Marina owners looking at expansion

Gwen Chamberlain
Plans call for a new dock with 42 new boat slips and more parking in the general area of the yellow cottage above, at Morgan Marine.

The owners of Morgan Marine on Keuka Lake are discussing plans to purchase property just south of their facility, which borders the Village of Penn Yan, and expand their marina operation by adding 42 new boat slips.

The plan has been reviewed by the Yates County Planning Board, but last Tuesday, Dec. 23, it was closely examined by the Milo Town Zoning Board of Appeals and a handful of neighbors.

The board will continue its discussion and the environmental review, required by the state, at its next meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 27 in the Milo Town office.

Walter Drewno, one of the neighbors of the Marina, has hired an attorney, Derek Brocklebank, to represent his interests.

A public hearing was held to hear comments about the associated application for a special use permit, and the corresponding environmental assessment.

The Village of Penn Yan, which owns Red Jacket Park, just north of the marina, sent a letter outlining  concerns about parking, water quality, the impact of increased noise and the possible negative visual impact on the park.

The letter said the village planning board would also like to see a rendering of the proposed expanded marina from the perspective of Indian Pines.

The board also received letters from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the Yates County Soil and Water Conservation Board. Both included additional recommendations related to environmental issues.

Jeff Kennedy, co-owner of the marina, said the plan is to purchase two parcels, located at 8 and 10 East Lake Road (State Route 54). While the cottages on those parcels would not be changed, a cottage that is on the marina’s property would be demolished so 14 parking spaces can be added.

Kennedy said the parking concerns raised by the village officials are the first he’s heard, although he acknowledged people, including his own employees, park in the Red Jacket parking lot. He said if it is a concern, there is room for employees to park inside the boat storage barn when the boats are out of storage.

In describing the project, Kennedy said he stores boats at other locations, such as the former Penn Yan Marine Property, a warehouse in Barrington and another in Wayne, and he’s talked with Finger Lakes Economic Development Center about building a storage facility in Horizon Business Park so all the storage and unloading of new boats can be done away from the marina.

“This opportunity arose with the neighbors wanting to sell. We’re looking at it as good for the community,” he said, explaining that most of his customers are area residents who live away from the lake.

“All we’re trying to do is provide access to folks in the area,” he said, adding, “We’re very concerned with the neighbors and we feel this actually benefits the neighbors to the south.”

A retaining wall and dock would be built to the south of the existing dock. A 16 ft. long wooden dock with bubblers would extend into the lake and a floating dock with slips along both sides will extend as far west as the existing dock and slips go.

Kennedy explained this configuration will force boaters approaching the fuel pump from the south to navigate out deeper into the lake to enter the marina area and get to the fuel pumps.

He says this will keep those boats away from the neighbors docks.

But the neighbors are concerned about how the expansion might impact their property values.

Brocklebank indicated he intends to secure an appraisal for his client and will file information along with an objection to the project.

The board members agreed appraisal information would be valuable, and attorney Robert Foster said clear criteria for the appraisal process needs to be established.