2013-07-18 / News

Boat owners concerned about expansion

Marina’s informal proposal would relocate moorings
By Margo Sullivan

Jamestown mooring holders who may be displaced by Conancicut Marine’s expansion plans put the Harbor Commission on notice last week that they want to be kept informed about the developments.

Gary Parker, of Green Lane, spoke on behalf of the group during the open forum at the commission’s July 10 meeting. The mooring holders had talked among themselves, he said. After coming to the conclusion they were “pretty sure” they were in the path of the expansion, they decided to contact Bill Munger, president of Conanicut Marine Services.

“We hadn’t heard anything from Conanicut Marine relative to what was going on or what they had planned,” he said.

About six mooring holders set up a meeting with Munger. Parker described the face-to-face session as informal and said the group told Munger they wanted to know his plans. They also wanted to let him know their expectations. Parker said Munger was “personable” when he met with the group.

According to Parker, Munger said he would speak to the harbormaster about moving the six moorings to an area south of their present location.

“That sounds fine, but if you stand there and look at the moorings, it’s kind of crowded down there,” said Parker. “I’m not sure if six of us would fit in there.”

They mentioned the issue to Munger.

“He started discussing a bungeetype mooring,” Parker said. “I’m not sure I’m excited about a bungee mooring.”

Parker said the six mooring holders own small boats, in the 20- to 24-foot range, and do not plan to buy larger vessels. Their moorings are located in shallow water in a section easily accessible from the shore. As a result, Parkers said, they can get to their moorings “very easy” and the maintenance costs are not high. Also, they were familiar with the location and had been there for decades.

“I’ve had mine for 35 years. The Swistaks got theirs during the Jamestown Charter,” he quipped.

Summing up, Parker said the talk about the expansion has been “very preliminary” so far. He added, “There has so far been no firm proposal by Conanicut Marine about what they propose to do.”

Nonetheless, the group wants to make sure they have some input before a final decision is made and their moorings are moved. They also wanted to let the harbor commissioners know they want to be treated fairly.

“Conanicut Marine is looking to move us without sacrificing anything,” Parker said. “It seems like we’re sacrificing something on our part, and having Conanicut Marine sacrifice something may not be totally out of line. All we wanted to do at this meeting was establish who we are and that we would like to be involved.”

Harbor Chairman Michael de Angeli replied that Harbormaster Sam Paterson is “on top of the situation.”

A month ago, Paterson went on the record saying he’s not ready to make any decision until he sees an official plan. De Angeli asked to Paterson last week if that’s still his position.

Paterson replied it was.

Paterson said it would be premature to comment until he was presented with a final plan.

“But you have some concerns?” de Angeli asked.

Paterson indicated he did.

“[Munger] did tell us he was willing to give up some of his moorings if he had to displace people,” de Angeli said.

According to de Angeli, there wasn’t much the commission could do but take note until a formal proposal was presented. Meanwhile, he said, the group was welcome to attend any Harbor Commission meetings.

As for the bungee moorings, the commissioners in the past investigated the product, de Angeli said. They found the bungee moorings “to be good for the boat.”

Commissioner Ed McGuirl asked if the state Coastal Resources Management Council would have to approve any expansion at the marina.

That is a hard question to answer, de Angeli said, because Munger has a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. That permit would take precedence over a CRMC ruling.

Jamestown resident Sav Rebecchi said the marina expansion was not on the Harbor Commission’s agenda and suggested continuing the discussion would not be proper.

“Conanicut Marine may need to be informed,” Rebecchi said.

“All right,” de Angeli said. ”Fair enough.”

In other business, Commissioner Chris Brown asked why the conservation buoys were not in the water yet.

Paterson replied the delay was due to a shortage of manpower. He said the Highway Department has given him “a hand,” but no one else has been available.

Also, a channel buoy at Dutch Harbor is scheduled to be moved.

“It’s in the works,” Paterson said.

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