Neighbors challenge state's mooring field policy
Neighborhood residents near Cranston Cove, Sunset Beach and Park Dock, voiced concerns about mooring field classifications at the Harbor Commission meeting July 11. Harbor Commission Chairman Michael DeAngeli explained that the designations would be a result of a state, not a town, decision.
In open forum, Charlotte Zarlengo of Seaside Avenue stood up to complain about the possible designation of a mooring field at Sunset "Head's" Beach, saying it would create too much interference for swimmers. Other residents asked questions about the town's intentions for moorings in the three shore access spots.
The Coastal Resources Management Council identified the three rights-of-way as places that need to be formalized as mooring areas, according to DeAngeli. CRMC policy states that an area that has more than five non-riparian moorings must be managed as a mooring field, or brought into compliance by reducing the number of moorings.
DeAngeli said the town would have to conform to state law, but no major plans for the areas were planned. "Just because we call this a mooring field doesn't mean it's going to change much," he added.
Commissioner Rick Anderson, who is on the mooring implementation committee, later commented that facilities, such as adequate parking, restrooms and a pump out, would be required for a mooring area. "At present, the infrastructure is not there," he said. Before any changes take place, updates to the harbor management plan must be made first, he added.
In his report, Police Chief Thomas Tighe said the new harbor boat's bottom paint was peeling off. The boat was taken out for repairs, and may be moved over to the west side.
Harbor clerk Paula Swistak reported the anticipated delivery of a kayak rack for the Maple Avenue right-of-way this week. The rack, which holds 18 spots for kayaks, will be immediately filled from a waiting list for kayak storage, Swistak noted. Kayaks currently on the old rack will be moved to the new rack, while dinghies and other small boats will be stored on the old rack.
Also in her report, Swistak noted that June 30 was the end of the fiscal year, but billings would continue to show up on the ledger as they are paid off. The outgoing harbor clerk, who will begin her new position as assistant town finance director, introduced the new harbor clerk, Sandy Forte. Forte is now in training for the clerical position.
DeAngeli thanked Swistak for her years of hard work for the harbor office.
Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz asked why the harbormaster's boat was on the touch and go dock for a week and a half, during the Tall Ships festival and Fourth of July. Harbormaster Sam Paterson explained the boat was brought to East Ferry from the west side for use during the Tall Ships visit. Kallfelz suggested hauling the boat and towing it back to the west side, or moving it to Ft. Wetherill after use, instead of crowding the dock. "We have such precious little space this time of year," he said.
After acceptance of a notice from the CRMC for approval to construct a new dock on Seaside Avenue, the commission discussed the growing population of private docks. Town Council liaison Julio DiGiando asked the commission to consider the proliferation of docks. DeAngeli reminded board members that the CRMC makes the decisions about docks, not the town. Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz suggested asking the solicitor what the town's rights were, if any, in regards to controlling the number of docks built.
In the harbormaster's report, Paterson listed 16 moorings, both riparian and non-riparian, that were not being used in Cranston Cove. He also listed two unidentified moorings found. "People who don't use their moorings will get letters," he said.
Before adjournment, DeAngeli revisited the ongoing controversy of the proposed LNG terminal at Weaver's Cove in Fall River. He mentioned the letter he wrote to the Press, published last week, June 12, outlining potential economic damage if the site were developed. DeAngeli encouraged all present at the meeting to be active in voicing concerns.