Harbor panel proceeds with new mooring rates
Numerous issues were discussed at the Jamestown Harbor Management Commission meeting on March 9, including infrastructure boundaries, conservation zones, compliance with the Coastal Management Resources Council and the structure of the Harbor Commission’s subcommittees.
Jamestown Town Council member Ellen Winsor addressed the Commission at the start of the meeting. Winsor spoke at some length, voicing concerns regarding the timing of the Harbor Commission’s meeting on March 1 and cost overruns on the wood-pile pier and touch-and-go dock project.
Referring to the debate surrounding mooring fees, Windsor said that “confusion” has been the “reason things have gotten a little out of hand.”
She said that she was not being critical, but instead she was “describing the chaos that resulted in things being done before they were planned, before they were publically known, before they needed to be done and [done] in a way that didn’t include all parties that are going to be affected by it.”
In his report as the Town Council liaison, Bob Bowen reminded the Commission that the Town Council passed the Commission’s budget on March 7. The 24 percent increase in mooring fees will result in a $4.15-per-foot cost for residents and $8.30-per-foot cost for nonresidents and commercial users. Outhaul and beach-permit fees increased 5 percent.
Other budget items discussed included the administrative fee line item, which is increasing from $2,500 to $15,000. Commission Chairman Mike de Angeli said that that was more in line with the actual costs of town staff working on harbor matters.
Bowen said that the number had “never been evaluated.” He added that once it was evaluated, “it was a fairly sizable increase but it is because somebody actually looked at it.” de Angeli agreed that it was a legitimate increase.
Maureen Coleman, the Jamestown Conservation Committee liaison, reported that the Conservation Commission had revisited the conservation zones and had dramatically reduced the size of the no-anchoring conservation zones.
The Conservation Commission is asking the Harbor Commission to change the language in the Harbor Management Ordinance to prohibit both anchoring and mooring in the smaller zones.
Coleman said that the potential water quality concerns are the main motivation behind the change and she added that the Conservation Commission seeks to minimize risks to the marine environment. Harbor Commission member Andrew Kallfelz noted that the zones were more reasonable and de Angeli told Coleman that the Harbor Commission would consider the changes.
The Town Council has asked the Commission to make further revisions to the Harbor Management Ordinance and Comprehensive Harbor Management Plan. de Angeli asked the commissioners to consider what they understand to be harbor-side infrastructure in preparation for a future conversation. de Angeli suggested that harbor structures located in the “high-water mark downwardly” could serve as a workable defi- nition, but he said that including parking lots such as the one at East Ferry is “probably not the right way [to go].” de Angeli also said that the Town Council wants the Commission to address “future budget fees and budget-funding models,” but said that it would be a topic for future meetings.
Elections of officers were held and the commissioners voted unanimously to maintain the current leadership.
Subcommittee structure was addressed by the Commission and two committees were eliminated, while two others were made active subcommittees. The new subcommittees will have three members each.
Previously, using a “pointperson” approach in place of subcommittees, the commissioners decided to eliminate the technology committee, maintain the point-person approach for mooring implementation, and beef up facilities and budget.
Commissioners Larry Eichler and Ed McGuirl will join Susan Little on the facilities subcommittee, and Kallfelz and Commissioner Dave Cain will join Commissioner Chris Brown on the budget subcommittee.
According to de Angeli, all open meeting laws will apply, minutes will be kept, and commissioners who are not on a particular subcommittee are welcome to attend other subcommittee meetings.
The remainder of the meeting concerned the state Coastal Resources Management Council’s Municipal Harbor Management Plan Consistency Review Checklist. The checklist was presented by Kevin Cute, the CRMC’s coastal policy officer.
The purpose of Cute’s visit to the meeting was to present the checklist and review and discuss the public workshop that will be held at the end of the month. Many of the inconsistencies in the management plan can be easily addressed with simple language changes or adding statements indicating “that there are none,” such as commercial fishing preparation and shipping facilities.
In addition, there are policies that need to be developed. There are also policies that are in place, but the language could be updated by adopting another town’s language.
The commissioners agreed to incorporate easily made changes to a new draft of the management plan and then hash out the remaining issues at the workshop, re-draft the document, seek preliminary approval from CMRC and then pass it on to the Town Council for approval. Once the document is approved at the town level, it will go to the CRMC for final approval.
The next meeting of the Jamestown Harbor Management Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, March 23.