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Harbor Task Force
October 14, 2009
Present: Susan Murphy, Hingham Planning Board; John Riley, Selectmen, Ben Wilcox, HDIC; Alan Perrault Harbor Development Committee; Ken Corson, Harbormaster; Katy Lacy, Town Planner.
The Committee voted to approve the Minutes of October 7, 2009.
Discussion of Proposed Harbor Historic District
Alec MacMillan, Chairman, Historic Districts Commission, and Andrea Young, staff to the Commission, came before the group to discuss their plans to initiate the process of creating another Historic District that would include all of the properties along the Harbor side of Route 3A from 3 Otis Street t Martins Lane, as well as some properties on the south side of 3A from the Rotary to Summer Street. The new District would be called the Barnes Old Colony Hill Historic District. Mr. MacMillan pointed out that the portion of the Harbor extending from the Bathing Beach to the Iron Horse Park area is already included in an existing Historic District (Lincoln, Phase III). He went on to explain the purpose of Historic Districts, and the extent and level of control that they give the Town in terms of protecting its historic character and specific assets.
In terms of the process for creating the District, Mr. MacMillan pointed out that the money to do the necessary research to create the District had been voted at last year’s Town meeting. After the research is complete the Commission would hold several public meetings, and ultimately Town Meeting would vote to create the District or not.
Updates from Members
Mr. Amdur noted that he had spoken with Ms. Saint Clair about the possibility of hiring her to work with her Border Collie to scare away the Canada Geese, and she provided him with references and other information. In total, the fee for permanent removal would be $2,000-$3,000. Committee members, along with Ben Mathews in the audience concurred that this seemed like the best strategy available, and decided to consult with the Animal Control Officer for her input and any further information that she might have. The Task Force also brainstormed about how to raise the requisite funds in these tight economic times.
At this point the discussion moved towards a general discussion of how operations in the Harbor were funded, what the sources of funding were, and how the various funds could be spent. Ms. Murphy directed Ms. Lacy to gather additional information from the Town accountant and take this issue up again at the next meeting.
Discussion of RFP for Mooring Installation and Maintenance Services in Inner Harbor
Ken Corson provided a detailed overview of the various options for providing mooring installation and maintenance services for Hingham Harbor, as well as an analysis of the pros and cons for each option. In summary, the impetus behind the desire to change the status quo, in which one or more Mooring Services compete freely to serve the individual mooring permit holders, was 1) to generate additional revenue from the Town’s harbor asset, and 2) address some of the existing rivalry and bad behavior among existing mooring service operators. The options presented ranged from maintaining the status quo, to having the Town own all of the mooring gear and issue an RFP to select a single Mooring Service provider that would work directly for the Town. Other ideas were charge some sort of fee to the Service providers, in light of the fact that their business is dependent on the Town’s Harbor asset.
Participants at the meeting expressed concern about limiting competition among service providers, which currently results in a significantly lower price for the individual mooring permit holders. On the flip side, there was agreement that the current system was not sufficiently regulated. Ken Corson explained that he was currently working on extensive new regulations for the Harbor that would address, among other things, the performance and requirements for mooring service providers.
Ms. Murphy recommended that this discussion move next to the Selectmen, in order to get a clear mandate before proceeding any further into the investigation of changes to the current Mooring Service system.
The next meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, October 28 at 7:00 PM