By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard set parking rates at Hoppy’s Landing, firmed up regulations for the new slips at Union Wharf, finalized the mandate for the Marine Resources Committee, and voted to place an article on the Special Town Meeting warrant that would allow Emma Jean’s to separate its liquor license from the bakery, at its meeting on Monday, 10/1. Selectboard Vice Chair Charles K. Murphy, Sr. chaired the meeting because chairperson Daniel Freitas was absent.
The board also reviewed articles for the STM, but did not take any votes. The STM is set for 11/13.
The issue of parking at Hoppy’s Landing struck all the familiar chords, with Town Administrator Mark Rees and Harbormaster Timothy Cox recommending that all vehicles, including cars with no trailers pay the same fee: $50 for an annual sticker, or $7 per day of use. “Day of use” was defined as 4 a.m. to 5 p.m., with no charge for vehicles after 5 p.m.
That would have allowed people to park at Hoppy’s Landing for free if they were going to the bar/restaurant across the street at West Island Marina, a sticking point with many members of the public and the Marine Resources Committee.
Frank Coelho, chairperson of the MRC, told the board that he had no problem with free parking, but that it should be free for everyone. He questioned why it would be free only at night.
He noted that the Board of Public Works just blocked off five parking spaces on Causeway Road, causing people to park on the side streets on West Island. If parking is free at Hoppy’s, he said, they could direct people there, and that would help people on West Island. He also took issue with the rocks that were placed to block the parking spots on Causeway Road.
“There’s good looking rocks and ugly rocks,” said Mr. Coelho. “We got the ugly rocks.”
He said it was not fair to the people who lived there and had to look at them, especially for the owners of a house that was just built.
He asked the board to “re-think” the hours and just make it free for everyone.
“I think it’s a great idea,” said Mr. Cox, as long as people park in the proper places. Some spots are designated for vehicles with boat trailers, and some are for cars only.
Mr. Cox also noted that the new parking machine has been installed. People can now use credit and debit cards to pay for parking at Hoppy’s Landing.
Other fees include $30/year for dinghies used to get to and from moorings and stored on-site at Hoppy’s Landing.
A small number of fishing storage areas are also available for licensing at Hoppy’s Landing, at $250/per year for a 20×40 foot area.
The board voted to adopt the amended rules.
In another waterfront matter, the board adopted regulations for the new area of Union Wharf near the new Public Safety Marina, which added two slips on the north side for boats up to 60 feet long.
Mr. Rees said the new regulations call for a lottery system to be used to choose who would get the coveted spots, then a waiting list would be started and people could get the spots depending on their order on the list.
The new regulations allow for “Fishing boats, charter boats, tug boats, cargo boats and other boat[s] used for commercial or educational purposes,” to be placed in the slips. Each boat will have a designated slip, and not have to rotate.
Mr. Coelho said the MRC wanted to remove “educational” from the list.
A controversy erupted when the Northeast Maritime Institute was allowed to tie up Navigator in one of the new spots. In previous meetings, members of the MRC and the public have tried to get the board to agree to make the new spots available to fishing boats.
Mr. Coelho also asked that the board set the fee at $4500 per year for each of the new slips. The Lobster Basin boats pay $1500 per year. Mr. Coelho said that the higher fee was necessary because, he said, the dock was not going to be sturdy enough for the boats that would be tied up there. He said the extra money should be put aside for repairs that, he felt, would be necessary in just a few years.
Mr. Cox said the new slips do not have electricity yet, so he felt that $4500 was too high. He recommended $1500, the same as the lobster basin, and noted that they could always go up when they rebuild the north side of Union Wharf.
Selectboard member Bob Espindola noted that the boats that go on the north side will not necessarily be 60 feet long. That is a maximum size. Mr. Cox said there were three lobster boats on the waiting list, so they were definitely smaller than 60 feet.
Mr. Cox explained the rationale behind including educational boats in the mix: Because the town has one of the only maritime schools in the area. He noted that the school might not even get a spot, because it will be by lottery.
Mr. Espindola agreed, saying that the school is expanding. Residents can see students walking around the center, and “spending a lot of money in our community.”
He said he did not want to exclude them.
Mr. Espindola also noted that SRPEDD (Southeast Regional Planning and Economic Development District) is promoting a “marine corridor” from Cape Cod to Rhode Island, which will have large economic implications for the region.
“I, personally, would not want to eliminate educational opportunities,” he said for NMI or “anyone else.”
Mr. Cox emphasized that the school was teaching marine courses.
The board voted to keep the educational boats on the list, set the rate at $1500 per year, and agreed to pick the first occupants by lottery.
The board also adopted language setting the “charge” for the Marine Resources Committee.
Mr. Rees said he made only minor changes.
The key change was setting the number of members on the committee because, somehow, that information got lost when the MRC was created.
The board agreed to make the committee seven members, five at large, one Selectboard representative and one Board of Public Works representative. All seven members will have a vote.
The new charge does remove the word “maintain” so that the board only makes recommendations about maintenance to the town’s marine related properties.
Some controversy arose in the past with the MRC being accused of trying to assign work to the Harbormaster, a charge Mr. Coelho disputes.
The MRC is an advisory board only that makes recommendations to the Selectboard.
In other business, the board also approved the appointment of Kristian D. White as the new Building Commissioner/Zoning Enforcement Officer. Town Administrator Mark Rees hired Mr. White, which is subject to approval by the Selectboard.
Mr. Rees told the board that he chose Mr. White over the other candidates because of his “people skills.”
Mr. White told the board that he looked forward to spearheading the effort to get the building permit application process online, and that the flood plain issue that Fairhaven faces was new to him and something he wanted to learn about.
He is currently Deputy Building Commissioner/Zoning Enforcement Officer (ZEO) for the town of Walpole; and was Deputy Building Inspector/ ZEO for Walpole before that. He should be able to start in Fairhaven in by the end of the month.
The board also agreed to place on the Special Town Meeting warrant an article that would allow the Total Confections, LLC Package Store/All Alcohol License (at Emma Jean’s) to be separated from the bakery/ice cream shop. When it was granted six years ago, it was not transferrable from that location.
Town Meeting will have to approve the change and it will also have to be approved by the state legislature.
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