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Town asked to reconsider law prohibiting docks at Hashamomuck Pond

Homeowners on Ruch Lane in Southold submitted a petition to the Town Board Tuesday evening asking it to re-evaluate a 2007 local law that prohibits new docks over wetlands at Hashamomuck Pond.

Attorney Patricia Moore, a Ruch Lane resident, submitted the petition.

Homeowners have been in contact the Board of Trustees, who seem to be in favor of a change, Ms. Moore said.

The prohibition of new docks was intended to prevent cut-throughs, or fragmentation of the wetlands. But it turns out to have had an opposite effect, residents said. 

Many homes on the pond had docks that over the years either deteriorated or needed replacing, Ms. Moore said, but the code prohibited that. The wetlands are healthy where docks currently are, she said. But where there are no docks, habitat fragmentation caused by pedestrian and vessel activity is occurring.

“It cuts openings in the wetlands because that is the access point so it really ruins the wetlands,” Ms. Moore said. The Trustees could work with residents to customize docks to fit the water body.

Ruch Lane resident John Pitman said he sees the dock as a way to preserve the wetlands so that, for example, a kayaker wouldn’t be dragging their boat through the habitat.

“Hashamomuck Pond is really like a park,” he said. “There are people that swim, people that fish, having sailboats, motorboats, water skiing — it’s really a large recreational area.”

Town Supervisor Scott Russell said he would like to refer to the Trustees for their recommendation.

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Photo caption: Hashamomuck Pond. (Kelly Zegers photo)