2011-04-21 / News

Harbor panel discusses edits to management plan

By Tracey O’Neill

Discussion at the April 13 meeting of the Jamestown Harbor Management Commission was heavily weighted with further development of the Comprehensive Harbor Management Plan, in accordance with Coastal Resources Management Commission requirements and recommendations.

Review of the Marine Development Fund budget brought general discussion of revenues being generated in mooring fees. Harbor Clerk Kim Devlin affirmed that renewals have gone out and are being processed, with more people handling their renewals through the online payment system this year than last.

Vice Chairman Andrew Kallfelz questioned whether there was a process in place for proactive renewal of those moorings being lost through attrition. “Is there a process where we can get them assigned early, so we aren’t dealing with them once the season is underway?” he asked. “When we get into the season, people will have gone and found moorings elsewhere.”

In his report, Bob Bowen, the Jamestown Town Council liaison, told the Commission that he had no formal submission in anticipation of the budget hearing, but said, “The Council is anxiously awaiting the harbor ordinance revisions.”

The Jamestown Conservation Commission report was given by Maureen Coleman, who answered questions as to the anchoring and mooring zones surrounding the island. When asked who was responsible for the maps and content of the conservation plan, she said that the information is considered to be part of the management plan. Not to be confused with the Jamestown Comprehensive Community Plan, this plan is specific to harbor management.

There was a brief discussion as to language requirements, which are prohibitive of anchoring or mooring in conservation zones and conservation areas. Conservation zones as defined in the Harbor Management Ordinance reads, “Those harbor areas specially designated by the town for the protection of water quality, wildlife, and plant habitat values.”

It was affirmed that the repressive language is presently included in the Harbor Management Ordinance.

Commissioner Susan Little reported that the facilities subcommittee had met and was working on a long-term plan. The meeting was held on April 8 with discussion surrounding the Comprehensive Capital Improvement Plan. Current and proposed projects were determined with the purpose of identifying the infrastructure pieces under harbor purview, with a look towards developing a longterm plan. Minutes of the meeting will be available after acceptance and approval at the next scheduled subcommittee meeting.

Little also inquired as to the scope of responsibility at the subcommittee level. In response, Commission Chairman Mike de Angeli suggested that the subcommittee draft a resolution, make recommendations and present issues to the Harbor Management Commission for approval and discussion.

Commissioners David Cain and Chris Brown exchanged thoughts regarding long-term budget projections for facilities. Brown suggested that budget work for facilities should outline specific items needed to lay out the plan.

Conversation turned to the CRMC recommendations for modification to the management plan. Mooring allocation, ownership, restrictions and prohibitions were discussed at length.

At issue was the ability of the Commission and town to monitor and maintain the integrity of mooring use. At the center of the debate was the question of how to police the use of moorings, where the vehicle moored is a lease vehicle and is not under the ownership of the mooring holder. To further complicate things, questions were posed as to how to prohibit a mooring holder from allowing someone else continuous use of the mooring.

The Harbor Zoning Ordinance disallows the use of a private mooring by more than one individual or entity at a time. It states: “No vessel, other than that of the mooring holder is permitted to use the mooring for more than seven consecutive days.”

Exception has been made for those owners who are currently leasing, have sold or are in the process of purchasing another boat. In this case, the mooring holder would be granted a one-year grace period.

Town Council member Ellen Winsor spoke about the need to insure against mooring holders renting their moorings for profit and was assured that the ordinance covered such prohibitions.

Harbormaster Sam Paterson weighed in on the discussion.

“Right now there is a one-year grace period,” he said. “At the end of the year, when the grace period is up, they will have to come before the Commission to deal with renewal.”

Additional language causing concern for the Commission was concerning recreational activities. Kallfelz pointed to the ordinance language pertinent to swimming, diving and fishing from town-owned piers, floating docks, wharfs and jetties. Such activity is prohibited by the ordinance. The specific language in question, “Swimming and diving are permitted in harbor waters and in mooring areas only as necessary to perform maintenance and repair of vessels,” is a CRMC recommendation.

The restrictive language, broad in scope, pertaining to harbor waters was considered overly prohibitive per Kallfelz. “This language means that you can’t swim from your boat,” he said. According to Kallfelz, the term “harbor waters” also takes into consideration the beach areas, including those at East Ferry, Mackerel Cove and Potter Cove.

Peterson confirmed that swimming in mooring areas is a safety concern. “Where people are swimming in mooring areas, where boats are coming through, ferries are moving in and out all the time, it is a safety issue.”

Further discussion was tabled and it was agreed that the language would be revisited.

The facilities subcommittee scheduled its next meeting for Friday, April 22, at 10 a.m. No location has been determined.

The Jamestown Harbor Management Commission will meet again on Wednesday, May 11, at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.

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