HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Boating season is here and with the excitement also comes complaints about pollution, traffic jams on waterways and noise.
Those grievances are prompting the Town of Hempstead to consider a ban on renting out backyard boat docks.
Boats are coming out of the dry dock along the south shore of Long Island, where backyard canals will soon be buzzing with small craft.
Residents say at times, it’s too much of a good thing.
“This becomes an oil slick from all of the gasoline and all the oil,” said Bellmore resident Wendy Glatt. “There’s a lot of pollution, anything people dump off their boat.”
Some new rules could limit backyard boat slips. Town of Hempstead Councilman Anthony D’Esposito is proposing no more than three slips for the average waterfront home and a ban on renting out a backyard slip, because some residents are turning backyards into marinas.
“This isn’t about renting a dock to your brother or sister, this is about having a backyard and having 10 boats back there, which brings 10 or 15 extra cars,” D’Esposito said.
Some private docks squeeze in a dozen boats, even commercial fishing vessels. That creates navigation hazards, says the bay constable.
“Many of these were designed in the 1920s, very narrow, designed for one boat behind the house,” said Sgt. Matthew Sohm, bay constable for the Town of Hempstead.
Posting on Craigslist, homeowners can earn added income from dock rentals. Town officials says they’re fielding complaints from marinas too, losing business while they’re held to strict regulations.
“Whether it’s bottom painting, whether it’s or run off, it’s a lot of different issues that the marinas have to face that are trained and spend money and spend time on getting trained so things are done in a proper manner,” said Chris Squeri of the Marine Trade Association.
Residents CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff spoke with don’t like being told how to use their own backyards.
“Where does the town come in and say ‘You can’t do this.’ Whoever owns these places, they pay taxes for it,” said Bellmore resident Kurt Kieseheuer.
“It helps people get their taxes paid,” another man added.
The issue is up for debate at Hempstead Town Hall on May 22.
Residents would still be able to share their docks with family and friends but no longer turn them into mini marinas.