Seeking protection with a reworked marina

Waterfront Commission discusses multiple preliminary options

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The Bellport Village Waterfront Commission has officially begun working on the redesign of the Bellport Marina project as well as the Ho-Hum Beach Marina updates, which are further along.

The village was awarded a federal grant of up to $2.8 million for the project at 75 percent of the total costs, meaning the village would be required to fund the remaining 25 percent up to $933,333. The total potential budget for the project is in the amount of $3.7 million. The monies awarded are part of the 2022 Congressional Spending Allocation Grant, offered by the federal government through HUD.

During the last commission meeting on Sept. 14, the members sought an October date to put the work at Ho-Hum Marina, including the replacement of the main bulkhead as well as the ferry dock, out to BID. Whereas, the reworking of the mainland marina seemed farther away, with ample discussion on various versions of the project.

“We are working to achieve the best possible outcome for a greatly improved marina,” said commission chair Fred Hall.

According to mayor Ray Fell, the marina is in serious need of improvements due to its inherent wind and wave damage problem, as well as the need to update the infrastructure to accommodate the first responders docking in the marina that service the area from Patchogue to Mastic. The plan will also, inadvertently, expand the number of docking slips to help ease the ever-growing resident waitlist. The commission is working with Adon Austin, of Rising Tide Waterfront Solutions, on the design of the project, which currently includes multiple options. He can also be credited with helping obtain the grant funding with the possibility of additional obtained monies.

Last week, Austin presented options for replacing the single stick dock with two stick docks to the commission for their consideration. Once the commission comes to a decision, it will then be presented to the village board of trustees for final approval and at that time there will be public comment.

If a twin stick dock option is selected, it would include a southern stick dock wide enough to accommodate larger vessels. Options discussed also included the possibility of a rock dock or a wave protection screen alternative; both would prevent waves from entering the marina.

“The wave protection is imperative for the marina,” said Austin, who looked into screening alternatives to stop the waves from directly entering the marina.

The options were originally a rock jetty, an earth-filled jetty with vinyl siding, or a wave screen. Though the rock dock would allow for larger vessels and more dock space, he said, the volume and fill of the dock would require significant mitigation and might not be subject to New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitting. However, the rock jetty would have been a more common view, with less maintenance than the earth-filled pier structure and vinyl bulkhead. The price tag for both, Austin said, is similar, and would require cutting the currently existing main dock for DEC mitigation requirements.

Commission member Ted Kamoutsis was hesitant to cut the existing main dock in half. He said the non-boat-owning residents appreciate the current landmark, and not only should it be maintained for the residents, but also because it has been structurally sound.

“Messing with the dock is dangerous and expensive, with not much reward,” he said.

Austin also provided Google Earth renderings to display the different vantage points of the options, as well as potential cost estimates. However, he explained, his estimates are just that, being that he did not at this time have any real quantities. According to Fell, the project is currently estimated within budget, including the portion at Ho-Hum. Austin estimated the project would come in at about $3.5 to $5 million, depending on the choices made, including the type of decking. Trustee Mike Ferrigno said they are already asking the residents to put money towards this project and hopes to keep the costs as low as possible.

Fairway widths were also briefly discussed, with about 55-foot openings down to 40-foot at the smallest, for smaller boats. Additionally, another member, Neil Koenig, expressed concern for the ferry turnaround with the fairway size, though another member, Eric Everitt, suggested it would suffice. Another member suggested sacrificing a few slips to allow for a turning area. Mark Leuly, captain of the ferry service, said his main concern was not with the turning area but with the safety of the rock jetty at night.

“It’s very dangerous at night; boats come in and lose sight,” he said.

The commission then took the rock jetty protective option off the table due to cost, safety, and permit requirements from the DEC.

Currently, there are 149 resident slips with an additional four slips being used for the fire department, ambulance company, Suffolk County police, and the village. The expected slips with current designs are about 170 to 175. The board and commission hope to expand the marina by 10 percent.

In closing, the members requested Austin rework the plans again to consider a wave screen with two stick docks. They also requested pricing on that option as well. Cutting the main dock was still up for discussion. That option would accommodate for more dock space and would satisfy the mitigation requirements for environmental impacts. The main dock is the Y dock and is the southernmost dock located to the east of the main pier, where the yacht club is located. The portion of the pier housing the yacht club would remain unaffected.

According to Fell, the commission is still discussing the configuration and materials to be used. They hope to make a decision by Oct. 1, which will then be presented to the board and up for public discussion, but expect to move forward with the Ho-Hum sooner. 

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