Town of Brookhaven, NY
Suffolk County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Brookhaven 6-16-1987 by L.L. No. 7-1987; amended in its entirety 3-17-1998 by L.L. No. 6-1998, effective 3-20-1998. Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Parks and recreation areas — See Ch. 10.
Boat control — See Ch. 13.
Houseboats — See Ch. 14.
Docks — See Ch. 22.
Shellfish — See Ch. 57.
Brookhaven-Port Jefferson Harbor Complex Waterway — See Ch. 74.

§ 8-1 Legislative intent.

The bay and harbor bottoms of the Town of Brookhaven are an important natural resource which supports a diverse assemblage of benthic fauna. The commercial and recreational harvesting of shellfish continues to provide a livelihood and a means of recreation to the residents of the Town of Brookhaven. In recent years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of boat moorings placed on Town-owned underwater lands. The unregulated, unplanned, and uncontrolled placement of moorings has resulted in use conflicts between the baymen, some recreational boaters and the mooring owners. By virtue of the Town of Brookhaven's ownership of the lands underwater, it is the intent of this chapter to regulate the placement of boat moorings to avoid use conflicts and provide for safe navigation and the protection of existing natural resources, public health and welfare, and to ensure that areas for water-dependent recreational activities are available to the residents of the Town of Brookhaven.

§ 8-2 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
BOAT or VESSEL
Any watercraft or other contrivance used on or capable of being used as a means of transportation in water.
CATWALK
An elevated walkway, usually built to gain access to a commercial or residential dock, built at a fixed height above grade and which is constructed landward of the apparent highwater line.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
COMMISSIONER
The Commissioner of Planning, Environment and Land Management.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
DESIGNATED MOORING AREA
See “mooring area.”
DIRECTOR
The Director of the Division of Environmental Protection or the designee of the Commissioner of Planning, Environmental and Land Management.
[Amended 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
DOCK MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR
The customary, usual and normal activity to restore the sound and good state of a dock after normal decay or degradation from normal use or exposure to the elements. This includes the routine maintenance necessary from time to time to keep a structure in a state of good repair, including, but not limited to: the incidental replacement of decking lumber for a dock, catwalk, or floating dock or other alterations which do not require a building permit, increase the square footage of an existing structure, or replace structural supports that are anchored or installed firmly into the ground or provide load-bearing support.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
DOCK PERMIT
That form of written Town approval required to place a dock on Town-owned land and underwater lands as specified under this chapter.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
FIXED DOCK
An elevated walkway which is constructed at a fixed height above grade and which extends seaward from the apparent high-water line.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
FLOATING DOCK
Any structure, raft or floating platform which is designed to float upon the surface of a water body and is secured in place by poles, pilings, anchors, or any other type of mooring system that provides access to the water. A floating dock shall include the float itself, any pilings or mooring system designed to keep the dock at a fixed point and the ramp, which spans the distance from a fixed structure (fixed dock or bulkhead) or shoreline to the floating dock.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
FLOATING HOME
Any vessel in fact used, designed or occupied as a dwelling unit, business office or source of any occupation or for any private or social club of whatsoever nature, including but not limited to a structure constructed upon a barge primarily immobile and out of navigation which functions substantially as a land structure while the same is moored or docked within the municipal limits of the Town of Brookhaven, whether or not such vessel is self-propelled.
MOORING
Any anchorage system which by design and/or construction is not capable of or is not normally retrieved when a vessel or boat leaves its anchorage, or is used to semipermanently secure in place any boat, barge, floating home, scow, raft, float, or any other vessel or floating object. A mooring includes, but is not restricted to, an anchorage system consisting of an anchor or weight attached to a length of chain and/or line secured to a mooring buoy or float.
MOORING AREA (also “designated mooring area”)
Any Town-owned bay or harbor bottom, or other underwater lands, so designated by the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Brookhaven as such, where mooring may occur without a mooring permit as required by this chapter.
MOORING PERMIT
That form of written Town approval required to place a mooring on Town-owned underwater lands as specified under this chapter.
MOORING TACKLE
Any assemblage of hardware, rope, line, wire or chain which is used to attach a mooring anchor or weight to a float or buoy.
MOUNT SINAI HARBOR MOORING AREA
All that area of land underwater depicted by a map entitled "MOUNT SINAI HARBOR MOORING AREA" as "Mooring Areas - Permit Required" and those lands indicated on said map as "Leased and/or Licensed Underwater Lands No Public Mooring" and further described as located north of the tidal marsh islands and excluding the areas: within the navigational channel; all areas within 100 feet of the apparent low water mark of the shoreline of Mount Sinai Harbor; all areas within 100 feet of any marsh island as measured by the seaward limit of the Spartina alterniflora vegetation; all areas within 100 feet of any Town dock, commercial or private dock, launching ramp or Town-leased and/or -licensed underwater lands.
NAVIGATION LANES
Those channels so designated and identified on federal navigation charts and those channels in common use for local navigation and so identified by navigational buoys or markers.
PERSON
Any firm, partnership, corporation, association or individual.
PORT JEFFERSON COMPLEX MOORING AREA
All that area situate within the area 100 feet east of the main navigational channel and south of the line drawn 1,500 feet north of the existing location of the green navigational "7" buoy to a point of land located at the northernmost point of the bulkhead located at the end of Motts Hollow Road, excluding those areas within 200 feet of the apparent low water mark of any shoreline, within 500 feet of any recreational or commercial dock or pier or within 1,500 feet of the northernmost tip of the Bridgeport-Port Jefferson ferry terminal dock; all that area known as “Setauket Harbor” and located west and south of an imaginary line extending west into the harbor from the intersection of Van Brunt Manor Road and Tinker Lane in Poquott and excluding all areas within one hundred 100 feet of the apparent low water mark of the shoreline, and those areas known as “Little Bay” and “Scott's Cove.”
PORT JEFFERSON HARBOR COMPLEX
The surface waters of Port Jefferson Harbor, Setauket Harbor, Lithe Bay, Conscience Bay, the Narrows and 1,500 feet north of Mount Misery extending west following the shoreline to 1,500 feet northwest of Old Field Point, also known as the "Harbor Complex."
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
POWER DREDGING
The action by which a powered vessel is tied to a dock or anchored to a stationary point while the motor is engaged to blow out or remove sediments using the prop wash to scour the material around a dock to increase water depth.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
RESIDENTIAL DOCK
Any fixed dock and/or floating dock designed or constructed as a continuous unit to provide access to the surface waters from a lot that is zoned for residential use. The term "dock" shall include all associated structures such as ramps and mooring piles.
[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
TOWN MOORING AREA
A mooring area designated by the Town Board pursuant to § 10-29D(2) of the Brookhaven Town Code, and any amendments thereto.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
TOWN-OWNED UNDERWATER LANDS
The bottom of any bay, creek, harbor or tidal wetland over which the tide ebbs and flows, the title to which is vested in the Trustees of the Freeholders and Commonalty of the Town of Brookhaven or in the Town of Brookhaven.

§ 8-3 Uses restricted.

A. 
No person shall place or cause to be placed a mooring on any underwater lands within the Town of Brookhaven without first obtaining a mooring permit from the Town of Brookhaven's Division of Environmental Protection.
[Amended 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
B. 
No person shall tie to or secure any boat, vessel, floating home, barge, scow, raft, float or any other object to any mooring which has not first received a mooring permit from the Town of Brookhaven's Division of Environmental Protection.
[Amended 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
C. 
Exceptions. The requirements of this chapter shall not be applicable to the following uses:
(1) 
Temporary mooring installed to facilitate work on projects for which a valid wetlands and waterways permit has been issued by Town of Brookhaven;
(2) 
Temporary mooring installed to facilitate work on projects financed or undertaken by the government of the United States of America, the State of New York, or any political subdivision thereof, the County of Suffolk, or the Town of Brookhaven; and
(3) 
Moorings located within a Town mooring area as defined in and regulated under Chapter 10 of the Town Code of the Town of Brookhaven. Moorings placed or installed within a Town mooring area shall require a mooring permit pursuant to Chapter 10 of the Town Code of the Town of Brookhaven and any amendments thereto.
[Amended 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
(4) 
Moorings located within the Port Jefferson Harbor Complex as defined and regulated under Chapter 74 of the Brookhaven Town Code. Moorings placed or installed within the Port Jefferson Harbor Complex shall require a mooring permit pursuant to Chapter 74 of the Town Code of the Town of Brookhaven, and any amendments thereto.
[Added 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]

§ 8-4 Application for mooring permit.

[Amended 4-17-2001 by L.L. No. 13-2001, effective 4-20-2001]
Any person proposing to place or cause to be placed a mooring upon any underwater lands within the Town of Brookhaven shall file a permit application with the Division of Environmental Protection, on such forms as promulgated by the Director and shall include:
A. 
A statement of authority from the applicant for any agent making application;
B. 
The exact location of the mooring placed on a navigation chart with either the longitude and latitude or distances to at least two permanent landmarks indicated;
C. 
An accurate description of the mooring system to be employed indicating the type and weight of the anchor, the length of the chain, and the size and type of the mooring buoy;
D. 
A notarized affidavit signed by the applicant which indemnifies and holds harmless the Town of Brookhaven from any liability claims, in such form as shall be approved by the Town Attorney;
E. 
A copy of the current registration, title, and/or documentation papers of the boat or vessel if applicable;
F. 
Other factual information as the Director deems necessary and/or appropriate; and
G. 
Payment of a fee as otherwise required by the Code.

§ 8-5 Granting, denying or limiting mooring permits.

A. 
In granting, denying or limiting any mooring permit, the Division of Environmental Protection shall consider: navigation, public access to water-dependent recreational activities, shellfishing and other natural resources, public health and welfare, the potential impact of the mooring on the access of the waterway by local waterfront property owners, and access to the mooring from the adjacent upland or shoreline.
B. 
The Division of Environmental Protection shall give preference to those mooring applications which are:
(1) 
For the sole use of a property owner lessee of nearby waterfront property; or
(2) 
For sole use of residents of the Town of Brookhaven or for the sole use of a locally based property owner's association, yacht club or the like;
(3) 
For proposed locations outside of certified shellfishing areas; and
(4) 
For proposed locations which are outside of normal navigational lanes.

§ 8-6 Duration of mooring season.

After issuance of a mooring permit, moorings may be placed from March 1 through November 30. For just cause and at the discretion of the Director, mooring permits may be issued with no seasonal restrictions.

§ 8-7 Permit expiration.

A mooring permit shall be valid for one mooring season as defined herein.

§ 8-8 Display of permit number.

Any holder of a mooring permit must display the permit number, in numbers not less than three inches in height, on the buoy or float attached to the mooring tackle.

§ 8-9 Fee.

[Amended 1-7-2014 by L.L. No. 2-2014, effective 1-15-2014]
Mooring permit fees shall be established by the Town Board and may be amended from time to time. Note: No fee shall be assessed for permits issued for moorings placed or installed on privately owned underwater lands.

§ 8-10 Appeals of decisions regarding mooring permits.

Any person or applicant may appeal any decision regarding a mooring permit to the Town Board of the Town of Brookhaven. Said appeal must be taken within 30 days of the denial by the Director, and made to the Town Clerk upon such forms promulgated by the Town Clerk. Any person or applicant may appeal the Town Board determination pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 8-11 Mastic Beach docks.

[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018[1]]
A. 
No person shall use or tie a boat to a dock located on Town of Brookhaven parkland (formerly owned by the Village of Mastic Beach) without first obtaining a docking permit from the Town of Brookhaven's Division of Environmental Protection.
B. 
No person shall construct or repair a dock located on Town of Brookhaven parkland or land underwater without first obtaining a permit or approval from the Town of Brookhaven's Division of Environmental Protection and any other regulatory agencies.
C. 
No person shall violate the conditions of a dock permit issued by the Division of Environmental Protection.
D. 
Exceptions. The requirements of this chapter shall not be applicable to the following:
(1) 
The temporary docking of a vessel, not to exceed three days, due to a storm event, mechanical failure, or other reasons necessary to protect persons or private property;
(2) 
Vessels located within property owned by the Mastic Beach Property Owner's Association (known as "section one marina"); and
(3) 
Vessels docked at the bulkhead within the Sheep Pen Creek embayment formerly known as "section five marina."
E. 
Restrictions:
(1) 
The dock must be maintained in a condition that it is safe and not a danger to navigation or public health and welfare. The maintenance and repair of the dock shall be the sole responsibility of the dock permit holder. The Division of Environmental Protection shall inspect all docks in April of each year and any dock that is deemed unsafe, and which has not been issued permits by all regulatory agencies to complete the necessary repair by April 30 of that year, will be removed by the Town of Brookhaven.
(2) 
The docking permit shall be valid from the second Saturday in May through the first Saturday in November. No overwintering of the vessels shall be permitted.
(3) 
No dock shall be relocated, altered or repaired without the issuance of permits by the regulatory agencies.
(4) 
A path to the dock will be via a single access path not to exceed five feet in width. Unauthorized mowing or clearing will be considered a violation of the docking permit.
(5) 
No more than one vessel may be authorized to be attached to a dock at any given time, unless the conditions of the dock permit state otherwise.
(6) 
No vessel that is tied to the dock will be permitted to rest on the bottom. Docks must be of sufficient length to access navigable water that has adequate depth to allow the vessel to float through all tidal cycles with the engine in the tilt position.
(7) 
Power dredging is prohibited.
(8) 
Any holder of a dock permit must display the dock authorization sticker supplied by the Town of Brookhaven. The permit sticker must be affixed to the vessel in a location that is easily visible from the dock.
(9) 
All dock permits shall expire at the end of the docking season.
(10) 
The Town of Brookhaven's Division of Environmental Protection will make every effort to ensure that a previously leased dock stays with the lessee in subsequent years. Should a previous lessee not reapply and pay for a docking permit by April 1 of each year, the dock will be forfeit and either removed or leased to an applicant on a waiting list.
[1]
Editor's Note: This local law also renumbered former §§ 8-11 and 8-12 as §§ 8-15 and 8-16, respectively.

§ 8-12 Application for dock permit.

[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
Any person proposing to place or cause to be placed a dock upon underwater lands formerly owned by the Village of Mastic Beach within the Town of Brookhaven shall file a permit application with the Division of Environmental Protection, on such forms as promulgated by the Director, and shall include:
A. 
A statement of authority from the applicant for any agent making application;
B. 
The exact location of the dock placed on a map or navigation chart with either the longitude and latitude or distances to at least two permanent landmarks indicated;
C. 
An accurate description of the dock;
D. 
A notarized affidavit signed by the applicant which indemnifies and holds harmless the Town of Brookhaven from any liability claims, in such form as shall be approved by the Town Attorney;
E. 
A copy of the current registration, title, and/or documentation papers of the boat or vessel if applicable;
F. 
Other factual information as the Director deems necessary and/or appropriate; and
G. 
Payment of a fee as required.

§ 8-13 Granting, denying or limiting mooring permits.

[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
A. 
In granting, denying or limiting any dock permit, the Division of Environmental Protection shall consider: navigation, public access to water-dependent recreational activities, shellfishing and other natural resources, tidal wetland protection and protection of the flora and fauna of the benthos, public health and welfare, and access to the dock from the adjacent upland or shoreline.
B. 
The Division of Environmental Protection shall give preference to dock applications which are:
(1) 
For the sole use of a property owner who previously leased the dock and/or residents of the former Village of Mastic Beach; or
(2) 
For residents who hold valid fishing or shellfishing licenses from the Town of Brookhaven and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and
(3) 
Holders of valid mariculture permits.

§ 8-14 Appeals of decisions regarding dock permits.

[Added 1-25-2018 by L.L. No. 2-2018, effective 2-6-2018]
Any person or applicant may appeal any decision regarding a dock permit to the Town Board of the Town of Brookhaven. Said appeal must be taken within 30 days of the denial by the Director, and made to the Town Clerk upon such forms promulgated by the Town Clerk. Any person or applicant may appeal the Town Board determination pursuant to Article 78 of the Civil Practice Law and Rules.

§ 8-15 Penalties for offenses.

A violation of the foregoing shall be an offense punishable by a fine of not less than $100 and not exceeding $250. Each violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. Each day's continued violation shall constitute a separate and additional violation.

§ 8-16 Severability.

The various parts, sections and clauses of this chapter are hereby declared to be severable. If any part, sentence, paragraph, section or clause is adjudged unconstitutional or invalid by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this chapter shall not be affected thereby.