2018-05-24 / News

Council tables request for kayak racks

BY TIM RIEL

The town councilors Monday night postponed a decision on a proposal from a volunteer civic group to install four kayak racks intended to improve public access to the waterfront.

The presentation by the Friends of Jamestown Rights-of-Way proposed racks near the Fort Wetherill boat basin, the Taylor Point parking lot, Park Dock and Buccaneer Way. According to member Samira Hakki, there are 94 names on the waiting lists despite four current racks providing space for 132 kayaks at Fort Getty, Maple Avenue, Head’s Beach and East Ferry.

“We are trying to meet recreational needs without overwhelming the existing locations,” she said.

Kristine Trocki, council president, agreed with Hakki about the demand. “I’ve been on the waiting list forever and I’m still waiting,” she said.

The proposal, however, received blowback from the audience, particularly homeowners on Seaside Drive.

Wayne Turner, who lives a block away from the Buccaneer Way right-of-way, said the location is sandwiched between homes in a residential neighborhood, which is fundamentally different than the other proposed and current sites. Promoting Buccaneer Way, he said, would snowball the drinking, littering, trespassing, vandalism and public urination that he already witnesses in that area.

His neighbor, Roseanne Pawelec, agreed. She said that section of Seaside Drive is “like an ecosystem with a delicate balance.”

“Nobody wants to prohibit people from having fun, but it’s a quality-of-life issue,” she said.

As for the other sites, Dennis Webster, a founding member of the Taylor Point Restoration Association, said he has concerns about installing a rack at the nature preserve. He pointed to a six-point plan for Taylor Point approved by the council in 2015 to strive for minimum manmade accessories in that area.

Also, Councilman Blake Dickinson said he would like to discuss the proposed Fort Wetherill rack with the association of boat owners that lease the marina from the town. Police Chief Ed Mello also expressed concerns, particularly with parking in the Jamestown Shores.

“That’s a tremendous impact on that neighborhood,” he said.

Town Administrator Andy Nota recommended the volunteer group meet with the parks department to draft a clean proposal.

“This played out how I anticipated,” he said. “We need to do some additional vetting. I would focus on where the demand is.”

Mike White, vice president of the council, suggested returning to the council with a priority list.

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