Harbors Committee to re-hold public hearing on Thompson's Wharf expansion

Channel width in question
By Dan West | Mar 06, 2014

Belfast — The Belfast Harbor Advisory Committee will hold a second public hearing on the Thompson's Wharf expansion application after discussing the matter at a work session.

After the first public hearing Feb. 19, the committee voted that the city of Belfast's application to expand the wharf did not meet the city's ordinances because it interfered with navigation through the adjacent channel.

In the wake of that decision the committee decided to hold a work session March 3, at which Harbormaster Katherine Pickering and William Gartley, of Gartley and Dorsky Engineering, could attend as they were not at the Feb. 19 meeting.

Gartley told the committee at its work session that the width of the channel in front of Thompson's Wharf was actually wider than had previously been shown on the engineering plans for the wharf expansion. The old charts showed a channel of around 65 feet, whereas the committee felt it should be no less than 75 feet. Gartley explained that based on GPS markers in the city's ordinances he determined the channel was actually 85 feet and would be reduced to 75 feet after the wharf expansion.

"What is important is you have room there for everything you want," Gartley said.

Committee member Dave Black said he still thought the expansion would cause a bottleneck in the channel immediately in front of Thompson's Wharf. He also questioned the measurement of the existing channel at 85 feet. Black said the channel began 50 feet from the corner of the existing Thompson's Wharf. Measuring from that spot showed the new dock encroaching on the south side of the channel.

"So there is a discrepancy in how you measure this thing," Black said. "That's the bottom line."

While several members of the committee continued to express concerns over the expansion, it will reconsider its finding that the application does not meet the city's ordinances at its March 19 meeting. Following that meeting the application will go to the Planning Board on March 26.

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