It’s been six years since things began to change at the former Mill Creek Inn, once a restaurant and marina on the thin stretch of Route 25 between Southold and Greenport, sandwiched between Hashamomuck Pond and Peconic Bay.
The original inn, which stood in disrepair years after its heyday as a seaside night spot and wedding hall was torn down in 2005 and a new building rose in its footprint.
Since then, the building constructed by Richard Principi of Principi Properties has stood vacant and unused, with a chain-link construction fence surrounding the property and a sign listing the building as for sale or lease.
Mill Creek Partners LLC, led by Cutchogue builder Eugene Burger, purchased the property in June for $2.47 million.
Mr. Burger is now attempting to untangle the web of legal hassles that plagued the Principi company’s ownership.
Some existing components of the building, including several decks and patios that were built without permits, and a plan to replace a section of aging bulkheading received Town Trustee approval in September. But the Trustees are holding off on legalizing the 50 boat slips and floating docks until the project undergoes site plan review, said Trustee president Jill Doherty.
No site plan had been submitted to the town as of earlier this week and Mr. Burger did not return calls for comment.
Ms. Doherty said that while construction was under way, Mr. Principi received a stop work order for several building permit violations and several citations from the Trustees for installing docks without permits.
“Most people come back and amend their building permits and he didn’t,” said Ms. Doherty. “The Trustees are the least of his problems from my perspective.”
Mr. Principi also came under fire from the Trustees in 2007 for repairing existing docks and building new docks using treated lumber. He was since ordered to redo the repair work using untreated lumber.
According to the Trustees’ files, 20 to 40 boat slips had been added by various owners over a 15-year period, all without approvals.
Ms. Doherty said the Trustees don’t object to the marina, which is part of the restaurant property.
“It’s used for what it’s meant to be,” she said. “We just want to get the paperwork in order and get it legal.”
Ms. Doherty said that when her board addresses the dock space expansion, they’ll follow state environmental conservation law and require the addition of a boat septic waste pump-out station.
On the decision to approve the two existing wood decks, a patio made of stone pavers and new bulkheading, Ms. Doherty said, “We wanted to give him something. He’s in a Catch-22. This allows him to move forward with planning and zoning. But we didn’t want to give approval for the marina and find out that the site plan moved things around.
We’ll let him go through that.”