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Open Letter to Northport Village:1988 Britannia Covenant Not Being Enforced

Residents in the area around Britannia Yachting Center say the owner is not following 1988 covenant requirements and may have tried to have it lifted.

Dear Donna Koch, Northport Village Clerk:

Attached please find copies of the 1988 documents (covenants and restrictions and Village Resolutions) pertaining to f/k/a Admirals Yacht Club.

It appears that all officials and agencies do not have copies of these documents, nor are they ever enforced.

I was present, with many of my neighbors, at a ZBA meeting on Feb. 23, 2010 and the ZBA did not have the documents, nor did "applicant" T-Mobile seem aware that Britannia is limited to marine use. (Editor's Note: T-Mobile has applied to construct a 60-foot cellular communications tower on the northwest corner of the existing Britannia building.)

It would seem that the village's failure to enforce the restrictions despite numerous resident complaints has left Britannia confident they can defy and ignore the binding documents that allow them to exist.

The ongoing violations include but are not limited to the existence and operation of the restaurant, the noise, the property use, the April 15 yearly provision on land use, and the signage- all of which are in direct defiance of the 1988 documents.

It would seem that the "marine use" provision should have precluded the T-mobile application in the first place.

My neighbors advise me that there is no compliance officer who will respond to complaints and the police refuse to act or respond properly to complaints regarding Britannia and their violation of the covenants, restrictions and Village Resolutions of 1988.

If the village does not act, residents have only a few specific remedies.  As detailed in the attached documents, the provisions are specifically enforceable by the Village of Northport, presumably on behalf of the residents who recently received their tax bills.

Please provide a copy of these documents to all applicable Northport Village employees and officials.

Please let me know that these documents were received as my neighbors and I await a response.  

The matter is now urgent and I hope that the Village will act properly with respect to Britannia's failure to comply with enforceable legal restrictions which are to be specifically enforced by the Village of Northport.

Thank you, 

Jill Plosky
Milland Drive
Northport, NY 11768

Kelly Campbell February 26, 2011 at 06:28 PM
Editor's note: Full disclosure, I am a huge fan of The Whale's Tale and would hate to see it close. Of course, I live on Main Street, not by the marina, so . . . . I do hear Gunther's noise as the door opens and closes but that does not bother me. But perhaps the voices and music don't echo as far as they would directly on the waterfront. And, of course, Gunther's Tap Room is an allowed use where it is.
Say No T-Mobile at Britannia February 26, 2011 at 09:36 PM
Kelly, It seems many residents felt helpless in trying to deal with the Britannia issues, many of which arose or rose to a head on holidays, weekends and after five p.m. While it was noted that Peter Houmere was not at the ZBA meeting, it is clear Britannia should have appeared via a representative. It is a shame that Britannia could not have brought itself into compliance and advised the Whales Tale to find an alternate location. Just as it is unfortunate that Britannia contracted to place.a "stealth tower" 290 feet from residential homes rather than insisting that any deal it made with T-mobile require using either existing cell phone towers or, if an additional tower were truly proven necessary, then contract to place it only on Britannia's existing building. Ovrerall, the picture painted is that of a business in the center of a Village neighborhood proving to be a very bad neighbor.
Ben February 27, 2011 at 01:42 PM
What exactly does the village code say? Does anyone know where all the other cell-towers are?
OJJ February 27, 2011 at 04:55 PM
In reference to the comment: "and the police refuse to act or respond properly to complaints regarding Britannia and their violation of the covenants, restrictions and Village Resolutions of 1988." Are these covered in the Penal law or the Criminial Procedural Law? These are the how and why of what the police can do. Put your money where your mouth is, go hire a lawyer and take the club to court as an aggrieved party. Newsday properly named a Long Island disease as NIMBY - Not In My BackYard. When you make calls on all this just don't do it from your cell because you will not have service. And no I do not work for any phone company or provider. Just articulaing about people wrapped up in there own little world that they do not realize the end of the block is attached to a bigger world. A new twist on the bumpers sticker all are so fond of driving around with "Think Globally act Locally"
Charlie Costello February 27, 2011 at 06:41 PM
Not all neighbors on Milland Drive or Waterview Lane are opposed to Britannia Marina. We enjoy keeping our boat there and enjoy going to the Whales Tale for a nice dinner on the water. This is the only place in Northport where anyone can go to enjoy dinner on the water. Also, cell service is very limited in this area. Cell towers are needed. They have become a necessary evil. Keep in mind when businesses prosper so does the local community! A resident of Waterview Lane
Kelly Campbell February 27, 2011 at 08:10 PM
I am attaching legal documents to this article that depict, partially, a lawsuit filed by Northport Village in 2001 or 2002 against Britannia for violations of the covenant. Britannia's defense at the time was that the covenants had never been enforced and too much time had passed for the village to begin enforcing them at that time.
L. Whitney March 01, 2011 at 03:05 PM
I would like to ask Ms. Plosky a couple of questions.... 1. Was Britannia Marina there when she purchased her home? 2. Is she employed outside her home? It seems to me that Ms. Plosky has taken on a full time job investigating the "Britannia Situation". While I certainly appreciate her zeal in watching out for her community, I think it's important to remember that she is one resident and does not speak for all residents. A thriving business in our Village, in any village, is imperative to the well being of that village. I think digging up these documents may make Ms. Plosky feel energized in her zeal, but, sadly, may mean the demise of a Village business which the majority of residents enjoy. As for the cell phone tower, I only know that my calls are dropped everytime I go around the bend by Britannia. A Concerned Citizen
Kelly Campbell March 01, 2011 at 04:14 PM
In Ms. Plosky's defense, even if the marina was there when she moved in, she had every right to expect covenants to be enforced by the village.
Terrence Fox March 01, 2011 at 08:36 PM
So what is your conclusion of the lawsuit ? Who won? Was the village out of line when they imposed the covenants and that's why they never enforced them ? It had been a boat yard since 1954 from what I can see from aerial photos, in 1966 Milland Dr didn't go to the water there were only a few houses on it, than I guess they added more in the 70's and went right up to the marina. Maybe the town was wrong for letting them build houses there in the first place.
Kelly Campbell March 02, 2011 at 12:41 AM
Those are really good points and/or questions, Terrence. I will have to get those answers from Northport Village Attorney Jim Matthews. From my experience, after attending many, many zoning hearings, I have seen applicants agree to stipulations they later regret in order to get the application approved.
Ben March 02, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Terrance, I think those houses went in during the 1970s and the yacht center did the bulkheads in the late 1980s when they agreed to everything with the village.
Andrew Aberham March 02, 2011 at 05:13 AM
In response to some of the questions and comments above, my wife and I purchased our home in 1991 and my house was built in 1966 when the marina was still in its former state. In 1991 those covenants and restrictions were in effect and enforceable. I certainly can appreciate enjoying a nice meal and having a drink and listening to live music on the water but just imagine being a hundred or so yards away where the music sounds like an outdoor concert especially when you are inside your house and you can still hear the music! I wonder if those advocating for the marina would be so liberal in their views if their next door neighbor decided of open a bar/restaurant in defiance zoning use restrictions. Probably not and it would be wrong just as it is here. And just an FYI, enforcement of zoning and use restrictions is the sole domain of the village. Individual property owners have no standing to force another property owner to comply with zoning regulations. They can only compel the village to enforce those regulations.
Ronald Philips March 02, 2011 at 02:24 PM
Mr. Aberham, It would be unfair for those of us not living in your shoes to judge your aggravation with the Marina. I would however like to express that since a topic on whether or not to approve a cell phone tower has turned into a negative smear campaign towards the Whales Tale I can’t help but wonder have any of the neighbors effected by the noise confronted the owners of The Whales Tale? The owners are long time Northport residents who not only have a professional resume of successful food establishments but are extremely nice & generous people. They have openly expressed how they feel it’s an honor & a privilege to service this community they live in & are always available to the members in it. I would think that if you contacted them personally & expressed your discomfort with certain issues not only would it be the diplomatic way but you might find that they are understanding & willing to accommodate to you. As for the 23 year old covenants I agree with you this is for the Town & the Land Owner to discuss but in the meanwhile it’s unfair to crucify the Whales Tale who unfortunately is in the middle of this.
Say No T-Mobile at Britannia March 02, 2011 at 02:51 PM
In response to Mr. Phillips, it seems the problem likely goes back to the Village, who should have intervened prior to the Whales Tale opening at that location. It is also the managers and owners of Britannia who continue to try to press the issue of "marine use" and allowed the owners of the Whales Tale to invest their efforts and money in a location where the use isn't allowed. It appears that since neighbors were co-existing with Whales Tale, which many people enjoy, that Britannia pushed the limits by contracting with T-Mobile. The Whales Tale, as you said, is caught in the cross-fire, due to Britannia refusing to abide by the covenants and restrictions and the Village's turning a blind-eye for whatever reason. The editorial in the Northport Observer laid out the issues very well and referenced the eviction of an insurance agent from the front Britannia buildings because of the restrictions. The fault does not lie with the owners of the Whales Tale.
Kelly Campbell March 02, 2011 at 06:29 PM
If we're going to persecute the tenants, we should include the Village Deli and Bagelry. Nice deli, by the way. But doesn't the covenant say that, while "a provisions" store is allowed to exist to sell things like ice, sandwiches, marine-related items, et al, it's only allowed to be on the lower level of the chandlery building and was specifically restricted from facing Route 25A. I am not sure why this is, but it is what the BZA mandated at the time of the covenant. It's also only supposed to operate "in season," or from April 15 through November 15. I am not sure, however, if it is open for business right this moment.
Andrew Aberham March 03, 2011 at 05:12 AM
I want to thank Mr. Phillips for his suggestion of a meeting with the owners of the Whales Tales restaurant. As a general principal, I am always open to sitting down and working out differences. I don't know what representations were made to the restaurant by the owner when they were negotiating the lease but something went terribly wrong. I can't tell you how many restaurant leases I negotiated in my career but they are too too many to remember. I can say that one of the principal questions a potential restaurant tenant asks early on in a negotiation is, is the use permitted at this property? A restaurant installation in most cases requires a major capital expenditure. I find it incomprehensible that a tenant would sign a lease without performing their due diligence including a thorough examination of the Certificate of Occupancy and the use restrictions. I sympathize with the owners Whales Tales and I am sure they are wonderful people as also are most residents surrounding the marina, but it still remains that the residents are the aggrieved parties. Our intention here is not to hurt the restaurant owners, just to be able to enjoy our homes and live in peace as we once did for the many years past.
db April 20, 2011 at 04:08 PM
Why don't you people give it up. There was a Marina there before you. You knew it was there when you purchased your homes. Now all of a sudden it a big deal. Lets go back to 1988? Better yet lets go back to when the old Scudder house was there and you ass holes were not. You bought there you suffer the consequences. Stop your pissing and moaning.
Kelly Campbell April 20, 2011 at 06:57 PM
In defense of the homeowners, I have to say once again, that even if the marina was there when they moved in, they had every right to expect covenants to be enforced by the village. I live on Main Street and it gets kind of loud at times but I definitely knew what to expect and the noise does not rise to the level of a crime. I am a city person at heart, so this is like nothing to me. I think everyone is different, though.
John T April 14, 2013 at 02:53 PM
One time a medical emergency happened there and the cell phones connected to Connecticut EMS

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