The Block Island Times

Harbors hoping to raise fees

New Harbormaster office site discussed
By Judy Tierney | Mar 06, 2013
Photo by: Judy Tierney

The Harbors Committee voted to send a recommendation to the Town Council to increase mooring fees in New Harbor. The move came at the group’s monthly meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21.

Hermann “Bo” Gempp made the motion to increase the transient fee for regular moorings to $45 per night, and for heavier moorings to $50 per night. There are only eight or nine of the heavier ones, clerk Beth Rousseau said. A recommendation will also be sent to the Town Council to increase non-transient moorings by 10 percent in New Harbor, but no vote was taken because three of the four members present (Bobby Littlefield, Gempp and Mike Ballard) have moorings, which left only Chair Dennis Heinz to weigh in on a vote.

Since repairs are still underway in Old Harbor, and East Dock is without water and electricity, committee members decided to wait before recommending an increase of those fees until the work there is completed. Commercial dock fees were recently increased with the completion of the West Dock, and those will be left as is.

Gempp also noted that some of the nail heads are popping out of the new West Dock. Heinz said they started popping right after it was put down, and Littlefield said he could hear them coming out last summer. Gempp wondered if there is a warranty on the repairs and suggested having the harbormaster check that.

Rousseau presented a report from harbormaster Steve Land. There are three or four moorings that will be revoked, she said, and nine people have given up their moorings. Those moorings will be reassigned. The total number of people on both the resident and non-resident list is 500, however. Rousseau sent out 70 registration reminder letters and said he will do another mailing in April. Outhaul permits will go out next, followed by the commercial registrations.

New harbormaster’s office

Planning the new harbormaster’s office was also on Heinz’s mind. He presented plat maps showing the area, now called K and H plat, located next to the boat basin. As the committee looked over the maps, Heinz said the committee needed to determine location of the wetlands and the property line. Sewer and electricity service is available there, and Heinz thought that since town water is also available on West Side Road that could probably be drawn from.

Gempp proposed a preliminary application be sent to the Rhode Island Coastal Resources Management Council after the land survey is done. He also said there are several sets of plans currently available, including a building sketch drawn up in 2008. He added that an architect will not be necessary for the project.

Addressing suggestions he’d heard from members of the public at other times, Heinz said that site is better than using the Coast Guard station because from the station the harbormaster can only see what boat traffic is coming in and going out, whereas, from the area of the Boat Basin, he can see what is going on in the harbor.

Wrapping up that discussion, Heinz said he would consult with either the town manager or finance director as to whether a few thousand dollars is available in the harbors budget for a wetland study and survey.

Oyster Gardens available

Roger Williams University will be running its Oyster Garden restoration program again this year, Gempp reported. The university supplies the cages and bags of oyster spat to be put in the water and grow over the summer and then released into the waters in the fall. Anyone interested in participating in the restoration program should call Pete Tweedy.

Administrative tasks

Member Bobby Littlefield asked to not be vice-chair of the Harbors Committee. He told the others he had been thinking of stepping down to an alternate position before they appointed him as vice-chair in his absence, but said he would now be willing to stay on as a regular member. His request was placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

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