2007-08-30 / News

Panel says Head's Beach should be mooring field site

By Sam Bari

The much contested Sunset Beach at the Jamestown Shores area, known locally as Head's Beach, will be recommended as a mooring field to the town council by the Harbor Management Commission despite the Shores Association's protests.

According to Harbor Commission Chairman Michael de Angeli, "As required by state law, the Harbor Commission is moving forward with the revision of the town's Comprehensive Harbor Management Plan and the implementing ordinance. We anticipate recommending to the town council that Sunset Beach in the Jamestown Shores be designated as a mooring field."

He also said that designation of the area as a mooring field will not in any way change the status quo as it is today. Specifically, neither additional moorings nor a shore side pump out facility are planned or being considered. The designation is a mandate by the Coastal Resources Management Council. Neither the Harbor Commission nor the town has the authority to override their decision. "We have no choice," de Angeli said. "It's the law."

Chairman Gary Girard at last week's Planning Commission meeting said he was appalled that the Harbor Commission did not involve the Planning Commission in its plans for development. He also said he attended the last Harbor Commission meeting and brought to their attention that the deed for Head's Beach designated the area for swimming and bathing for Jamestown Shores residents.

Girard, who is also a Jamestown Shores Association member, pointed out that Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero said, "There's no doubt about it, it (the deed) runs with the land." Girard warned the harbor commissioners, "not to make any hasty decisions without involving us (the Planning Commission)."

When asked to clarify his comments concerning the town solicitor, Girard recanted his statement and said that he read the deed to Ruggiero over the phone and the solicitor said, "It sounded like it could run with the land." Girard also said that since Ruggiero had not read the deed he said he could not give an official legal opinion.

During a conversation with Ruggiero about the matter, the solicitor verified that he had not read the deed and emphatically said he did not offer a legal opinion to anybody. When asked when an opinion on the wording of the deed could be expected he said, "This is a backburner item. There are so many important town business matters that take priority, I can only say I'll get to it when I can."

Harbor Commissioner Robert Bowen agreed with Ruggiero and Chairman de Angeli about the Shores Association's claims of exclusivity for Head's Beach. In a telephone conversation Bowen said, "The Shore's Association represents its members, not everyone living in the Shores. I live in the Shores and they certainly don't represent me," Bowen said.

De Angeli also said that the Harbor Commission could only make recommendations to the Town Council. Before the revised Harbor Management Plan is sent to the CRMC, the council must approve it.

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