Dec 12, 2017

Rockland Harbor Commission considers plans to realign, privatize portions of its inner harbor. AUDIO MP3s

Listen below to the city's December 12, 2017 meeting of its Harbor Commission.

Topics: Landmark Corp's presentation on (1) planned finger pier in-filling of  part of`city's Inner Harbor by Yachting Solutions (2)  Reshaping city mooring field. (3) Installing a lengthy wooden wave attenuators -serious scenic public view blockers?

Introduction of meeting attendees 2min12 sec 
Attendees List  at  end of recordings below. 

Full 57 minutes  of part 2

1. HMC members: Louise Maclellan Ruf,(chair) Melissa Maker, Matthew Ondra, Richard Whitman, David A. Leon. Tom Peaco HMC alternate,(also head of Pen Bay Chamber of Commerce).

Harbormaster Matt Ripley,   
Assistant Harbormaster Mark Tibbetts. 
Lisa Westkaemper Rockland City Council.  
City manager Tom Luttrell.   

Phil Morong, Yachting Solutions
Chris Laughton, Yachting Solutions; 
Mark Sabatini, Landmark Corporation; 

Ron Huber, WRFR community radio; 
Steve Betts, Courier Gazette, 
Dave Getchell of Maine Boats & Harbors, 

Ken Pride, Rockland Yacht Club launch pilot ,  
Lynne Barnard, resident of Main Street  
Chris Johnson  & Don Johnson residents of the South end.
David & Ellie Wiley,

Who owns Rockland Harbor? 
You and I. Us.  The state of Mainethrough its Bureau of Parks and Lands owns and administers all the submerged lands of Rockland Harbor (and all of Maine's state waters) on behalf of the people. 

 The Submerged Land Rules' Preamble makes that clear.
"The State of Maine holds Submerged Lands, as defined herein, in trust for the benefit, rights and use of the general public." ..."Because exclusive, private uses of Submerged Lands restrict the public's ability to exercise their rights to use and enjoy these lands, the issuance of any conveyance requires careful consideration of the impacts of such conveyances on public trust rights as well as a just and fair compensation to the public for the private use of Submerged Lands." 

* Revenue for Rockland?
What does Rockland get for allowing  exclusive use by Yachting Solutions of this part of Rockland's inner harbor?  Nothing.  The state  gets revenue from  leasing harbor floors  for slips (and for aquaculture.)   See the  Maine Submerged Lands Rules in Section 1.8 "Fees",  which state that

"The annual rental fee for slip space that is rented or otherwise made available for private use for a fee is based upon a percentage of the gross income of the Lessee."  
[Gross income of the lessee's slip rentals public or private. Detailed below]

These rules also require owners of such a development project  to  "Provide significant public benefits to the People of Maine, to offset the loss of Submerged Lands occupied by the structure,...." But the definition of "significant public benefits" is an eye-of-the-beholder term to local, state and federal permit reviewers. What's significant to one permit reviewer or decisionmaker may be of little consequence to another.

* Loss of moorings for local boaters.  Yachting Solutions' Bill Morong  said at the November HMC meeting that remaining moorings can be rearranged.

How practical is mooring field rearrangement in  a small harbor like Rockland's?  There's a lively lobster fishery, increasing recreational fisheries, . a coast guard base, windjammer fleets ferry terminal and 

Right, rearranged further from the Public Landing, perhaps in Owls Head, which would mean the little revenue from those moorings would be  lost. The interests of Rockland residents are of no interest to YS, the City, the State of the US National Park Service

"Gross income means one of two things:
1. "The total annual income received by a lessee from seasonal or transient rental to the general public of slip space over submerged land." 

2. For "...facilities with slip space that is not rented or leased to the general public"...."by calculating a regional average slip space rental fee and applying that to the portion of total linear length of slip space made available to private users for any portion of that year

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