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February 14, 2018

Rockland residents petition against harbor redesign

A Rockland citizens group called Sensible Harbor Infrastructure Plan is petitioning the City of Rockland and state and federal agencies to oppose a plan by Rockport boatyard and marina services provider Yachting Solutions to redesign private ocean space.

The PenBay Pilot reported the proposed redesign includes adding a wooden breakwater, public and private piers and slots for vessels, allowing slips for small cruise ships, and moving several current moorings.

"Yachting Solutions and its investors are ready to make a significant investment to expand their facility and improve infrastructure to cater to visiting transient vessels," Harbor Management Commission Chairwoman Louise MacLellan-Ruf wrote in a memo to the Rockland City Council. "In addition to 'standard' docks, the facility will provide 'purpose‐designed docks and infrastructure to properly accommodate mega-yachts.'"

HMC wrote up points for the council to consider on the project, including the project's impact on the harbor view and an existing channel, potential improvements to related landscaping, and an HMC recommendation that taxpayers not incur any costs associated with the project.

The petitioners cited marine safety due to additional boat traffic, compromised fishing, dislocated boat owners and potential environmental problems as some of the reasons for opposing the project.

The plan was put forward by Stuart Smith, owner of the former MBNA property on Water Street, and Bill Morong Sr. and Bill Morong Jr. of Yachting Solutions, which leases space from Smith. "The businessmen have the water rights in front of Boston Financial under submerged land lease," City Manager Tom Luttrell told the Pilot in January.

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