Council passes edict to control pier activities
The Town Council unanimously approved an emergency resolution outlining seasonal restrictions at East Ferry at Monday night's meeting.
The resolution, which is identical to one passed by the council last year, defines the summer activities that can and cannot occur at the wood-pile pier and at the floating dock, also known as the "touch and go" dock.
Councilors expressed some frustration that activities at the dock have already become contentious. Julio DiGiando, who is the council's liaison to the Harbor Management Commission and who has previously served on that board said it was time to resolve the issue of "conflicting uses," on those docks.
Some of the controversy comes from the way sections of the woodpile pier were financed. Some was paid for with federal dollars and some was not. On the federallyfinanced portions of the dock, the uses include recreational fishing and transient boating, DiGiando said, adding that the non-federal section is for "general use," which DiGiando said includes the dockage of commercial fishing vessels.
"We have to allow fishing on 167-feet," of that dock, DiGiando said.
Many of the complaints raised about the use of the dock come from commercial fishermen who claim that individual fishermen board their boats and leave behind a mess.
"Then there's the issue of inappropriate hygiene," DiGiando said.
Councilors said that after last year's emergency resolution was signed some of the issues resolved themselves. The town opened the bathrooms at the community center around the clock, and added trash cans in the area.
Town Administrator Bruce Keiser said about the trash cans that just having them there was only part of the solution, "it's a behavior change issue," Keiser said, noting that even with receptacles, "sometimes the trash doesn't make it in."
Police presence was increased after last year's resolution. Bob Bowen from the HMC said that the ordinance "worked really well," after its passage last year, but suggested that fishing be allowed on the section of pier formerly taken up by the commercial vessel Beavertail. Bowen said that by letting fishermen have that section, there would be fewer on the floating dock.
DiGiando said it was time to permanently resolve the issues of pier usage and asked to have the item put back on the agenda in June.
Until the matter is officially debated, the emergency resolution restricts swimming and diving from the floating dock. "Fishing is not restricted," the resolution states, "but occupancy restrictions consistent with the safety of users of the floatation portion of the woodpile pier shall be set by police and harbor officials." The number discussed in the past is 10 on the dock at any given time.
Fishing, diving and swimming is restricted from the touch and go dock, the ordinance states.
In other business, the Town Council:
+ Approved several requests for one day or short-term peddlars' licenses for seasonal events. The following applications were approved for sales during the Memorial Day parade on May 28: Central Baptist Church, the Humane Society of Jamestown and the Jamestown Historical Society. A license was granted to Central Baptist Church for sales of food and auction items during the June Festival, scheduled for June 23. The Conanicut Island Art Association received a license to sell art objects from July 18 to 22 at the community center.
+ Appointed residents to positions on town boards and committees. Nick Robertson was re-appointed and Heather Lopes was appointed to the Jamestown Affordable Housing Committee. Betty R. Krider was appointed to the Emergency Medical Services Compensation Committee. John P. Collins was re-appointed to the Personnel Board and appointed to the Tree Preservation and Protection Committee until Dec. 31, to serve out the remaining term of Walter Boll who resigned from the committee.
+ Heard from resident Frank Meyer, during open forum, that about 1.6 acres of land was inappropriately taken from the town of Jamestown during the construction of Ft. Wetherill. Meyer made a case that Newport Street once continued south of Ft. Wetherill Road and it is now blocked from use by concrete barriers. He proposed that the town sell the wrongfullyacquired land to the state to pay for a portion of the highway barn.