News Feature

Originally published in Castine Patriot, April 6, 2017
Proposed changes to waterfront ordinance aired at hearing

Waterfront moorings in Castine

Moorings in the harbor in Castine were discussion items during a public hearing on April 4 regarding amendments to the town’s Waterfront Ordinance. As summer approaches, Castine harbor will soon see many boats attached to moorings like these.

Photo by Monique Labbe Order prints of selected PBP photos.

by Monique Labbe

Residents and selectmen discussed the Castine Waterfront Ordinance during a public hearing on April 3 to review proposed changes to the ordinance prior to a vote at town meeting in May.

Many of the changes to the ordinance were housekeeping items, according to Town Manager Jimmy Goodson. One of the bigger changes, however, involved the distinction of whom a mooring in the harbor can be transferred to by an owner. Prior to any changes, the ordinance read that no transfer of a mooring site permit or an assigned mooring site would be granted. The proposed change reads that a transfer could occur for immediate family members only.

Selectman Gus Basile noted that if that amendment were to be allowed, a mooring could be handed down through generations to people who were not even residents of the town.

“We have some prime locations for moorings,” said Basile regarding waterfront properties. “If the person passes away and leaves the mooring and boat to his son but someone else has the property, then that’s taking away from that person who owns the property.”

After some discussion, it was decided to strike the amendment so that the ordinance would maintain its original context, that no exceptions be made for transfers.

Another notable change to the ordinance was an explanation of who would receive preference on a wait list. According to the ordinance, non-residents, meaning people who do not reside in Castine for longer than 180 days, would have preference on a waiting list until non-residents make up at least 10 percent of mooring site permit holders, as pursuant to Maine statute. Harbor Master Scott Vogell noted that there are currently 200 moorings in the harbor and that there is not a wait list at this time.

The amended ordinance is one of 35 municipal articles on the warrant for the May 13 town meeting.