Yacht Club Work May Create Link for Bay Street Runoff Control Projects

Former Yacht Club Commodore Robert Camerino, left, and marine contractor John A. Costello at the February 6 hearing before the Harbor Committee on the club’s plan to replace a bulkhead. Both expressed a willingness to find ways to coordinate any repaving required for the project to complement an upcoming water quality project on Bay Street. Peter Boody photo

The Sag Harbor Yacht Club’s plan to replace an aging, creosoted wooden bulkhead on its Bay Street waterfront with a new vinyl bulkhead sparked a public brainstorming session on February 6 as the chair of the Harbor Committee, Mary Ann Eddy, pushed for the work to complement a publicly funded water quality project that will be installed this spring on either side of the Yacht Club site to reduce stormwater runoff.

Club officials at the session appeared eager to work with the village to coordinate any repaving made necessary by the bulkhead work with the planned water quality project, which calls for the installation of permeable pavers to replace asphalt along the north edge of Bay Street so that runoff can percolate into the soil instead of draining into the bay. Their contractor told the board that he was so sure it wouldn’t cost the club “a nickel more” to do it that “I’d pay for it myself” if it did.

With the promise of cooperation on the water quality project — as well as the club’s pledge to repair a recently collapsed section of roadway at the village boat ramp where a drainage pipe pours street runoff into the bay — the board voted unanimously at the meeting to grant a wetlands permit to authorize the bulkhead replacement, subject to final review by the board’s planning consultant.

The Town of East Hampton has pledged more than $130,000 in Community Preservation Funds for the installation of permeable pavers for 380 feet in two sections along the north edge of Bay Street. They will be installed under the roadway’s diagonal parking areas bordering Marine Park, up to the village boat ramp, and alongside the municipal parking area to the east of the Yacht Club. Long in the planning and funding stage, the work is expected finally to get underway in May.

At the start of a public hearing on the Yacht Club’s plan on February 6, the club’s contractor, John A. Costello of Costello Marine Contracting of Greenport, explained that the club is seeking a wetlands permit from the board to remove a 156-foot creosoted wooden bulkhead as well as a 30-inch-wide, step-down wooden walkway attached to the front of the bulkhead and replace them with a new vinyl bulkhead and a new 6-foot-wide wooden walkway to be laid on clean fill on the landward side of the structure.

The project borders a strip of nose-in village parking spaces. According to its application, the club will repave any part of the parking area that is damaged during the work, which will take place over the late fall and winter.

Mr. Costello said the narrow walkway is a safety hazard that has worried club members for some time. Removing it will require the installation of a ramp that slopes down from the new bulkhead to four existing finger piers, which will have to be extended landward to connect to the bulkhead. He added that the wooden walkway on the landward side will be laid on backfilled sand — replacing some of the asphalt paving there now — that “will allow for some percolation” of runoff.

Noting that a section of roadway to the west of the club’s property had just collapsed, damaging a pipe under it that carries water from street drains starting at the top of Rysam Street to its outflow next to the village boat ramp, Mr. Costello said that the village Highway Department that morning had attempted to make “temporary repairs.” He added, “We will repair it permanently.”

The brainstorming began after board chair Mary Ann Eddy asked if the club might use “pervious pavement for the parking area,” which the board’s planning consultant, Charles Voorhis, said “would require a bigger commitment from the Yacht Club.” He noted that the club’s project, as currently planned, would impact only about half of the depth of the village parking stalls.

But after some discussion, Mr. Costello said, “If the Yacht Club is willing, it would be a good experiment to try for the entire parking spot … It might be a good project and I don’t think it would cost a nickel more.” He later promised to cover any extra cost himself.

After more discussion, Ms. Eddy asked, “Is the Yacht Club willing to think about the idea of pervious pavement?”

“We’ll certainly think about it,” said former Commodore Robert Camerino from the audience.

If the club does agree to install the same kind of “patio-like” permeable paver inserts that will be installed to the east and west along the north side of Bay Street, said Mr. Voorhis, it “will have to pull back the pavement more than proposed using a similar technique … It’s the Yacht Club that has to look at this and say ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Learning that the water quality project will be completed this spring, months before the club begins the bulkhead work, one club official told Mr. Voorhis, “We can just mimic what you do.”