The Irondequoit Town Board is holding an informational meeting on the topic from noon to 1 p.m. next Thursday, April 26, in the Broderick room at Town Hall, 1280 Titus Ave., Irondequoit. The meeting is designed to continue the discussion about the proposed boating amendment.
After almost two hours, 32 speakers and one crowd outburst, a public hearing on proposed amendments to the town of Irondequoit's boats and boating law wrapped up about 9:20 p.m. last night.
The hearing brought out a standing room only crowd, estimated at around 150, that spilled into the Town Hall lobby and even outside.
The crowd seemed to be split fairly evenly between supporters of the amendments, which would require boaters to moor or "raft" together no closer than 450 feet from shore — a distance that lines up with a pier — particularly in front of homes between Lake Bluff Road and the Irondequoit Bay outlet in the Sea Breeze area of Irondequoit.
The board listened to all of the speakers. Prior to the comments, Irondequoit Supervisor Mary Joyce D'Aurizio said the board would not be voting on the proposed amendments last night.
After the meeting, whiich wrapped up about 10:30 p.m., D'Aurizio said, "We want to listen to everybody." She and Councilman Paul Marasco, who agreed to be a liaison between what came down to boaters and property owners, said they will schedule and hold a public meeting on the matter something before the Town Board's next meeting in mid-May.
That meeting has now been scheduled for noon to 1 p.m. next Thursday, April 26 in the Broderick room at Town Hall, 1280 Titus Ave., Irondequoit. The public is welcome.
"We want to see if there are other solutions before we act on it (the amendments)," Marasco said.
Patricia Able, of Sethland Drive in Irondequoit, said she supports the amendments because problems at the Sea Breeze waterfront have been escalating in recent years.
"People and vehicles (including boats) are uncontrolled," Able said. "The situation worsens every year and has the potential to spiral out of control."
Boaters like George Wainer of Silverdale Drive countered, however, that the problem is really about policing and enforcement.
"What you're trying to do is close a federal waterway," he told the board. "The lake should be able to be enjoyed by everybody."
Other boaters suggested the law "could be easily challenged (in court)."
Ben and Maeve Mac an Tuile, who live on Culver Road in Sea Breeze, along the waterfront, said they aren't "against" boaters in any way, but are in favor of a law "with some teeth" that would give police the ability to take some action.
"They (boaters) say we (lakefront residents) are trying to take over the lake," Maeve said, 'but it (the drinking, vulgar language, etc) is like bringing a child to a tailgate party at Rich Stadium ... I'm just concerned about safety."
Danny Daniele called the situation "a conundrum," but like many of the boaters and residents, noted that it's "a select few" who are causing the problems.
Page 2 of 3 - Daniele acknowledged, "It (the boating situation) is a difficult thing to police," but suggested creating a maybe 100-foot, designated swimming area, and that police "create more examples" among the rowdier boaters.
Mother and daughter Francine and Fran Beth said the problem has gotten so bad that they no longer will serve boaters at their lakefront bar, Marge's Lakeside Inn, in the area.
"This is not about Marge's ... but it has been slowly escalating since 2003," Francine Beth said.
Boater Eric Jordan of Caterbury Road said he and others have "been trying for years" to educate people, particularly boaters, about use of the waterfront, 'but it just hasn't worked."
Alana Alderman said issues range from drunk and disorderly boaters and their friends to trespassing, dogs defacating on the beach, profanity, blasting loud music and litter.
"At what point did this become an us vs. them issue," she asked, noting that it's a real public safety issue — for everyone.
The edge of her property "has become a battle zone," added another lakefront resident, Kim Byers, "and the problem isn't going to go away without this ordinance ... it has gotten out of control."
Homeowners do understand the water belongs to everybody, neighbor Lou Mazza said, "but let me use as much of the water as boaters do!"
"This is not spring break Cancun," added Sue Mazza.
Boater Frank Monachino said, however, "stupididy cannot be legislated," noting that the issues on the waterfront need education and police enforcement, not a new law.
"You can't legislate the behavior of others," echoed boater Kevin Hilton of Harwick Road in irondequoit. "And this law would create a whole raft of additional problems."
"You can't outlaw something just because it's not safe," said George Remmel of Westchester Avenue, noting that he believes that the town has no jurisdiction over the lake's waters — that it's a federal matter.
Ann Pappert of Irondequoit said she doesn't condone "irresponsible behavior" of some boaters, but added that people who live on the waterfront "should have a certain expectation of noise and traffic."
It was after Supervisor D'Aurizio asked her if she would like 50 to 120 boats anchored off the shore from her waterfront home that the crowd erupted, shouting that the question was "unfair" and that "you have already made up your minds."
Boater Bill Franke said he believes the amendments "intend to regulate behavior and extend land rights to residents."
Some boaters, like Ed Leichner and and Todd Fuller, lobbied for a compromise.
"We just can't agree that the residents 'own' the water," Fuller said.
"I think we could get together and work out something," added boater William Zahn of Culver Parkway.
Page 3 of 3 - Dan Quinlan said he has 900 names on a petition, opposing the amendments.
"What you're trying to propose is not right and not legal," he said.
James Allen of Cooper Road said, however, that he supports the amendments as-is, "because we seem to have had a marina imposed on the community .... and beaches and marinas do not mix."