proposals for ‘mega docks’ could harm ecology, seen around Stony Brook harbour, neighbors say
Proposals by two owners from the village of Nissequogue to build quays over 100 feet in Stony Brook Harbor have upended quiet waterfront neighborhoods there and in the adjacent Head of the Harbour.
Applications filed at Village Hall show that Beverly Sinkin plans to build a roughly 180-foot structure — permanent stairs and pier with a ramp and seasonal floats — from her Spring Hollow Road property. On Swan Place, Andrew Georgakopoulos would build a similar structure, about 136ft from his boathouse to a point in the harbor deep enough to tie up a 19ft Carolina skiff.
Neighbors have called the structures “mega docks” and say they could harm the ecology and views of one of the most pristine pocket bays on the North Shore.
State environmental officials have approved Georgakopoulos’ application and are considering Sinkin’s, which does not yet have a date for a Nissequogue Planning Board vote. Georgakopoulos’ candidacy could get a vote in September, but the road to approval is complicated. Because the Joint Village Coastal Management Commission, a waterfront council comprised of residents from both villages, has already found the applications inconsistent with the communities’ water revitalization program, Planning Board approval would give administrators the final say. of Nissequogue. Rejection would void the request.
The shores of the harbor primarily fall under the jurisdiction of the Villages and Brookhaven. Despite average depths of only a few meters, it housed shipyards in the 19th century. Big estates followed, and then dozens of million-dollar homes. Today, the main commercial developments are a golf club and three marinas at the northern end of the harbor, where it meets Long Island Sound. Images from Suffolk County 2020 show eight private docks.
The new wharves would be among the largest built in the area since the 1970s, said Leighton Coleman, a historian for the two villages. “Everyone who has come to the area has bought into the area because of its natural beauty. Collectively, this whole construct… acts like plaque in your arteries. In a public letter, he warned that “mega docks” could lead to yachts and “jetskis”.
Lawyers and an environmental consultant representing the two candidates did not comment, but at planning hearings in April they said their clients would float motorized boats and modestly sized kayaks.
John Armentano, a lawyer for the Sinkins, said his clients’ waterfront property comes with the right to access the water. The length of the quay was necessary to achieve “navigable depth”, he argued; anything shorter would be useless, as the water near the shore is too shallow.
But Sinkin’s proposed wharf, built on intertidal wetlands, could irreparably harm a delicate ecosystem, Commission Chair Kaylee Engellenner wrote in an April findings letter.
The Georgakopoulos wharf would interfere with beach walkers and port ships, she wrote in a separate letter. It would also degrade views from Smithtown-owned Cordwood Park, which provides access to the water for anglers and picnickers without waterfront homes, she wrote.
Environmental consultant Kelly Risotto told the hearings that any impact from the construction of the docks would be temporary and their design would minimize the shadow on the ecosystem below. She dismissed navigation problems, saying the length of the Georgakopoulos wharf was only “7% of the waterway” of the port.
Lisa Blake, a commissioner who lives in Head of the Harbor next to Cordwood Park, backed out of Georgakopoulos’ request and is circulating a petition against new docks. Nissequogue Mayor Richard Smith, who said he was not speaking in an official capacity, suggested the candidates moor their vessels at a marina.
4’x86′ fixed dock with open grid, 36′ ramp, 6’x20′ float. The dock should be 4 feet above ground level above marshy areas.
spring hollow road
8’x4′ staircase, 110’x4′ fixed jetty, 36’x3′ ramp, two 20’x6′ floats
Source: NYSDEC, April 4 Nissequogue Planning Board Transcript