Hardy Plumbing
December 21, 2011

Fueled By Town Plan

They've argued it's dangerous, both to people and the environment. They've argued it's economically unfair. And last Thursday night local marina owners argued with . . . almost no one, during a hearing on the proposed ban of the delivery of fuel to vessels from trucks parked at any town marina or dock, with the exception of the town facilities on Three Mile Harbor in Springs.

Most who spoke hail from Montauk where marina owners and operators have complained the fuel trucks pose an environmental and safety hazard to the public and unfair competition to them. Carl Darenberg, for example, detailed a lengthy list of safety precautions he was required to install at his marina at a cost close to $1 million. Richard Janis of the Star Island Marina spoke of seeing a truck-to-boat spill and "the rainbow was unbelievable." By the time authorities arrive on the scene of such fuel spills, he noted, "The truck's gone, the boat's gone." The towns of Riverhead and Southold both prohibit truck-to-vessel fuelling, Janis pointed out.

Stuart Vorpahl was the sole speaker opposed to the ban. He said he didn't think the town should be "mucksing around" with private enterprise.

Several speakers questioned why the fuelling would be completely banned in Montauk, but still permitted in Three Mile Harbor. Supervisor Bill Wilkinson explained that Montauk offers ample opportunities for boaters to find fuel, whereas such sources are less readily available in Springs.

Marina owner Lynn Mendelman believes the measure is a positive step. Favoring the notion of making better use of town docks, she wondered if the town wouldn't consider expanding uses there to include amenities like rest rooms and perhaps spaces for the movement of items and even people.

"Are you using the F word?" Wilkinson asked, the F word in this case being "ferry." Mendelman didn't respond amidst laughter from the audience. She simply reiterated interest in promoting town docks for public usage.

Also last Thursday night, the town board hosted a hearing on a revision to the existing contractors licensing law. Town officials softened the proposal from an earlier iteration that targeted almost anyone who did any kind of home maintenance. The code change heard last week encompasses those whose gross income from home maintenance exceeds $10,000. Only first time applicants for the license have to take continuing education classes.

Speaking on behalf of the East End chapter of the Long Island Builders Institute, Pat Trunzo looked askance at the educational requirement reduction. He also complained that his group was not invited to participate in discussions that led up to the crafting of the code change.

The law expands the scope of current legislation to include additional trades and occupations, such as landscaper. However, it speaks only of LIBI standards. Standards related to appropriate disciplines ought to be added, Trunzo said.


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