2006-02-16 / Front Page

Harbor panel seeks revisions to no-discharge law

Town officials see enforcement of state mandate as costly
By Sam Bari

At its Feb. 8 meeting, the Harbor Management Commission discussed the state mandate regarding pump-out stickers on any vessel with sleeping accommodations. The commissioners agreed that the law would be difficult and costly to enforce and that the legislation needed major revisions.

The ordinance requires harbormasters to check boats moored in their jurisdictions for no-discharge certificate decals. In addition, towns are prohibited from issuing mooring permits to any boat that is not in compliance with the no-discharge law. The law becomes effective June 1.

In a Jan. 13, letter from Town Solicitor A. Lauriston Parks to Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak, Parks recommends that the town seriously consider asking its state legislative delegation to take action to postpone the effective date of this law or, alternatively, have the law repealed.

Parks is sending copies of the letter to the town administrator and the harbormaster for their consideration.

Harbor Commission Executive Director Thomas Tighe suggested sending a letter to the legislators asking for enforcement to be delayed and re-thought.

Town Council Liaison Julio DiGiando said that he did not feel the enforcement situation would go away. He suggested writing to the council to encourage delaying enforcement. Harbor Commission Chairman Michael deAngeli suggested writing to the town asking for postponement, then ask for a repeal while they re-think rolling implementation of the ordinance. This would allow all boats having a paid mooring before June 1, 2006 to be exempt until the following year. All boats registering for a mooring after June 1 would be required to display a valid decal.

DeAngeli strongly objected to the requirement of pump-out logs. He also encouraged asking for clarification about securing the ability to pump out.

David Greenberg, North Kingstown’s harbormaster, who was present at the meeting, noted that North Kingstown will not participate in this program. They feel that the state should tie the legislation to the registration of vessels and not to the mooring permits. He also discouraged the practice of harbormasters being certified to conduct inspections.

The no-discharge law requires stickers to be renewed every four years and allows inspection agents to charge as much as $35 for inspections in addition to the $10 price of the stickers.

After intense and lengthy discussion, deAngeli said he would draft a letter to the Town Council.

In other business, Town Engineer Mike Gray noted that the Specialty Diving Services contract was signed. He said that they are getting stone to repair the seawall on the north side of the town-owned wooden pier at East Ferry. Gray also mentioned that they will be mobilizing a work platform for the job.

Additionally, Gray said that the curbs and rails steel pier project plans at East Ferry will be ready by next week.

Gray also said that three projects are in the works at Fort Getty:

• The touch and go dock at the wooden pier

• The boat ramp

• The floating pier at the boat ramp.

The proposal from RT Group of East Providence for the Fort Getty projects was voted on and unanimously approved by the commission.

The harbor commission also voted and approved allowing its Facilities Committee to make decisions to complete the Ft, Getty projects.

In the open forum, Pat Bolger, a member of the Conservation Commission, asked the harbor commission to support his commission’s efforts to improve the Hull Cove right-of-way. The project needs funding for a survey, pilings, and major maintenance. The matter will be put on the agenda for consideration at the next meeting. Hull Cove is a town-owned right-of-way that was donated years ago by the Wright family.

Chief Tighe reported that the inflatable craft used by the harbormaster suffered extensive damage by vandals and the pontoons need to be replaced.

Commission Member and Budget Committee Chairman Chris Brown reported that 90 percent of the budget is complete.

The Taunton Yacht Club decided not to pursue their request for an appeal.

A motion was made for the mooring fee rates to be put on the next agenda for discussion pending the outcome of the finished budget. The rates have not been changed in six years.

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