Nearly two dozen protesters in kayaks took to the waters at Mattituck Creek last Saturday afternoon to protest the proposed construction of two yacht storage sheds on the shores of the creek.
The protest was attended by members of Long Island Paddlers, the non-profit organization made up of kayak enthusiasts, and was organized by Save Mattituck Inlet, in coordination with Save the Sound and its Soundkeeper program, according to a press release by Save Mattituck Inlet.
“We are thrilled to have Save the Sound and the LI Paddlers come see first hand what is at stake at Mattituck Inlet,” said Stephen Boscola, co-chair of Save Mattituck Inlet. “The loss of a forest and hillside along Mattituck Creek would irreparably change the beauty and serenity that people, especially kayakers, come here to enjoy and explore.”
At 1 p.m. the kayaks embarked from their launch site near the mouth of Mattituck Creek at the marine waterway access site, They paddled up the creek, up a small tributary, back to the main creek, and south to Route 48, then returned to their original launch site, totaling approximately four miles in their journey.
The yacht-storage project was proposed by Strong’s Yacht Center and would require cutting down more than 600 mature trees on a 33-acre wooded site on the west side of Mattituck Creek, according to the press release. Critics say the proposed construction of the two 50,000 square-foot yacht-storage sheds poses threats to water quality and marine life and would increase the number and size of boats traveling through the inlet to Long Island Sound,according to the press release. The site adjoins the Mill Road Preserve, a public nature preserve with trails for walking and bird-watching.
Jeff Strong said that his company’s plans now before the town are compliant with Marine II industrial zoning and refers those with concerns to visit the information page on their business website, strongsmarine.com/syc-building-project.
“Our family has been in Southold Town since 1965,” Mr.Strong said. “Any projects that we’ve ever taken on, the community and the neighbors all always find that we improve our properties, we keep them clean, we keep them neat and they add value to our communities… While we do understand and appreciate their concerns, we’re active boaters, I was kayaking on the on the inlet with my grandsons fishing, so we’re not going to do anything that’s going to jeopardize our neighbors or our family, just like we haven’t since 1965.”
The project is currently before the Southold Town Planning Board. More than 2,800 citizens have signed Save Mattituck Inlet petitions opposing the proposal.
“I’ve been coming to the North Fork since I was a child visiting my grandparents in Orient,” said Anne Sherwood Pundyk, co-chair of Save Mattituck Inlet. “Now I live in Mattituck and I want my grandchildren to have the same love of the natural world that I learned here. It’s important to preserve the natural beauty and community character we all love by taking a balanced view about development.”