The proposed expansion of a private marina in Rockland Harbor has generated some waves of discontent.

The Rockland Harbor Commission held a forum Tuesday night, Jan. 30, to solicit comments on the possible relocation of moorings as a result of the project.

Yachting Solutions will meet formally with the Rockland City Council Feb. 14 to discuss the project that was first unveiled publicly in November. The company initially wants to add some floats and pilings in front of where the boardwalk is located.

That initial part of the project would necessitate the relocation of seven moorings. The project would need the approval of the Rockland Planning Board, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers. That work could begin in about a year.

Additional parts of the project are further down the road and would result in construction of a longer pier to serve transient vessels. That part of the project, however, would cut across a channel in the southern part of Rockland's inner harbor and require the relocation of additional moorings.

The owner of one of the seven moorings that would have to be moved because of the initial part of the project is David Kelley of Rockland.

Kelley said he had enjoyed seeing Rockland become a vibrant community, noting that when he first came to the city, a lot of downtown buildings were boarded up.

But he said some of the changes, such as the proliferation of gift shops and stores that sell items costing more than he can afford, has left him with the feeling that Rockland has grown past him.

Kelley said the Yachting Solutions proposed expansion to serve mega-yachts has also left him with the feeling that Rockland is growing past him. He said he felt fortunate to have a mooring so close to the public landing that he could row out to his mooring.

"I feel like I'm being pushed out," Kelley said.

Dale Maxcy of Rockland said he grew up in Rockland and was a member of the Sea Scouts when its building was located next to the Maine State Ferry Terminal.

He said the southern channel in the harbor is unique, in that it allows sailboats to pass close by the shore as they come to the public landing.

He said the proposed extension of Yachting Solutions into that southern channel is overstepping its boundaries to accommodate large yachts for 10 weeks out of the year.

Al Hodsdon of Fairfield said when he first came to Rockland harbor in 1971, there was only recreational mooring in the center of the harbor. He said Rockland was avoided by boaters because of sewage discharges, before the construction of the treatment plant, and fish wastes.

He said Rockland harbor is now a place boaters want to be, and the southern channel is nearly as busy as the main federal channel. He added that closing the southern channel would put too much traffic in the main channel.

Steven Hale, owner of the Captain Jack touring lobster boat, said he uses the southern channel every day.

Timothy Woodworth of Rockport said he uses the southern channel because it is safer, allowing him to avoid ferries and larger boats.

Yachting Solutions would pay for the cost of moving the seven moorings for the initial part of the project.

In July, Yachting Solutions received a federal Boating Infrastructure Grant.

In the harbor adjacent to where Yachting Solutions is located, docking space would increase from about 1,000 feet to 2,500 feet. This would accommodate large yachts (longer than 130 feet) that now bypass the Midcoast because of the lack of adequate berthing space, according to Yachting Solutions.

"The Yachting Solutions Boat Basin will become one of the most well‐appointed transient destinations in what is arguably the most sought‐after cruising grounds on the eastern coast of North America," the company stated in its grant application.

The overall proposal to overhaul the harbor also calls for building two wave breakers. One of them would extend from the middle pier, while the other would be located out near the pier used by Yachting Solutions. The one extending from the middle pier would be wide enough for pedestrian traffic.

The overall plan also calls for moving the building where the harbormaster's office is to Buoy Park, near the embankment off Park Drive. In addition, the plan calls for the small cruise ships that now dock at the public landing to dock at the middle pier, adjacent to Buoy Park. The existing public landing bridge would be replaced with a larger one.

This would move the visitors getting off the smaller cruise ships closer to downtown, closer to the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce offices and closer to Tillson Avenue, Michael Sabatini of Landmark Corp. Surveyors & Engineers in Rockport said.

At a December harbor management meeting, Rockland City Manager Tom Luttrell pointed out more than once that the city could only proceed with its part of the project — moving the harbormaster's building, for example — if it obtained grants. He said a redesign of Harbor Park has been discussed for more than 20 years.