Boathouse Controversy at Coindre Hall
by Maureen Daly
The future of the boathouse at Coindre Hall has community activists up in arms, although work that has already begun at the park.
Police from the state Department of Environmental Conservation advised the individuals working at the Lloyd Harbor-West Shore Huntington site to "stop work" until the DEC investigates the latest complaints regarding necessary permits beyond the required DEC permit for the bulkhead reconstruction work that is already in place.
Among other issues, activists are complaining that wetland vegetation has been improperly removed.
Suffolk County Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport) confirmed that vegetation, including the reed grass "Phragmities," has already been cleared away from the boathouse area, but noted that the primary work involves preparations to repair a damaged seawall. Spencer chairs the advisory board for the project.
Community activists say that unauthorized demolition of wetlands on the lower 12 acres of Coindre Hall Park was ongoing, and that cattails had been removed improperly. Activists who visited the park last week alerted the DEC.
According to Spencer, the Advisory Committee does not have the power to make changes, and that the ultimate decision lies with the county parks commission, adding that the area also has a historical designation.
“We can’t do a lot of things people are suggesting,” noted Spencer. "Our goal is to revitalize, not redevelop.”
Activists fear that the area around the boathouse will be turned into a restaurant or other commercial site. Members of the parks advisory committee include: Kathleen Cleary, Garrett Chelius, Shameika Hanson, Keith Larsen, Richard Martin, Ian Milligan, Herb Morrow, Ginny Munger-Kahn, Charlie Murphy, Joseph W. Ryan, Jr. and Jerome Wood. The next meeting of the advisory committee is scheduled for August 10th at Coindre Hall.