Rockland Council responds to marina expansion plan

By Stephen Betts | Feb 07, 2019
Photo by: Stephen Betts Yachting Solutions makes a presentation Monday, Feb. 4, to the Rockland City Council.

Rockland — City councilors had mixed reactions Monday night, Feb. 4, to the controversial expansion plan for a marina in Rockland harbor.

Yachting Solutions unveiled the plan in December to the Harbor Management Commission and to a citizen group that has raised concerns about the project. The Feb. 4 meeting was the first time a formal presentation of the revised proposal had been made to the council.

City Councilor Ed Glaser questioned how the project improved public access to the harbor. He said the project would fare better if it allowed public access, saying that is what is done in Nantucket, Mass.

Yachting Solutions Chief Executive Officer Bill Morong said he was considering limited public access, including to a small pier and perhaps by a viewing area next to Archer's on the Pier restaurant.

But he said Rockland was not Nantucket and that the company has had some bad experiences with thefts at the current site, including at the gazebo.

City Councilor Valli Geiger thanked Morong for working with the city and citizens during the past year to revise his project.

The biggest improvement, Geiger said, was scaling back the proposed wave attenuators designed to reduce wave action in the inner harbor. The original marina expansion plan had extended the attenuators further out in the harbor.

That proposal had been criticized by citizens who said it would reduce the view corridor from Harbor Park and the boardwalk.

"I believe in a working waterfront, and I consider this part of a working waterfront," Geiger said of the revised plan.

The revised plan also reduces the length of a pier so it no longer cuts through the south channel in the harbor.

The possible loss of the south channel was heavily criticized at public meetings held in early 2018. Boaters said the south channel is less congested and is used frequently by people with smaller boats.

The project has been redesigned to have the additional floats concentrated in the southern part of the harbor, which Yachting Solutions has said will protect the view corridor from Harbor Park

Christos Calivas, a spokesman for the citizen group Sensible Harbor Infrastructure Plan, said he hoped the city would have additional meetings so there can be public comment and a true discussion.

In December, he said there were still concerns about the impact on that channel and the view corridor from Harbor Park and the Boardwalk.

Calivas said the city also should better designate the location of the south channel and make sure there is a buffer zone for it.

Glaser raised the issue of a buffer for the south channel during the Feb. 4 meeting.

Calivas had pointed out in December that a fueling station will be located on the marina dock that will abut the southern channel. He said that a large yacht could be 20 to 25 feet wide and take up the channel while it is being fueled, a process that could take hours.

Permits will be required from the Army Corps of Engineers, the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Bureau of Parks and Lands, which issues submerged land leases.

Morong said soil testing is being done now for future dredging, and that he hoped the permitting process could be completed in about a year and then the construction would occur within three years.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Feb 07, 2019 15:20

Large ships could stop in Searsport to fill up with fuel and bypass Rockland altogether. Solves all the problems. This is what they used to do but then the good old days are not considered, perhaps. Bypass Rockland and Camden with the refuel in Searsport. Problem solved!

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Feb 07, 2019 09:16

KUDOS TO ALL INVOLVED. We are moving forward; just like the new housing guidelines. City councilors are doing a great job of working together; with concerned citizens.  I grew up when  "the good old boys" kept any forward thinking at bay. Refreshing to see that changed from acrimony to teamwork and mutual respect.  It is precious  and not taken for granted by someone who has lived in the same home for over fifty years and seen the other side.

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