2005-09-22 / Front Page

Boat permit proposal to get Town Council review

By Sam Bari

At the Sept. 14 Harbor Management Commission meeting, the issue of dinghy permits for boats stored on town property was again raised, this time by Harbormaster Sam Paterson.

His report concluded that more than adequate room was available on town properties that were being used for this purpose.

However, at last month’s meeting, Town Council liaison Julio DiGiando brought to the commission’s attention that all town properties where dinghies were being stored did not require permits.

Police Chief and Interim Town Administrator Thomas Tighe, the commission’s executive director, advised that the Town Council needed to be involved. Tighe suggested that the matter should be brought to the attention of the council to get its approval for proceeding with charging for permits at all town properties.

Harbor Commission Chairman Jim Archibald moved to put the issue on the agenda for the next council meeting. He went on to say that a document needed to be prepared requesting the council to consider that all boats on all town properties should require permits.

During the open forum portion of the meeting, Archibald reminded the commissioners that they cannot comment on topics introduced by speakers during that part of the meeting other than to suggest putting items and issues on the next month’s agenda.

Chief Tighe distributed the 2004 Open Meetings Advisory Opinions document from the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office to the commissioners. The material covered open forum protocol during official meetings on all levels of government.

Harbor Commissioner David Laurie suggested putting a hurricane preparedness discussion for boaters on next month’s agenda in light of Katrina’s catastrophic effect on the Gulf area. The motion was unanimously approved.

Chief Tighe reported that the request for maintenance repairs to the sea wall at East Ferry was submitted to the state Coastal Resources Management Council for approval. Also, a Request For Quotes to hire a qualified consulting company to assist the town engineer with geotechnical and structural-related waterfront improvement projects was submitted for the work to be done at East Ferry. The proposal will go to the Town Council for its approval.

Additionally, a bid will go out for repairs to two harbormaster boats that require fiberglass work for a console disconnected from the deck, fixing a leaking bladder, and installing a new battery switch.

In the Harbormaster’s Report, Paterson confirmed that the East Ferry pump-out hose end that was missing has been replaced, and that the portable unit is up and running. The West Ferry pumpout was assisted by the Dutch Harbor Boat Yard with the replacement of a coupling between the pump and motor. All are now working satisfactorily.

Three mooring owners complained about their moorings being used by unauthorized vessels in zones F and H. The moorings were being used by squatters who have been removed.

Also, reports of vandals boarding boats on the wood pier and tampering with the battery switches to drain the batteries, then cutting the vessels loose from the dock were discussed.

The issue of Global Position System mooring locations for mooring inspections was addressed by Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz. He suggested holding workshops for boat owners to define the GPS format with decimal degrees.

Kallfelz offered to provide copies of the last letter that was sent to the parties concerned.

Chairman Archibald suggested that new letters defining specific inspection requirements and attached GPS conversions be sent to all customers.

After some discussion, Archibald asked Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak to put the issue on next month’s agenda when the issue will be discussed and a reasonable plan of action decided. In the meantime, a letter will be sent to the current commission inspectors.

Commissioner DiGiando reported that a $22,500 contract was awarded for the land-use plan at Ft. Getty. “The plan will be completed by February if all goes well,” he said. The name of the company awarded the contract was not made clear.

DiGiando also reported that people have concerns about the lack of a 5 mph buoy at Head’s Beach, as well as trash issues.

According to Harbormaster Paterson, there are two buoys in the area.

Archibald said that eight new buoys will be installed next spring at various locations. Two of them are marked for Heads Beach. The cost was approved and the purchase has been made. The buoys will be installed with all new gear. He continued to say that the commission would talk to the recreation department about the trash issue. They are the agency responsible for the maintenance of Head’s Beach, he said.

Commissioner Greg Murphy suggested putting a trash can by the fishing dock, where people have been creating a garbage heap because of the lack of a trash receptacle.

Archibald said that they would put in a request to the recreation department for a trash can.

Archibald reported that the budget meeting did not take place because of lack of a quorum. However, those present did discuss the present draft of the proposed budget and new format, which is under review by Paula Swistak and town Finance Director Christina Collins, who will do the final edits. The finished draft will be available in July and will be updated every third month. The updates will be issued in September, December, March, and June.

In other business, Commissioner Robert Bowen volunteered to represent the Harbor Management Commission as an appointee to the Traffic Commission.

Return to top