LWV OBSERVER CORPS: Harbors and Waters Board, July 10

Marblehead League of Women Voters Observer Corps
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Observer Corps Reports are provided by volunteers from the Marblehead League of Women Voters. To learn more about the League and its activities, see my.lwv.org/massachusetts/marblehead.

BOARD: Harbors and Waters Board

DATE: July 10 (in person, at harbormaster’s office)

OBSERVER: Kathy Breslin

COMMISSIONERS IN ATTENDANCE: Gary Gregory, John Doub, Ken Breen, Jay Michaud, Clark Smith, Rick Cuzner (alternate), Peter Dragonas (alternate), Chris Hood (alternate)

Minutes approved

The meeting was called to order and June minutes were approved.

Brown’s Island name change

Public request for Brown’s Island name change, Eugene E. Record letter of approval. Harbormaster Mark Souza drafted a letter for the coard to approve and send to the Select Board. It will then go to the DEP, the Army Corps of Engineers and then NOAA.

State Street bathrooms

There was a discussion about the proposal to keep the bathrooms open year-round. Phil Blaisdell, who proposed the idea, was not in attendance.

The Marblehead Current published a letter to the editor that contained statements that the board felt were incorrect. The overall consensus was that the board does not want to be charged with maintaining the bathrooms as they don’t serve their clients, the mooring and ring owners, although the bathrooms are located on property, State Street Landing, managed by the board.

In the past, the harbormaster had a full-time assistant harbormaster who had time for maintenance, but not now. The harbormaster indicated he would meet with the Select Board and town administrator to discuss transferring management of the bathrooms to a different department.

Parking for commercial fishermen

Neil Rossman, a commercial fisherman, proposed designating five parking spots at State Street Landing adjacent to the Landing Restaurant for commercial fishermen, which would be exempt from the existing two-hour parking limit. He stated that fishermen have randomly received parking fines for exceeding the limit, as they arrive between 4 a.m. and 5 a.m. to go out to their boats and return at 1 p.m. He stated that there are four boats. The fifth spot would be for a fisherman’s son’s vehicle.

The police chief suggested Rossman discuss the issue with the Select Board. The issue was raised that the Landing Restaurant and the Driftwood Restaurant would object to potential loss of business due to less parking availability for their customers if five spots were taken for eight hours daily. It was mentioned that one fisherman has three vehicles in the lot all day in addition to four others.

It was moved and voted that the harbormaster speak to the police chief about the request.

Harbormaster report

  • The Fourth of July celebrations went well with no incidents reported. There were some concerns on social media about underage drinking on boats at Brown’s (Crowninshield) Island. There were two Essex County sheriffs on the island. The rain kept crowds small, and no one was hurt.
  • The Marblehead-to-Halifax race event went very well, smoother than in previous years. There were enough moorings for every boat that wanted one. The EYC Cruise helped free up moorings.
  • Dockwa has a 48-hour cancellation notice. The harbormaster manages the waitlist. The new hourly rental rate for moorings is $8/hour.
  • Stramski’s beach and piers: In 1968, the town bought space at Stramski’s beach to take pressure off of Village Street and to have a sailing program. The initial plan was to enter Stramski Way and exit on Dodge Road, but it didn’t work out.
  • There have been some safety issues with the children in the Rec and Parks sailing program The first float is managed by Rec and Parks and is for its sailboats (which should not be left unattended) and their Boston Whaler; the second and third floats are managed by the harbormaster. The second float is for tie-ups to 16 rings managed by the harbormaster. The third float is for transient boat 30-minute tie-ups, but sometimes the Rec and Park sailboats tie up there, too. The harbormaster gave Rec and Park a second float, but they have been using it on shore for storage. Some children have been jumping off the third float, which creates a safety issue when a transient boat is tying up. Swimming and fishing are not allowed for liability reasons. Some parents verbally accosted staff who tried to prevent the children from jumping off the float at mid-tide. The Rec and Park staff are new every year and not aware of the purposes of each float or the swimming restriction around them. Signage is needed. There have been some private boats docked on the floats, which isn’t allowed. One owner will be told he must remove his permanently tied up boat from the third float. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has indicated the floats are for public use only.

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