Harbor panel mulls dinghy permitting on town properties
At the Aug. 10 Harbor Management Commission meeting, the issue of dinghy storage space on town property was raised by Town Council Liaison, Julio DiGiando.
Currently, unlimited numbers of permits have been issued for East Ferry beach, Head’s Beach, and Maple Avenue beach. Sometimes these locations are filled to capacity.
Commission Chairman Jim Archibald asked Harbormaster Sam Paterson to survey these areas and measure the available footage for storing dinghies at each location.
Archibald noted that the number of permits issued in overburdened areas should be regulated. Additionally, he asked Paterson to identify other town properties on the island where permits are not required but dinghies are being stored.
Paterson’s fact finding mission will give the commission the information needed to make a decision about the number of permits to be issued for each area, as well as areas that will require permits for dinghy storage in the future.
Police Chief and Interim Town Administrator Thomas Tighe, the commission’s executive director, reported that a few weeks ago several vessels in the east harbor mooring field were broken into and equipment had been stolen. The perpetrators responsible have been arrested by the police and boat owners notified, he said. Tighe noted that he would like to thank Assistant Harbormaster Joe Falconi for his assistance to the police in that investigation.
Tighe reported that he and Town Engineer Mike Gray completed an inspection of the outhaul steps at West Ferry. The Department of Public Works will attempt to temporarily repair the steps until a more permanent solution can be found, he said.
Tighe also reported that the bid for an engineer to assist Gray for structural designs was completed. Gray, Archibald, and Tighe will interview the candidate.
The harbormaster reported that 59 total mooring permits were issued in April, May, June, July, and August. A total of 23 have been installed. Additionally, eight requests for increased vessel size on moorings have been made, seven of which have been completed.
Paterson also reported that the pump-outs at East Ferry, West Ferry, and the portable unit are all up and running in good working order.
Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak reported that 677 permits have been processed this season and 38 new moorings have been installed. Twenty-one of these are riparian. In addition, 45 beach permits have been issued.
In old business, Archibald noted that Town Solicitor Larry Parks was not prepared to put a document together for this meeting concerning questions the harbor commission has concerning legal issues. The primary concerns are the issue of the townowned wood-pile pier at East Ferry and the recommended use of its space. However, Parks is committed to have a written document on all the questions the commission has for its Sept. 14 meeting provided all questions are more formalized.
In a meeting with Archibald, Parks said that the most important of the five questions proposed was the item addressing the controlling documents for the wood pile pier.
Until the commission receives a legal opinion, action cannot be taken on any of the issues in question. Commissioner Greg Murphy, who represents the commercial fishermen, said that he feels the Town Council does not embrace the commercial entity and that the commercial fishing community is being squeezed out of the East Ferry facility.
His major concern was that the commercial fishermen have been kicked out of every available facility except the wood pile pier, and that the fleet is now down to a mere five boats. “Due to attrition, when those fishermen either go out of business, move, or retire, their dock space will be awarded to recreational vessels and will not be replaced by commercial boats,” Murphy said.
Archibald responded to Murphy’s concerns by repeating that as soon as the commission received a conclusive legal opinion, appropriate action would be taken.