2006-06-22 / Front Page

Harbor panel wants to limit access to East Ferry docks

By Sam Bari

After an intense and sometimes heated discussion, the Harbor Management Commission last week voted to recommend limiting access to the town-owned woodpile pier, the cement pier, and the bulkhead at the north basin adjacent to the parking lot at East Ferry.

With a 4-1 vote and Commissioner Robert Bowen dissenting, the commission's recommendation to the Town Council, if approved, will restrict access to the area from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m., 365 days a year.

At the commission's June 14 meeting , Bowen voted against the recommendation because "there should not be a restriction to a facility that is paid for by public access money," he said. The commissioners discussed the agenda item and made the recommendation because of the continuing complaints about people fishing on the pier late at night and leaving the area in disarray, with trash on the piers in the parking lot and on private boats. Additional complaints of anglers jumping on and vandalizing both pleasure craft and commercial vessels fueled the decision.

The time for the restriction to begin each evening was hotly debated. Since restroom facilities close at 7 p.m., some wanted the area closed at that time.

Others felt the 7 p.m. restriction was too early and stopped people from taking a stroll down the pier after dining at local restaurants or patronizing the ice cream parlor. Since the objectionable activity appeared to be occurring late at night, the commissioners compromised and set the closing time at 9 p.m. Police Chief Thomas Tighe said he would put additional foot patrols and increase police presence in the area to assist in enforcing the ordinances if they are adopted.

In other harbor business, the Harbor Management Commission:

+ Reviewed bids on the purchase of a new harbormaster's boat. The preference of a 23.3-foot Rib Craft aluminum boat with an 8-foot beam costing approximately $90,000 won the favor of the commissioners over a Zodiac with similar specifications. Commissioner David Laurie said he felt strongly about purchasing an extended warranty for the boat, which won the approval of fellow commissioners.

+ Heard from attorney Elizabeth Newman, who represented Elizabeth Perik in an application to construct a residential boating facility at 10 High Street. The facility would consist of a 4by 132-foot fixed timber pier with a 4-foot by 22-foot access landing. Harbor Commission Chairman Mike de Angeli said that the Town Council would be notified that the commission had no objection to the project.

+ Heard reported from Chief Tighe that one pump-out was working at East Ferry and the other one needs a pipe repaired. The police chief also noted that the channel marker and buoy service contract needed renewing. Bowen's move to negotiate the contract was supported by a unanimous vote from the five commissioners present at the meeting. Tighe also pointed out that if the town leases the Fort Getty dock, the revenues would go to the town general fund.

Town Council Liaison Julio DiGiando announced that Chris Lutyens' application to represent the fishing community on the harbor commission by replacing Commissioner Greg Murphy would go before the Town Council for consideration at its next meeting.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson reported that a temporary pipe would be installed for the pumpout at East Ferry until a permanent repair is scheduled.

"The needed parts have been ordered and received, and all that is left to complete the task is for the Highway Department to dig up the broken pipe," he said.

He also reported that all eight no-wake buoys had been installed, as had a new green channel marker in the East Passage. In addition, he had removed an anchored sailing vessel in Potter Cove that had been anchored for more than three days without permission.

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