2007-09-20 / News

Woodpile pier on town council agenda

By Sam Bari

Town Council Vice President and harbor commission liaison Julio DiGiando said at last week's Harbor Management Commission meeting that the woodpile pier would be on the Oct. 9 town council meeting agenda. He said he would encourage the council to make a decision on the mooring area at the town-owned beach in the Jamestown Shores, commonly known as Head's Beach.

On Thursday, Sept. 13, DiGiando presided over a joint meeting of the town council and the harbor commission to discuss the controversial issues surrounding the woodpile pier at East Ferry. The use of the pier has been a matter of contention between local boaters and fishermen for years. Committing the amount of investment required to repair and upgrade the facility was also a major point of discussion at the meeting.

The town council must also make a decision on the harbor commission's recommendation to designate Head's Beach as a mooring area, DiGiando said. Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero is expected to give a legal opinion to clarify the wording of the deed in the sale of the beach area to the town.

Charlotte Zarlengo, president of the citizen's group known as the Jamestown Shores Association, and Planning Commission Chairman Gary Girard, who is also an association member, contend that the beach was designated in the deed as a swimming and bathing area exclusively for the use of Jamestown Shores residents. However, the deed does not say that the waters cannot also be used as a mooring area.

Since the sale of the beach to the town, the surrounding waters have been given a Class II rating by the Coastal Resources Management Commission (CRMC), which is a recreational use rating for boating and swimming.

In other business, harbor commission executive director Thomas Tighe reported that professor Otto Gregory cleared the East Ferry docks of electrical problems in the surrounding waters. The town engaged Gregory, a chemical engineer teaching at the University of Rhode Island, as a consultant to investigate the excessive galvanic corrosion on the recently purchased harbormaster's boat from Ribcraft of Marblehead, Mass.

Tighe said that Gregory and his colleagues were going to closely inspect the electrical system and the materials used to prepare the boat for launch in order to find the source of the corrosion. Tighe said he expects a conclusive report from Gregory by the end of next week.

The commissioners voted 4-0 to grant a request for transfer of a riparian mooring by Fred A. Reif, who named his three daughters as beneficiaries in the Reif Sisters LLC. The transfer will grant the rights to the LLC as a class 3 mooring for the 2008 season.

In an unrelated matter, John Sahagian requested a revisiting of his application for a Class 1b mooring in Mackerel Cove. A Class 1b mooring is available to property owners who have deeded right of access to riparian property. His application had originally been denied by Harbormaster Sam Paterson because four riparian moorings already existed in a location that is not a designated mooring field.

According to harbor commission Chairman Michael deAngeli, the commission was hesitant to rule on the matter because the CRMC needs to clarify the rules concerning the number of boats that constitute a mooring field.

DeAngeli said that CRMC regulations state that if more than four moorings are in any area, including riparian moorings, the area must be declared a mooring field. However, the commission was told verbally that the riparian moorings were no longer included in the count.

The commission was not in a position to make a qualified decision, until the rules were clarified, deAngeli said. He suggested that Sahagian return in the spring after the CRMC clarified their position on the matter, and the commission would again review his request.

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