2006-05-18 / News

Commissioner Murphy resigns from HMC

By Sam Bari

After serving on the Harbor Management Commission for over three years, Commissioner Greg Murphy, representing the commercial fishing community, has sent his letter of resignation to the Town Council.

He announced his intentions to a full harbor panel at the commission's May 10 meeting.

Murphy cited the lack of time needed to do a proper job as his reason for making what he called a difficult decision. "I struggled with this for weeks," he said.

"But in fairness to the commission, my family, and the time needed to devote to my new business, I'm spread too thin to be effective on all fronts, and it's time to step down. The business is so demanding that I'm not even fishing this year. I am grateful for the success, but it comes with a price. I am also thankful for the opportunity to have served with such dedicated members. We accomplished a great deal together, and I am sure they will continue to serve the community well. I'll stay until a successor is named," he concluded.

In other business, Prim (Polly P.) Bullock represented the Bullock family in a request to waive the requirement to register family boats in the name of two trusts to give them the right to use moorings that are assigned to the trusts.

After a lengthy discussion, Commission Chairman Michael de Angeli determined that the request "was reasonable." With the support of the commission, he ruled that the Bullock family was within their rights to identify the beneficiaries of the trusts to allow them to use the riparian moorings that had been tied to the family property since 1988.

The moorings were initially registered to A. G. Bullock Jr. as Class 1 - Resident Riparian. In 2005, the moorings were reclassified as Class 3 moorings under the new Harbor Management Ordinance. De Angeli noted that since the moorings were first established as Class 1, the original rulings were grandfathered in and are applicable now even though the moorings have been reclassified.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson reported that the East Ferry pumpout electrical problem was scheduled for repair. The West Ferry pumpout has a vacuum leak and the piping needs to be replaced. That pumpout is operable but suction is low, pumping at 12 pounds of pressure when it should be pumping at 15. The town is capable of repairing the pipe. Paterson noted that the unit needs a green light that would turn on when the pump is running. "The light is there, but it needs an electrician to connect the juice to the pedestal," he said.

Paterson noted that the harbormaster's vessel was out having its steering replaced and was expected back this week. He also reported that out of the 27 new mooring permits issued in the various mooring fields, only one mooring was installed in zone C.

Police Chief Thomas Tighe, executive director of the harbor commision, reported that the specifications for the new harbormaster's vessel were out and that quotes were expected back by May 22. He also noted that Aquidnick Mooring Company quoted $1,619 as the installed cost of a new channel marker.

Harbor Clerk Paula Swistak reported that only 269 of 730 mooring applications had been processed. "Applications are due next week. It's a slow start for the season," she said.

Commissioner Rick Anderson reported that the Mooring Implementation Committee met with the state Department of Environmental Management on April 20. "The DEM wants the mooring field plan more clearly defined," Anderson said. "We discussed the 1,000-foot line for moorings, and they were pleased to find that no moorings were outside of the 1,000-foot line in any of the mooring areas," he noted.

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