2009-06-18 / Front Page

Harbor Commission moves forward with Fort Getty projects

By Erin Tiernan

The Harbor Management Commission voted to begin the permitting process for maintenance and expansion of the existing Fort Getty boat ramp at its meeting on June 10, which will make the ramp useable to boaters during a larger range of the tides.

Commissioners said it will be an arduous process to receive approval for all proposed improvements to the ramp since it is located in Type 1 conservation waters and requires approval from the Coastal Resources Management Council. They decided to split the project and approach the maintenance plans separately from new construction.

“In the next step (to gain approval), we need to limit the scope of the project to what can legitimately be called maintenance and improvements (by CRMC standards),” said Chairman Michael de Angeli.

Since the existing ramp was built prior to the formation of CRMC, the commissioners expect the maintenance permitting process to be approved quickly by CRMC under an exception allowing repairs to preexisting structures.

Proposed improvements will fit into the present footprint, but will require a small amount of dredging to install the recast concrete replacements.

The second permit for the addition of a small 60-to 80-foot single floating dock will take much longer and require public notice and hearings. If approved, the dock will provide boaters with space to temporarily tie their boats.

“However much we can do in terms of repairs at Fort Getty will be of benefit to the townspeople,” said Commissioner Richard Anderson. “At least that’s what I’m hearing from the boaters.”

Mooring owners may see a change soon in the Harbor Management Ordinance that will close a loophole. Harbor Clerk Kim Devlin said she noticed more than a few mooring permits that did not match the name on the boat’s registration.

She explained the loophole was exploited as a way for people to duck the waiting list for mooring permits, which is currently backlogged for about 10 years. Permit-holders charter their moorings so boaters can avoid waiting for their own permit. As long as permit-holders charter their moorings without monetary gain, this doesn’t violate the existing ordinance, but commissioners agreed it was unfair.

“Basically everything is kosher according to the ordinance, however, one person owns the rights to a permit and another person is paying for it, and paying for the mooring inspection,” said Devlin. “It seems a little unfair with the waiting list that long.”

In other proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Harbor Management Plan, Chairman de Angeli asked Harbormaster Sam Paterson to review the mooring zone at West Harbor and determine if it should be increased in size.

Commissioners will vote on revisions to the Harbor Management Ordinance and the Comprehensive Harbor Management Plan at next month’s meeting.

Commissioner Bob Bowen reported the curbs and rails waterfront improvement project to the steel pier at East Ferry was completed.

Harbor Executive Director Thomas Tighe said he and Devlin are applying for grants from the Department of Environmental Management to help with repairs to pump out facilities at East Ferry and Dutch Harbor. The DEM has $18,750 available.

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