The East Hampton Zoning Board of Appeals reached a unanimous decision on Tuesday night to deny the construction of a large dock in Lake Montauk that the applicant had claimed pre-existed. Kevin Fee of East Lake Drive requested a natural resources permit to build a 159-by-4-foot fixed dock, a 12-by-3-foot ramp, or catwalk, and a 20-by-6-foot float with pilings on a one-acre property with tidal and freshwater wetlands in a flood zone. The proposed dock would have extended into deeper waters, about 74 feet past the high-tide line.
According to Phil Gamble, the Z.B.A. chairman, there are very slight remnants of an original dock remaining. In 2003 the late Don Sharkey, then the chief building inspector, told the Fees in a letter they could apply for an emergency building permit, which was apparently never done. Until now, the applicants have not come forward to initiate a rebuild.
To comply with town code, only a pre-existing dock can be rebuilt or replaced, and new docks have to be floating and fully removable. Also, they are limited to a width of five feet.
Lee White, a board member, said the proposed structure “doesn’t fit neatly in either of the categories, replacement or reconstruction. It’s not a replacement, because it’s essentially larger. I don’t think every alternative was pursued. I’m going to vote to deny it.”
Board members said there was photographic evidence of something, such as cement stock pilings; but nothing remotely close to the proposed configuration of the dock.
“If you allow this particular dock to be installed and to go as far out as he wants, what’s to say anybody else may want to do the same thing. They may want to put a dock out,” said Mr. Gamble.
Another member, Alex Walter, acknowledged that the Department of Environmental Conservation had okayed a neighbor’s dock, though “limited” it, and denied one for property to the north. “The D.E.C. permit situation seems to be hit and miss,” he said.
“The property now isn’t improved with a lawfully pre-existing dock, there’s no dock there,” said Mr. Walter. “There are some remnants, pulled back off the beach.” Because no pre-existing dock exists, he said, “that would kick out his ability to reconstruct. . . . He could go then to a floating dock, and he would have a whole other host of issues.”
The board’s final determination will include the decision that there is no lawfully pre-existing dock at this time.