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Town of Huntington, NY - News Details

1/21/2020 - Huntington Files Lawsuit to Recover Million-Dollar Damages at Now-Defunct Woodbine Marina

Huntington – The Town of Huntington filed a complaint on January 15, 2020 in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, County of Suffolk, against L.K. McLean Associates, P.C. (McLean) and Bellingham Marine (Bellingham), to recover damages sustained at Woodbine Marina in Northport.


“Nine years ago, the Town relied on the defendants’ expertise and representations to the detriment of our taxpayers and, disappointingly, this process repeated itself four years ago after the first two rounds of costly damage occurred. While we can’t change the past, we are fighting to recover the taxpayer’s investment in this project while we consider options for the future use of the Woodbine Marina site,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci. “A large part of Woodbine Marina was taken out of commission due to damages sustained during the first few months of my taking office in 2018 and while we’ve been able to invest heavily in long-overdue improvements to the Town’s deteriorating facilities at Mill Dam Marina, there are many more improvements and upgrades on the way while we continue working to mitigate unfortunate failures of the past.”

The complaint, which calls for in excess of $1,000,000 in compensatory damages each from the two defendants, cites breach of contract, negligence and misrepresentation of expertise, failures in calculations and design, among other deficiencies, which have resulted in costly damage, dangerous, unsafe and hazardous conditions, and lost revenue to the Town.

McLean submitted a proposal with a Bellingham designed and manufactured dock system in response to an RFP for professional design and construction inspection services issued by the Town in June 2011 for the reconstruction of Woodbine Marina. The Town entered into an agreement with McLean in August 2011 and the reconstructed Woodbine Marina facility was operational and in use for the 2014 boating season. The new design increased the marina in size and capacity from two docks to three docks and replaced wood docks, which included a wave baffle system, with concrete docks designed, as assured by McLean to the Town, to withstand the weather and wave conditions at the marina without a wave baffle system.

Between the end of the 2014 boating season and the beginning of the 2015 boating season, the docks at Woodbine Marina sustained damages, as the concrete docks did not provide the stability needed to tolerate the conditions to which the marina was exposed. The marina again sustained damages between the 2015 and 2016 boating seasons. The Town made McLean aware of these damages and McLean determined additional wave protection was necessary to mitigate future damage to the docks; this additional wave protection was not included in the original design.

McLean designed a wave screen system between June and July of 2016 and recommended the Town install the new screens at Woodbine Marina, which the Town paid to have installed at the entrance to the boat slips, which provided protection on the western side of the marina, before the start of the 2017 boating season. In February 2017, the docks at Woodbine Marina sustained major damage requiring additional repairs that were paid for by the Town; both the Harbormaster’s office and the Department of Engineering have been monitoring the facility ever since. Between the end of the 2017 boating season and the beginning of the 2018 boating season, C dock – the third dock added with the 2011 reconstruction agreement, sustained catastrophic damage during the multiple nor’easters in March of 2018 and was removed from service, as it was no longer fit for use.

The two remaining docks, A dock and B dock, continued to sustain damage during the summer of 2019. In anticipation of the upcoming winter season, Dom Spada, Acting Director of Maritime Services, had researched temporary solutions to protect the remaining docks and presented these options to the Town Board in August 2019 but it was determined that the effectiveness of these solutions were unproven and too costly, considering the losses the Town has incurred to date on the Woodbine Marina facility.


After the 2019 boating season ended, A dock and B dock were compromised in November 2019, with significant damage to the main dock’s metal rods, timber and concrete from waves and high winds. Repairs for this damage alone were estimated to cost at least $100,000 with the remainder of the winter storm season still to come.


Due to the catastrophic nature of the damage at Woodbine Marina, it was determined that the docks at Woodbine Marina were no longer suitable for use and they are in the process of being removed while alternative uses for the site are being considered.


The Town will not be operating Woodbine Marina in 2020. To accommodate slip holders from Woodbine Marina, the Harbormaster held a lottery for open slips at Mill Dam Marina where significant renovations have been made over the past year, and will continue before the 2020 boating season begins, including new configurations for docking for those who struggle physically, a new larger head float for safe maneuvering around the gangway, a complete re-decking of all docks, and repairs to the bulkhead underway.




Attachments: Verified Complaint filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York, Countyof Suffolk; photos of damage to A dock, B dock and C dock at Woodbine Marina (labeled in file names) as of December 10, 2019; video of new damage to B dock completely splitting in half under gangway from high winds between January 16-17, 2020.