Growing dissent over private marina project is déja-vu for Rockland

By Stephen Betts | Feb 05, 2018
This is the proposed Yachting Solutions marina expansion in  Rockland Harbor.

Rockland — There is growing opposition to a long-term plan by Yachting Solutions to extend its private pier, bisecting a heavily used channel and forcing the relocation of 54 moorings.

The opposition to the plan is reminiscent of a grassroots movement that twice blossomed to stop a proposal by the Samoset Resort for construction of a lengthy private pier that would have run parallel to the Rockland Breakwater.

Yachting Solutions unveiled its plans to the Rockland Harbor Management Commission in November. A formal presentation is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 14, before the Rockland City Council.

The initial part of the project is a modest one to add floats and pilings alongside the property of Rockland Harbor Park LLC -- where DST (formerly Boston Financial) is located. If regulatory approval is received from the Rockland Planning Board, Maine Department of Environmental Protection and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, that work could begin in about a year.

The second phase of the proposal has no specific timetable, but would not begin until after 2020, according to engineer Michael Sabatini.

The project would provide 2,200 feet of new dockage at the facility, which will be dedicated solely to eligible transient vessels. Also included are the installation of 100-amp and 480V 3-phase power, in-slip fueling, and the conversion of an existing gazebo into a transient boaters' lounge.

Yachting Solutions received a federal grant of $1,046,760 for the project.

This second phase could result in the elimination of the southern channel in Rockland Harbor.

That possibility has been met with strong opposition from many boat owners who say they use that southern channel because it is less congested than the main federal channel.

And one common theme voiced by opponents is a concern that the project is favoring wealthy owners of large yachts over boat owners who are less well-off.

Similar criticisms were voiced when the Samoset Resort twice proposed building a pier running parallel on the inside of the Rockland Breakwater.

The first effort came in 2000, when the resort proposed an 850-foot pier about 200 feet inside the Breakwater to serve up to 40 boats.

The project immediately faced opposition from lobstermen, schooner captains and citizens. A group named "Save the Breakwater" formed to oppose the project.

The Rockland City Council voted 3-2 in March 2001 against a zone change needed for the marina to move forward. In May 2001, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection rejected a permit for the marina, saying it would be detrimental to the Breakwater, and determined that fuel and waste from boats would potentially impact the water quality and impact lobster fishing nearby.

In March 2006, the Samoset proposed a 775-foot pier adjacent to the Breakwater that would serve 45 residential units that the resort was planning to build.

The same groups rallied to oppose this version of the pier. In December 2006, 23 lobstermen signed a petition in opposition.

The Rockland City Council gave initial approval in March 2007 to a zone change to allow for the residences on the Rockland side of the Samoset property.

The pier project was sunk, however, when the DEP rejected a permit. One issue raised by the DEP was that the pier would interfere with the view of the Breakwater from Marie "Sis" Reed Park at the end of the Samoset Road and other shorefront locations in Rockland.

Comments (10)
Posted by: Christopher Allen | Feb 14, 2018 16:40

Have your say.  5:30 on Valentines Day at City Hall.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Feb 13, 2018 07:30

Hi there C A,


No idea how long have you been a resident of Rockland or just renting your mooring but . . .


All the existing laws and regulations have been used by council as their personal toilet paper for quite some time.


All has already been decided behind closed doors and the rest is pure Kabuki Theater.


Be ready to organize a People's Referendum. Just be aware that city hall will try to have a signed contract ASAP.

BTW, an upland owner in Maine may "own" the inter-tidal but it is Us The People that fully own from the low tide mark out to federal waters.


Posted by: Christopher Allen | Feb 11, 2018 17:56

Save Rockland Harbor!  Wednesday, Feb 14 at 5:30pm at City Hall Council Chambers. Yachting Solutions is presenting their Inner Harbor Master Plan to the City Council that would eliminate our existing mooring channel and displace local moorings to accommodate their docks and floats for MegaYachts.  Their plan will destroy our views of the harbor, bay and islands with a wooden breakwater to protect the yachts of their wealthy clients. Our mooring field and mooring channel boundaries are established by law in the Rockland Code, Chapter 9: Harbor and Waterfront, Article ll: Harbor and Waterfront Facilities and Management.  Our Code of harbor laws are upheld by Maine State Statutes - Title 38: Waters and Navigation.  Are Yachting Solutions LLC, Stuart Smith of Rockland Harbor Park LLC and their wealthy partners planning to persuade the City Council to revoke existing municipal law to accomplish their goals?  Will our City Manager, Harbormaster, Chair of the Harbor Management Commission and Community Development Director advise the City Council to stop this attempt to hijack our harbor on Wednesday night?  Will they dither?  Remain silent?  Or will they speak with one voice in support of wealth and privilege?  Do not be fooled - the YS expansion plan is not a 'concept'.  They received a $1M federal grant funded by our taxes last summer.  They are working on the required permits.  The first moorings to be displaced are scheduled to be removed by November.  They need to remove the existing mooring channel, which is not shown on their Master Plan (minor omission)  before they can execute their initial "modest" construction of docks and floats.  Yachting Solutions says they don't need Council's permission to rearrange our harbor.  Nonsense.  Our City Manager says Yachting Solutions is coming to Council with their Master Plan, "as a courtesy" to the City.  Rubbish.  They're coming for our harbor.

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Feb 08, 2018 06:55

To some this may be silly. To some it may hit home. To all the others it is worth reading. Life offers us many choices. too numerous to list here, but everyday we are faced with incidental and critical choices. In my estimation the human body, mind and spirit can only handle so many negatives and we spend enormous amounts of energy to "protect what we have" The issue of the harbor may only involve the movement of 54 moorings. If those 54 moorings were to be equated to humans that would be substantial for the metaphor I am about to offer. Over the years the moorings have been carefully, I assume, placed, maintained, served their purpose well, and have been relied upon to provide a value to life for many people while providing income to the City of Rockland inasmuch as they are designed to do all of the above. If, for a moment we consider these "anchors" to be the foundations for a person, each and every one. Disrupting 54 people and hundreds of "relatives" from what they have nurtured, fed, maintained, enjoyed together with little or no disruption and then a catastrophic situation comes up that those 54 people must change everything in their lives, no longer serve the same purpose, must be moved involuntarily, may not even exist afterwords, and certainly will create major compromises in every direction possible. Here come the tsunami full throttle, push by politicians, "giants lurking in the swells or the ocean". "private interests of the very fortunate", and of course the most likely to benefit in several directions. The tsunami is driven, specifically in the direction of least resistance, the 54 "little people", who do not have the financial means, the political connections, or the influence needed to take a stand. But, maybe they do by creating a "village" of support from their neighbors, friends, and those whose relationships are NOT based on MONEY, PROFITS, SELF SERVICE, EGOS, and all that stuff. Maybe leaving the foundation for this village in place is the best for the surroundings also. The disruption of moving "people" might just very well create a major unforeseen future litany of "backfires" as I predict the Mt. Demo will cause us taxpayers in the future. Nobody can predict what the future holds for our landfill that we so carelessly gave away to out of state interests while ignoring out own. This can do the same. We will regret the disruption of our "people" in this beautiful harbor so that some engineer, architect, investor and we must remember this is FREE GOVERNMENT MONEY being used to provide a few big shots with a larger playground with less access for the current owners being the people of Rockland. There is a reason the city council is moving so fast on this with so little respect from the taxpayers before feeding their agenda we are so familiar with. We need to respect history and those that have written it. This is not the time to hastily create an entire new village in one giant wave.

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Feb 05, 2018 18:46


Rockland ain't no Minnesota so no need to play it nice . . .


You have made the correct assessment of the situation and this behavior is common practice at city hall. All has already been discussed behind closed door between city hall the investor. All they have to do now is fake listening to The People


Our harbor has always been the Crown's Jewel for the 1% that are taking over our hometown. We already lost downtown . .

Posted by: Robert Spencer | Feb 05, 2018 14:01


Mr. Betts' December article says the Landmark engineers' Plan, labeled "Inner Harbor Master Plan" was done "...on behalf of the City of Rockland and  Yachting Solutions, "but paid for by Yachting Solutions.

Though noted as "Concept Only,"   it is dated NOvember, 2017. Was this plan part of the presentation made in 2017 to the City? At what point did the City discuss and agree to have an apparently private "Inner Harbor Master Plan" drawn up? And were these discussions open to the public?

And why are the news reports stating that the grants are all approved and work scheduled and this all in advance of public hearings? I hope I am reading this wrong.

And how far in the past was the federal grant applied for and approved and were there any hearings or public input during the Federal grant approval period? There weren't any that I can find reports of?

Perhaps this is just normal business practice.

These are just some questions in the interests of pubic input and transparency whose answers would be helpful.


Bob Spencer

Mooring holder, Rockland Harbor


It is also stated that the general proposal was presented to the city in November of

Posted by: Dale Hayward | Feb 05, 2018 13:07

George: say something that people can understand. What?

Posted by: George Terrien | Feb 05, 2018 10:13

Excellent article, Steve!  Thank you.  I feel encouraged that judgment can prevail over "minor adjustments" needed to serve the interests of the applicant, in my view at the cost of the community and our future.

Posted by: Lynne A Barnard | Feb 05, 2018 07:25

Thank you Stephen Betts for your detailed history of past attempts at establishing marinas to host ever larger privately owned yachts.  And thank you also for publishing the date of the first ever presentation to the PUBLIC and CITIZENS of Rockland by Yachting Solutions and Landmark Engineers of their expansion plans for the existing, privately owned, gated marina into our harbor.  This plan shows clearly the wave attenuating dock and dock extensions projecting into the south channel that is used by our smaller boats on a regular basis.  It is used by lobster and fishermen, day sailors, young children who are learning to sail and row, kayakers, dinghies and the launch that takes pleasure boaters to their moorings. It is because of this proposed configuration that the mooring field will have to be "rearranged" and the channel eliminated. The small boats will be thrown into the Federal channel.  This is a very dangerous scenario for both the small boats and for large vessels that use the Federal channel. The BIG (Boating Infrastructure Grant) is public money provided by the US government -- our tax dollars -- that is being used for this private project.  We all need to attend the meeting at City Hall at 5:30 on Wednesday, 14 February.  It's Valentine's Day.  Show your love of our harbor.

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 05, 2018 06:11

Grass roots opposition needs to have some organization to win this one. Save Rockland Harbor!


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