by Terry Duffy
The Town of Porter will hold a public hearing Monday at 7 p.m. in Town Hall on a familiar warm weather quality of life issue for some residents: boat storage on private properties.
Resurfacing in lively discussion at the June 13 Porter Town Board session, the boat storage issue is expected to again be a focal point for many in light of the town's latest proposed amendment, now posted on its website. That reads:
"Amending Article V paragraph 80 of the Town of Porter Law related to the storage of Recreational Vehicles/Utility Trailers in the Town of Porter
"80 - Storage of Boats, Trailers and Recreational Vehicles.
"A. One Boat and boat trailer, utility trailer, camp trailer or recreational vehicle not exceeding 30 feet in length may be stored on front yard no closer than 20 feet to the nearest road right of way during the period April 15 through Oct. 30. Any boat and boat trailer, utility trailer, camp trailer or recreational vehicle to be stored in a front yard must have a current registration issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles or other New York state department as required by law. One additional boat and trailer, utility trailer, camp trailer or recreational vehicle not exceeding 30 feet in length may be stored on rear or side yards and must have a current registration issued by the Department of Motor Vehicles or other New York state department as required by law. This limitation shall not apply to trailers for use in agricultural and livestock activities in areas zoned Rural Agricultural and Low Density Residential on lots of five acres or more."
As noted in the Sentinel June 18 article, the boat storage controversy on private properties continues to breed a life of its own among some property owners of Youngstown and Porter, despite the area's reputation as a popular boating community with its proximity to the lake and river. It's basically due to aesthetics - the impact, be it visual or otherwise - of boat and RV storage on neighboring properties, says one longtime Youngstown Estates resident. He says the town in its new determination on boat storage did not adequately consider the mid-density housing factor of such neighborhoods as Youngstown Estates, Collingwood Estates and village neighborhoods in the proposed law's wording. And he's not alone.
"People are wild about this," says resident Pat Macki. He argues the town has failed miserably in its latest wording revision of the boat storage law, as it now seems to place more consideration and give more leverage to boat owners having properties in the town's rural component, those which comprise distant separated homes, than it does to those in mid-density neighborhoods. "Youngstown Estates has a high density of boat owners," says Macki, pointing out that of 160 property owners in the neighborhood, 39 own boats. "And 90 percent of the owners abide by the law," he says.
And those that don't do have an impact on their neighbors, he adds, noting one situation on Hawthorne Place where what he termed inconsiderate boat owners have affected housing values and sales.
What's more, he argues that property owners in Youngstown Estates comprise some 60 percent of the town's base. "Look I'm a longtime boat owner too," says Macki. "But when I was made aware of the impact my boat was having on a neighboring property, I moved it."
"It's an issue of rights versus responsibilities," he says.
That issue will likely be voiced by a number of boat owners and residents expected at the Monday session.