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Hempstead proposes limit on boats in residential docks

Hempstead Bay Constable Sgt. Matthew Sohm, left, Thomas

Hempstead Bay Constable Sgt. Matthew Sohm, left, Thomas Doheny, commissioner of conservation and waterways, Town Councilman Anthony D'Esposito and Chris Squeri of the Marine Trade Association outline a proposal on boat docks at the West Marina in Point Lookout on Friday. Credit: Angelique D’Alessandro

The Town of Hempstead is proposing a limit on the number of boats that homeowners can dock at backyard boat slips after residents complained of pollution and traffic.

“Unfortunately, a common practice of renting residential dock space or slips for boat storage is becoming an eyesore in our beautiful waterfront communities,” Councilman Anthony D’Esposito said at a news conference Friday at Point Lookout. “This practice affects the serenity of our waterfront by adding noise and pollution, obviously a drastic effect on our quality of life.”

The proposal would restrict boating docks to one per single residence. The dock would be limited to one slip per 20 feet of shoreline, allotting three slips for an average size lot, officials said. The proposed regulation would only apply to new construction as long as previous structures have proper permits.

D’Esposito said that renting out residential docks has led to many issues for the town and for local businesses.

“The practice [of renting dock space] also infringes upon marinas, who are operating their businesses in a professional manner,” he said.

He said he has heard complaints of garbage tossed from boats and more parking spots taken up by nonresidents.

D’Esposito stressed that the new law is not meant to target residents with multiple boats, but to curb rentals, “especially commercial fishing boats.”

Chris Squeri of the Marine Trades Association, a group that promotes the marine industry on Long Island, said his organization worked with the town on the proposed legislation.

“We asked for clarification — what constitutes a residential property? What constitutes a commercial property?” Squeri said. “I think this [law] clearly defines that.”

The town board will have a public hearing on the proposal on May 22.

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