n-falharbor-012909 New Falmouth mooring layout to be presented

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FALMOUTH —The Harbor Committee is calling on all mooring holders to attend a special meeting next week where
committee members will present recommendations for the future of the Town Landing anchorage and plans to reposition the moorings on a georgraphic information system grid.
According to Chairman Steve Archambault, the long-range plan would guide harbor maintenance and improvements out as far as 2017. It has been presented to the Town Council, which will take another look at it for possible endorsement at its Feb. 23 meeting, he said.
“If the plan goes through, the major change is repositioning the boats in the anchorage for safety and management purposes,” Archambault said. “It’s the first language the town has ever had to look at in-depth management of the area – both future management and to manage growth of the anchorage in a safe manner.”
Although the town would not begin implementing changes until the end of the 2011 season, the committee wants to give mooring holders enough time to learn about the plans and to offer input, he said.
“We don’t want to ramrod this down people’s throats,” he said. “If it’s done right the first time, the town should never have to do this again; we want to minimize personal impact.”
The mooring problem first came up about four or five seasons ago, Archambault said, when an insurance investigation determined a sailboat was moored outside of the Coast Guard’s definition of the anchorage. A closer look revealed more than 100 boats were moored outside that line.
Though the Coast Guard moved the line farther away from the shore, encompassing all but six or seven boats, the committee, supported by recommendations of a commissioned report, believes the town must establish a GIS grid system to ensure all boats are properly and safely secured within the parameters. By planning ahead, the committee hopes to give boat owners a say in where they might like their boats placed. The grid system will also be useful in determining any expansion capabilities.
Initially, it was recommended to relocate the boats by size, with the largest moored the farthest distance from shore, Archambault said. But one mooring company suggested it might be easier to reconfigure the space section by section, he said.
While Archambault said he realizes they are “not going to make everybody happy,” he added that more of the people he’s talked to have been supportive than not.
“Some people have some objections to portions of it, some say it’s long overdue,” he said. “If somebody is upset about something they can come in and address that with the committee.”
The special meeting will be the first of several to be held at least once a year, Archambault said. It is scheduled for 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 2, in Council Chambers at Town Hall. For those who are unable to attend, it will be televised on Falmouth public access television.

Peggy Roberts can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or proberts@theforecaster.net.