2013-06-27 / Front Page

Discussion continues on marina expansion

Conanicut Marine wants to axe five private moorings
By Margo Sullivan

Conanicut Marine is moving forward with expansion plans and anticipates five private moorings will have to be relocated, Bill Munger told the Harbor Commission on June 19.

Munger updated the commissioners about his plans and said he hopes to work with the town to improve the harbor. However, Harbormaster Sam Paterson said he could not comment on the proposal yet.

“It’s too early,” Paterson said when Chairman Michael de Angeli asked if anyone wanted to voice “overwhelming objections.” Paterson said he didn’t have all the facts and could not say if he anticipated any issues.

Munger previously said the marina is growing to help finance an expensive new wave shield, which protects boats during storms. Hurricane Sandy destroyed the old wave attenuator.

On March 4, Munger presented the commissioners with four conceptual plans under consideration. The plans, which have drawn some questions from residents, have since been posted on the town website. Meanwhile, Munger has settled on “some version” of the plan labeled “D,” which he described as one of the two “umbrella layouts.”

This plan extends the marina “way out to the south” in a T-shape, he said, and provides “greater shelter to the south basin during storm events.”

To summarize its main features, Munger said the enlarged marina will be able to accommodate 61 boats on a seasonal basis. The permit allows 64 boats, he said.

“The seaward face will accommodate access for touch-andgo for mooring guests,” he said. There will also be other features for transient boaters.

Munger said the plan provides “a generous level of protection to the town dock in the northern basin when the wind is out of the southeast and south.”

About five private moorings are in the way of the plan, he said, and would have to be moved. The harbor office has supplied him with a GIS overlay to help identify the moorings. If possible, Munger said he would like the town to help out with finding new moorings for the boaters who will be displaced.

Paterson said there was a possibility the harbor office could offer one private mooring to a displaced boater, but he was not ready to recommend doing so.

According to Paterson, “We did have one permit given up in this area that we’re not replacing.”

However, he said it would be premature to make any commitment until he knew the final plan.

If necessary, Munger said, Conanicut Marine will give up five commercial moorings to compensate the displaced boaters.

“Conanicut does have commercial sites within a couple of hundred feet,” he said. “This plan will continue to be refined.”

Munger anticipates he will post another update on the marina’s website over the next couple of weeks.

Meanwhile, Munger asked the harbor commissioners to let him know if they hear from residents who are concerned or have questions. He also said he hopes to “brainstorm” with Paterson about the plans, which he described as “neighborly discussions” at this point in time. “Absolutely nothing is carved in stone,” Munger said.

“Until we have the coordinates of a plan, we can’t really do anything,” Paterson said. “I’m here to work with you, Bill.”

Looking at the private moorings, only the five are going to be affected.

“If anything else is affected, it’s going to be Conanicut’s systems,” Munger said.

“You don’t need permission,” de Angeli said. “You have your Army Corps permit.”

Munger had told the commissioners earlier his Army Corps of Engineering permit already allowed up to 64 boats.

“It is a public process,” Munger replied. “I want to keep it a public process.” According to Munger, Conanicut Marine has made “an effort to put the project within the riparian area.”

“I am sensitive to other people’s feelings,” he said. “I live here.”

Commissioner Bill Harsch asked Munger if the state coastal council will have any role in the project.

“Oh, absolutely,” Munger replied.

He said the Coastal Resources Management Council has authority over the marina’s perimeter, and the plan calls for expanding the existing perimeter.

“Is that going to involve a public hearing?” Harsch asked.

When Munger confirmed it would, Harsch asked if he anticipated any problems with CRMC staff.

“I’m not aware of any,” Munger said. “This is zoned properly by the town and by CRMC. This is the type of activity that’s supposed to go here.”

Munger has not presented any information yet to the state, he said.

Harsch also asked Munger to clarify what he meant earlier when he said the new wave attenuator would not solve all the problems facing the harbor.

Munger said Jamestown Harbor would be protected from wind and waves blowing up from the east and south.

“But the north and northeast is another whole conversation,” he added. “The town pier would have to be extended out to an L. All this is very ambitious, very costly.”

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