CAMDEN — Owners of waterfront property on Camden Harbor hope the town will approve their plans to build a new 71-foot pier, despite concerns raised by the Camden Yacht Club’s commodore about its proximity to sailing program floats and possible compromised safety.
Daniel and Joann Passeri own property at 84 Bay View Street and have submitted plans, drawn by Rockport engineering company Gartley and Dorsky, to construct the private pier. The project requires town approval, as well as permits from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.
The Camden Planning Board reviewed the design Nov. 7 at a regularly scheduled meeting and after hearing from Harbor Committee member Ben Ellison, the Planning Board decided to send the application back to the Harbor Committee for a more indepth review.
Ellison said the Harbor Committee had but reviewed two pier applications over the last 12 to 15 years and said, “We are good at giving advice, [but] not as good as reviewing applications.”
He said two members abstained from voting on the pier application.
Planning Board Acting Chairman Lowrie Sargent asked Camden Planner and Code Enforcement Officer Stephen Wilson if such a review would be considered valid, should the project application encounter legal issues.
“It would be an issue of they didn’t do a full review,” said Wilson. “They can go back and revisit it and not cause great delays. It might be a good time for the Harbor Committee to reconsider this.”
Gartley said he met with the Harbor Committee about the pier plan.
“We had a discussion and everybody had this [the plans],” he said. “It was a round-table discussion. I am willing to go back.”
The design consists of a 5-foot wide wooden pier built over a granite piling, plus a 12-foot by 20-foot float that will be accessed by a 3-foot by 36-foot aluminum ramp. The ramp and float are to be removed during winter.
At high tide, the float is to sit in an average depth of six feet; at low tide, three feet.
The pier will rest at land’s end on a concrete base and in the water on one granite piling structure. Stairs will lead down from the land to the pier.
The closest sailboat is 70 feet from the float, said Gartley, who said he reviewed the plans with Camden Harbor Master Steve Pixley.
“Because there is not a lot of water at low tide, they intend to keep skiffs here and bring the boat in at mid- to high tide to load and unload,” he said.
Penny Abbott, Commodore of the Camden Yacht Club, told the Planning Board that the club was concerned about the safety of sailors, especially younger sailors enrolled in summer programs.
“If the wind is out of the southeast, it is harder to access the floats,” she said. “The program is structured for morning and afternoon. We are concerned the pier is too close to where our floats are.”
In an email to Wilson, Abbott said the club was also concerning about the pier’s proximity to the moorings used by the youth sailing program.
The town has granted the yacht club its mooring and float space for the sailing programs.
Gartley said, “there is not a lot of flexibility, because of setbacks and water depth.”
Planning Board member Jan MacKinnon said the young sailors, “don’t really go any closer to shore.”
“Not on purpose,” said Abbott, a remark that sent the room into laughter.
Sargent said he wanted to hear from Pixley about the spatial arrangement, and whether the sailing program’s float could be moved.
Wilson agreed to attend the Harbor Committee’s Nov. 14 meeting to help with application review and procedure. The meeting takes place at the Washington Street Conference Room. The Planning Board will revisit the pier plan after the Harbor Committee’s review.
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