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Feb 11, 2009 2:28 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Baykeeper sues over Dockers dock plans

Feb 11, 2009 2:28 PM

The saga of the Dockers Water Cafe in East Quogue was dragged into its sixth year last week when the Peconic Baykeeper sued to have the restaurant’s recently approved plans for a new dock revoked.

In October, the Southampton Town Trustees approved a proposal by Dockers owner Larry Hoffman to build a dock that can accommodate up to 16 boats in the boat basin in front of his property. The approved plan was a shadow of the initial proposal from Mr. Hoffman, which called for 54 slips on four docks along the property bulkhead and the installation of gas pumps for fueling both docked and transient boats. Mr. Hoffman publicly abandoned those plans in 2006, despite having sunk more than $100,000 into the planning and defense of the proposal, because of broad public outcry and official criticism of the plan.

Last Thursday, five years to the day after Mr. Hoffman’s initial marina design was presented to the Town Trustees, the Baykeeper filed suit in state Supreme Court asking a judge to overturn the Trustees’ approval of the scaled-down version on the grounds that the dock may harm water quality in the area, threaten wildlife species and force a closure of productive shellfish grounds in the area.

“We continue to argue that this was an inappropriate location for a marina because ... there will be degradation of water quality,” Peconic Baykeeper Kevin McAllister said of his organization’s years-long battle against the Dockers application. “They can have 16 slips, and you’ll probably get even more boats in there than that, plus Jet-Skis. There’s no water in there. That’s going to cause prop dredging and affect water quality.”

Mr. McAllister also said that the state Department of Environmental Conservation closes shellfishing in any waters where 10 or more boats are docked or moored. The Dockers approval allows nine boats to be permanently docked at the site and leaves seven slips open for transient vessels. The restaurant has for years used its bulkhead to tie up as many as a dozen transient boats.

In 1993, the Town Planning Board approved dockage for up to 15 boats at the site. During the proposal’s review, state environmental officials withheld judgment of whether the new configuration would force a closure of shellfishing in the area until after the dock was built.

Town Trustee Jon Semlear said this week that he believes the approval his board gave to the Dockers application was fair and environmentally responsible.

“We pared it down so much,” Mr. Semlear said. “We got rid of the 50 slips, we got rid of the gas pumps. There’s not going to be any dredging. It’s not going to be much more than is there already. I think it’s a reasonable plan to approve.”

Mr. Hoffman declined to comment on the proposal itself, but did say that he thought the Baykeeper suit was a continuation of what he has called a personal vendetta against him by Mr. McAllister.

He’s nothing but an environmental opportunist and he’s using my project to help his fund-raising,” Mr. Hoffman said.

During the battle over the original proposal, Mr. Hoffman fought back against the Baykeeper’s efforts. At one point he anonymously set up a website soliciting applicants for a “Shinnecock Baykeeper” position, which Mr. McAllister said was an effort to undermine his environmental advocacy efforts and deflect criticism from the Dockers application.

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THANK YOU Kevin McAllister !!! They did get the trustees approval (I don't see how or why) but Dockers will just use this as a precedent for future expansion , in my opinion.
A GoogleEarth view of the bottomlands North of Dockers looks suspiciously deeper than what would normally expected in this area , in my opinion.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Feb 11, 09 4:18 PM
" He’s nothing but an environmental opportunist and he’s using my project to help his fund-raising,” Mr. Hoffman said. "

Oh really Mr.Hoffman ? Maybe you're an environmental DEGRADER.You should be satisfied with what you have .Maybe you should move to western Suffolk or even NJ.

You can easily bet that local people will do everything they can to see your expansion stopped.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Feb 11, 09 4:23 PM
Here we go again.

Thank you Kevin McAllister for doing the job that our Trustees should be doing. That old boys club is kow-towing again but this time to a major Republican party contributor and fun-raiser. How much more blatant and obvious could you want this to appear? And don't forget that "The Southampton Town Trustees have never met a dock they didn't like".

Couple this bad decision with the other really bad decision and "screwing" they gave to the Westhampton Cemetery Association ...more
By foodie (74), Remsenburg on Feb 11, 09 6:14 PM
Locations of marinas should not be permitted in environmentally sensitive wetlands, biologically productive waters, critical wildlife nesting and feeding locations or shellfish areas. This describes the bay at Docker’s. Mr. Hoffman is really the opportunist here.

Why aren't the Trustees protecting our bays and bay bottoms? Kevin McAllister is doing more to protect our bays than the Trustees we elect. We need to change the Trustees.

By Bob Whyte (48), Hampton Bays on Feb 11, 09 7:34 PM
"During the battle over the original proposal, Mr. Hoffman fought back against the Baykeeper’s efforts. At one point he anonymously set up a website soliciting applicants for a “Shinnecock Baykeeper” position"

Actually, it was Hoffman and First Coastals Mr. Terchunian that set up the web site, the truck w/ Shinnecock Baykeeper signs etc. etc. A quick Google search explains that clearly........ Hoffman hosts fundraisers for the local politicos.

Keep up the good work Kevin! Our Trustees ...more
By G (342), Southampton on Feb 11, 09 8:56 PM
Replace all of the Trustees. They are un-trustworthy.
By rabbit (65), watermill on Feb 12, 09 12:06 PM
Kevin is a profiteer! This lawsuit is just sour grapes, baseless and will cost the taxpayers thousands to defend!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 13, 09 10:25 AM
"Kevin is a profiteer" from what?!?

That should be explained.If you have specal information about Kevin McAllister, out with it!
By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Feb 15, 09 1:32 AM
A quick trip to Docker's reveals that its situated far from Inlets, and has shallow bay frontage. It's obvious that a marina situated here would be inappropriate and damage the environment. Over the last 10 years, this former small bar has been expanded and turned into a fancy high volume restaurant. Where does the waste water go? What happens when jet skis churn a shallow bottom and drop quarts of oil from their engines into this area? And then everyone wonders why the bay gets brown tide. ...more
By davidf (325), hampton bays on Feb 17, 09 1:50 PM
I wonder if the Southampton Town Republican committee will be having their "lobster bake" at Dockers again this year? Gee...I wonder how many of the Southampton Town Trustees (all Republican) went to the Dockers, GOP fundraiser last year. This "pay to play" thing here in Southampton must end. Let's give our government back to the people of the town. By the way, how long do you think that it will be before Dockers askes for an extension to its new marina.
By SHNative (554), Southampton on Feb 19, 09 8:25 AM
Thank you Kevin for defending our wetlands from development. The Larry Hoffmans of the world should not be profiting from the degredation of our environment. It is too bad the trustees don't have the political cajones to do what should have been done
By C Law (354), Water Mill on Feb 19, 09 11:54 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:25 PM
BTW - are you all on Kevin's payroll or a member of his corporation? You all seem a bit jaded. Just a thought!
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:31 PM
.....and did you even hear Kevin complain when the Town renovated the facilities at Tiana Bay Beach (across from Neptunes)? He didn't sue the Town over that one and it has way more facilities, blacktop parking, floating docks, dredging, piles, piers, walkways, ramps, etc.... Take a look at it on google earth!!

Dockers is not creating anything new - only making what they already have nicer.

I go there, it's hardly obnoxious, and isn't boating, recreation, fishing, beach, and ...more
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:49 PM
Source - www.Guidestar.org Search Peconic Baykeeper Inc
Personal Salary (not including bebefits)
2005 $85, 593.00
2006 $82,669.00
2007 $78,229.00

Plus exclusive use of a 30 foot boat (gas or diesel)!!!!

Not a bad job for stirring things up.......
By BIGjimbo12 (201), East Quogue on Feb 21, 09 6:57 PM