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- The Forecaster
YARMOUTH — The Planning Board approved a plan to replace the harbormaster’s office at town landing with a new building that is three times larger.
The $250,000 structure will also include a workshop, meeting room and employee washroom.
Construction will begin this fall. The building is expected to be ready for occupancy by the end of April 2020, according to materials provided to the board at its March 27 meeting.
Town Engineer Steve Johnson said the 360-square-foot harbormaster’s office has reached the end of its useful life. “It’s fairly old and really requires replacement,” he said last week.
Johnson said the new office would be energy efficient, “tastefully designed” and provide a higher quality working environment for the harbormaster and other town landing staff.
He said the project is a key piece of the master plan for the harbor created in 2012, and the town’s Harbor and Waterfront Advisory Committee has been working on providing new quarters for the harbormaster “for a long time.”
Johnson said the goal of the project is to reorient the harbormaster’s office to “maximize the view of the harbor and the mooring field.”
The Planning Board unanimously approved the site plan for the new office, with Chairman Tom Federle calling it a “thoughtful and excellent project.”
The new structure will be 960 square feet and be served by a domestic well and a sewer holding tank that’s sized for anticipated use, Johnson said in the site plan application.
There are 44 parking spaces at town landing and no new parking spots are anticipated with this project, Johnson said.
The Town Council first approved replacing the office last August, and appropriated the required construction funds.
Town Manager Nat Tupper said this week that the cost to build the new office will be covered with tax increment financing and grant funds, so there would be no impact to the tax rate.
In addition, he said the town hopes to complete the project for less than the anticipated cost.
“Age, deterioration, size, and design all make the current (harbormaster’s) shack inadequate,” Tupper said. But the new quarters are also important because “the harbor and navigation of the Royal River (act) as a gateway and central feature of the economic prosperity of Yarmouth.”
While it’s been more than a decade since the town updated its economic analysis of the harbor, Tupper said at that time it was determined to have an annual impact of about $25 million.
The harbormaster’s office at town landing in Yarmouth has reached the end of its useful life; the town plans to replace the building with a structure three times the size.