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Two Huntington villages settle suit with town over mooring permits

This is a view looking west from Bay

This is a view looking west from Bay Hills Beach in the Village of Huntington Bay on Jan. 7. The village has settled a suit with the Town of Huntington over mooring permits. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

A lawsuit brought by the villages of Huntington Bay and Lloyd Harbor against the Town of Huntington over mooring permits has been settled.

The two villages sued the town in December alleging the town was overstepping its authority under a new law that allowed it to issue mooring permits for use within 1,500 feet of shorelines without prior approval from the villages.

The villages argued while the town has ownership rights of underwater lands in most areas surrounding the villages, it does not have regulatory jurisdiction within the 1,500-foot boundaries unless granted permission by the villages.

The settlement calls for the town to revise its code to acknowledge that mooring permit applicants must follow village laws as well as federal, state, and town laws.

The town is in the process of drafting a local law exempting underwater lands in Lloyd Harbor from the mooring permit requirement. The town also has revised its mooring permit application.

Huntington Bay Mayor Herb Morrow says he’s satisfied with the settlement.

"It should have never gotten to this, a lawsuit," Morrow said. "What we wanted to do was preserve our authority."

The Village of Huntington Bay has agreed to introduce a law to establish a vessel regulation zone. The law will allow the town’s director of maritime services to provide contact information for boats moored within 1,500 feet of the shoreline or ask a boat owner to relocate an improperly moored vessel, if village officials request this information .

In June 2020 the town formalized its practice of issuing mooring permits in the disputed waters, something the town had been doing for two decades, upsetting village officials.

Since the settlement on June 21, the Huntington harbormaster has processed all applications for moorings in the affected waters and mailed a notification to boaters wishing to moor their vessels within 1,500 feet of village shorelines with instructions on what is required for a permit.

Both villages have agreed not to sue the town regarding the permitting of boats moored within 1,500 feet of village shorelines.

Town Attorney Nick Ciappetta said the town's effort in establishing a mooring permit law was only to clarify the town’s interest in the underwater lands that it owns.

"The town’s intention was never to, in any way, diminish any village power under the navigation law, " Ciappetta said.

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