Champlin's to argue unfair CRMC treatment July 31
Attorneys for Champlin’s Marina will present arguments challenging a Coastal Resources Management Council decision against the marina’s plans to expand their docks in the Great Salt Pond at a special meeting of the CRMC on Tuesday, July 31, at 5:30 p.m. in Narragansett Town Hall in Narragansett.
The marina is charging that it was treated differently than Payne’s Dock, another marina in the Great Salt Pond, which received CRMC approval of its application to expand. Committee for the Great Salt Pond President Sven Risom says his organization has filed a motion to limit evidence for that hearing.
In its original 2003 application to the CRMC, Champlins Marina sought a 4-acre expansion. After years of subcommittee hearings, the agency denied the expansion. Years of legal wrangling ensued, going as far as the state Supreme Court. Eventually, in January 2011, the CRMC again denied the marina’s application.
However, in June 2011, the CRMC approved a 0.38 acre expansion for Payne’s Dock which would extend it 80 feet farther into the pond.
Last December, Champlin’s asked the Rhode Island Superior Court to allow it to present more evidence for its application because of the CRMC decision to allow Payne’s application. Judge Kristin Rodgers agreed to allow them to do so, and she asked the CRMC to weigh whether there was disparate treatment of the two marina applications.
At a pre-hearing discussion held on April 6, CRMC attorney Brian Goldman clarified that the judge remanded the case back to CRMC to hear new evidence pertaining to why they approved Payne’s and not Champlin’s application. He decided the file from the Payne’s hearings should be available to all CRMC commissioners before the hearing, but that the judge’s order did not include rehearing the Payne case.
CRMC spokesperson Laura Dwyer told the Times she did not know what Champlins’ arguments would be. “The pre-hearing did not shine a light on what they are going to argue,” Dwyer commented. She said the judge ordered the CRMC not to come back until they made another decision.
The hearing date is posted on CRMC’s website. Those intending to attend should check for schedule changes on the site’s calendar. As Town Manager Nancy Dodge says, the attorneys might not be ready and could ask to postpone the hearing.