Sag Harbor resident and real estate agent John Brannen has enjoyed the largely recreational waterfront of the Ninevah community for years, but with the summer season this year he says the waterfront has been marred by the creation of a commercial mooring field, just outside of Sag Harbor Village waters, that boasts 60 to 70 moorings.
On Tuesday, August 10 Brannen approached the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees in hopes of finding a solution to the problem, which he says has created safety issues and has disrupted his rights as a waterfront property owner.
“I think commercially we have an obligation to regulate that business,” said Brannen. “I live on the beach in Ninevah, I have a boat and my navigation is being obscured, recreation is being obscured and I don’t know what is being dumped in the water.”
Deputy Mayor Tim Culver, the board’s liaison to the village’s harbors and docks, said he agreed with Brannen, but that the village’s hands are tied as the moorings have been erected just outside the village’s jurisdiction and is in New York State controlled waters. Culver said under state law, a person can erect just 10 moorings without a permit.
“It’s not like it is state water and they are just dropping an anchor,” said Brannen. “This is impacting us tremendously and we need to do something about it.”
Culver said he was working with Sag Harbor Village Attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. to find a solution, but Thiele added it would likely be something the state would have to address, not the village.
“It’s dangerous, and this is a historically recreational area that is now becoming housing in our bay,” said Brannen, who said the moorings are so numerous they literally extend across the bay.
Brannen said he would like to see the water preserved as a state park for recreation only, although Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said it would likely be easier to simply restrict moorings there instead.
Anita Rainford, representing the Azurest Property Owners Association said she was aware of the problem as well, and that the situation has led to pirating. Rainford said she has had her anchor and pick-up buoy stolen this season, when in year’s past it was safe enough for her to leave her keys on her boat.
In other village news, the board adopted a local law on Tuesday night that expands the residency requirements for any elected Sag Harbor village justice to include legal professionals in Southampton and East Hampton towns. It is also in ongoing talks about plans to revamp parking in Sag Harbor for next summer and legalize music in the village, both of which will be discussed at the board’s next meeting on Tuesday, September 13.
The board also formally denied the John Jermain Memorial Library’s request to extend the village wastewater treatment service to the library to accommodate plans for an expansion at that site. The library will now have to work with the Suffolk County Health Department to obtain permits for an on-site system at their Main Street facility.
Lastly, Sag Harbor Village Police Chief Tom Fabiano was given permission to hire David Scott Discoll as a full-time police officer at a starting salary of $87,610.