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Only DEC boat ramp into Peconic Bay could be at Old Barge site

Old Barge in Southold

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has unveiled plans for a new boat launching ramp at the site of the former Old Barge Restaurant on Old Main Road in Southold.

Proposed for the 3.2-acre property, dubbed the “Hashamomuck Marine Waterway Access Site,” are a marine pump-out station, a floating dock, two launching ramps, a bike rack, a handicapped-accessible picnic table, a canoe and kayak launching area, a floating “observation pier,” a wash-down station and other features, officials said.

State officials have said the site, which was discussed at Monday’s Southold Town Planning Board work session, would be the DEC’s only waterway access site on the Peconic Bay.

“The DEC is not subject to our review, they can basically build this without our approval,” Southold Planning director Heather Lanza said. “But they came around and met briefly with the Town Trustees and said they would listen to our comments if we had any.”

The only questions Planning Board members had were whether the site would have lighting and, if so, would it comply with the town’s lighting standards. They also wondered where people might park if the lot were full.

In late 2009 after 61 years, the Old Barge closed and the state acquired the property, which had a fair market value of about $2 million. The purchase was made using a federal Sport Fish Restoration grant of $1.5 million from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and a donation from the Denson and Reiter families of Mattituck, who had previously owned the property.

An additional $200,000 in state money was provided for the design of the boat launching facility, state officials said when they acquired the property.

The Old Barge, which has been demolished, was originally a World War II ammunition barge that had been towed to the site in 1948 and turned into a restaurant.

Correction: An earlier version of this story stated it would be the first DEC boat launch into the Peconic Bay. The East Creek ramp in Jamesport was originally a DEC ramp before being turned over to Riverhead Town several years ago.

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Photo: If approved, the proposed ‘Hashamomuck Marine Waterway Access Site’ will become the first state DEC boat ramp into Peconic Bay. (Credit: Tim Gannon)