2008-07-17 / News

Commissioners mull riparian rights policy

By Sam Bari

The commissioners discussed at length the sometimes murky policy for riparian rights at the July 9 Harbor Management Commission meeting.

Chairman Michael deAngeli said that riparian property owners get priority for moorings. He explained that a riparian property is on the water, and property owners on the water have the right to a mooring.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson added, "Riparian property owners have rights to a mooring in front of their property." If the mooring in front of the property is not suitable, they have a right to a mooring where and when space is available, he said.

If a property owner wants a new mooring and the riparian mooring site is full, they will have priority on the waiting list or when the mooring is vacated, Paterson said. "We're not going to kick anybody off of their mooring just because the riparian property owner decides they want to use it," he said.

Vice Chairman Richard Anderson agreed, saying, "Nobody is guaranteed a mooring."

DeAngeli said, "If the present policy is working, then I see no reason to change it." Anderson supported deAngeli.

Commissioner Andrew Kallfelz said the policy is in keeping with the ordinance.

"Then it's settled," de Angeli said. "The riparian mooring policy will remain status quo. Riparian property owners will have priority on the wait list if a mooring is not available in front of their property."

In an unrelated issue, Town Council liaison Julio DiGiando said that Town Engineer Mike Gray will now move forward with a bid for construction of the curbs and rails project on the steel pier at East Ferry.

The curbs and rails project has been six years in the planning and the scope of the design has been changed several times.

After budget considerations, the Town Council as well as the Harbor Commission agreed that a resurfacing of the sheet piles with a concrete cap with new electrical conduits was all that was needed at this time.

Gray said he is working with the RT Group, Inc. of East Providence, the consultants hired by the town to design the project, to put out construction bids as soon as possible.

Commissioner Bob Bowen, chairman of the commission's facilities committee, has been working with the RT Group as well as Gray for at least four years to get the long-debated project under way.

In other business, Chief Thomas Tighe said that the Harbormaster's boat had been hauled and inspected to assure that galvanic corrosion was not a recurring problem. He said that after the inspection, a broken bilge pump was replaced and everything else appeared to be in order.

Harbormaster Paterson reported that service at the West Ferry pump-out was interrupted twice due to operator error. He explained the details of the interruption and suggested that it would not happen again if step-by-step instructions were posted by the pumpout. DeAngeli asked him to follow up on the matter.

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