have authority to ticket boats
Police Chief Ed Mello told the Harbor Commission at its May 8 meeting that he will “tread cautiously” before ticketing residents for violations in rights-of-way, such as boats parked illegally.
“I have to be cautious not to selectively enforce some of them,” he said.
Jamestown resident Sav Rebecchi, who raised the issue about obstructed rights-of-way at the commission’s April meeting, asked Mello if violators could be issued tickets. Rebecchi presented a photograph showing several boats parked on a right-of-way in Jamestown Shores.
Harbor Commission Chairman Michael de Angeli said the Police Department has the authority to issue tickets per the harbor ordinance.
However, before going forward with citations, Mello said he first wanted to see how many cars, boats and sheds are currently infringing on the rights-of-way.
Mello also reported the Town Council took up the debate over rights-of-way at its May 6 meeting. The councilors will consider the next steps at a future session, but one option may be appointing a new commission. The new panel would include a representaPotter tive from the Harbor Commission. Its charge would be to prioritize reopening the rights-of-way since some appear to require legal action and others pose engineering problems.
Meanwhile, the staff has been instructed to document existing conditions on the rights-of-way.
“Do we need to do anything at this point?” de Angeli asked.
No, Mello replied.
But Commissioner Patrick Bolger said the Town Council will have to act in order to pursue the issue further. In the meantime, he said, Mello has the authority to enforce infringements.
Commissioner William Harsch noted the town is obligated to protect the rights-of-way.
“The ordinance makes it clear,” Harsch said. “They are always supposed to be open.”
He added that clearing the rights- of-way is not at the council’s discretion.
Bolger reported he had said the same thing at the May 6 council meeting. He also told councilors the town is responsible for maintenance on the rights-of-way.
“Maintenance is the responsibility of the town,” Harsch said, adding that the Coastal Resources Management Council has been “very clear” on that.
Commissioner David Cain asked Mello about the council’s charge to the new rights-of-way committee.
“There is no committee,” Mello said. The council hasn’t decided yet whether to establish one, he added.
Cain also asked Mello about giving people advance warning before issuing any tickets.
“Can you send a notice?” he asked.
“I’m sure many of these people would comply if they knew they were supposed to,” de Angeli said. He suggested a letter might be all the enforcement necessary.
“Send them a letter,” de Angeli said. “It wouldn’t have to be anything too pretentious.”
Mello reiterated he wanted to wait until he had researched the legal issues.
“I tread cautiously,” he repeated.
In other business, the CRMC has given its conditional OK to the Harbor Department’s ordinance and management plan.
According to an April 23 letter from CRMC Deputy Director Jeffrey Willis, Jamestown has won “interim approval.” It’s good for one year. Meanwhile, the CRMC is requiring new language in the management plan “for consistency” with the state plan, Willis wrote.
De Angeli said most of the CRMC additions deal with ensuring public access to the waterfront.
“The stuff that CRMC wanted was to add to our definitions of classes of moorings,” he said. De Angeli suggested adding a statement: “General public shall be entitled to a mooring permit at a 3-1 ratio of residents to nonresidents.”
But in reality, the town would not give out permits at the 3-1 ratio because “there is no public access available, so as a practical matter, none of these things are going to come to pass.”
But Bolger warned the state that changes could place significant pressure on the rights-of-way. There is no waiting list for right-of- way moorings, he said, and if the CRMC language is adopted and people apply for mooring permits, the town would be obligated to grant the requests.
That isn’t the plan, de Angeli replied. “We are supposed to reduce these by attrition,” he said. According to de Angeli, all the right-of- way moorings are grandfathered.
“We have harbor areas and mooring areas,” de Angeli said. “Mooring rights-of-way are orphans.”
Nonetheless, Bolger predicted the harbor office will receive a number of requests for right-of- way moorings if the CRMC language is adopted.
“The language they’re putting in,” he said, “is going to open it up.”
Harbormaster Sam Paterson said he was doubtful people would apply for right-of-way moorings once they realized how difficult accessing them will be.
But Bolger said people will deal with the inconveniences. If necessary, Bolger expects they’ll park on the street and cart their dinghies back and forth.
Commissioner Ed McGuirl also questioned a CRMC condition banning motorized vessels in shallow- water habitat. If adopted, the condition would mean the Fort Getty boat ramp could not be used. Moreover, the condition could result in the unintentional closing of Dutch Harbor and other areas where commercial fishing and recreational boating are currently allowed due to grandfathering.
Potter Cove and other areas would also be affected, he said.
The panel instructed Mello to go back to CRMC and learn more about issues concerning shallow- water habitat.