Yachting Solutions? Or Problems?

By Ronald Huber | Feb 12, 2018
Source: City of Rockland Rockland Inner Harbor. Red = additions proposed by Yachting Solutions. Thick red lines = wave & view blockers.

By Ronald Huber

All Rockland is a’roar over Yachting Solutions LLC’s well-intentioned, but overambitious initiative to expand its presence in the city’s inner harbor.

The plan’s gradual unveiling during recent Harbor Management Commission and City Council meetings will culminate at City Council chambers on February 14th at 5:30 pm with public comments and a full bore presentation by Yachting Solution LLC and its consultant Mike Sabatini, followed by a question & answer session. (This schedule according to City Councilor/Mayor Valli Geiger.)

The city council chambers promise to resound with the ire of a cross section of harbor users adamantly opposed to their displacement and to the degradation of the harbor as a whole.

Who benefits? Who loses? Numerous opinions have arisen, of which these stand out:

State of Maine? Submerged lands lease payments, corporate income taxes.

Federal Government? Taxes on fuel sales (Mega yachts are thirsty beasts!)

City of Rockland? Gains nothing. Loses much

Public? Nope. Let’s count the ways: 1. Reduced access between inner harbor and bay. 2. The public’s scenic vista out to the Fox Islands would be significantly reduced. 3. The annual Parade of Sail would lose its access into the inner harbor via the South Channel, providing spectators with stunning, close-up views of Maine’s fleet. 4. Amount of public fishing bottom historically open in winter, would be reduced, both directly and by the reshuffling of moorings. 5.Rockland’s South Channel would be turned into mooring sites, and closed to the windjammer's Parade of Sail and many small boat users, and , 6. Inner harbor entry and exit routes would be limited to the federal channel, which would force paddle, sail and power small pleasure craft to thread their way in and out of the inner harbor  amongst ferries, Coasties, fishing boats, cruise ships and other commercial vessel traffic.

What does Yachting Solutions get? Revenue from slips, from servicing megayachts and prestige in mega-yacht circles, thanks for federal tax dollars that will pay for 2,200 feet of new dockage at the facility, solely for eligible transient vessels,100-amp and 480V 3-phase power, in-slip fueling, and conversion of the existing gazebo into a private transient boaters’ lounge. YS is doing just fine.

What’s to be done? Number one Task: Ensure that South Channel aka the mooring channel remain open as an officially recognized municipal navigation channel. This is a matter of public safety and public convenience. An historic route must not be closed off. Extinguished. But it well could as plans proceed.

Keeping the South Channel  open: Maine state law MRSA 38 §2. Rules for channel lines; enforcement lays it out in one paragraph:

The municipal officers of all maritime towns and plantations, other bodies empowered to regulate municipal harbors and the county commissioners in the case of maritime unorganized townships may make rules and regulations, with suitable provision for enforcement, to keep open convenient channels for the passage of vessels in the harbors and waterways of the towns or townships for which they act, and may establish the boundary lines of those channels and assign suitable portions of their harbors and other coastal and tidal waters within their jurisdiction for anchorages.

Rockland, like all Maine coastal towns, can designate - or un-designate  harbor channels. Such decisions must be made with the consent of the Rockland City Council in consultation with the People

Yachting Solutions can be a good harbor citizen while still enjoying rising revenue by deepsixing at least half of its plan and focusing on the rest. Forget the wave attenuators/megayacht piers and other piers that would reach across the inner harbor, choking South Channel and blocking irreplaceable scenic bay views out to the Fox Islands from the public landing.

Closing the scenic commons would place Rockland be on the wrong side of, among other things, Maine’s scenic laws, which, refined by years of litigation,  make such a viewshed degrader as the Yachting Solutions proposal legally untenable, as Samoset learned to its chagrin some years ago. Any wave attenuators should be well out in the harbor and of a scale that benefits all the harbor, not only one privatized corner.

If Yachting Solutions grows within its footprint – and a smidgeon beyond – and supports keeping South Channel open, then doubtless it will earn the respect and trust of all Rocklanders. YS can pursue its growth goals without stamping on the goals of others, including those of us whose goal is simply to take in the bay in its scenic majesty from the shore and on board, whether with family, friends or solo.

A little give and take will go a long way, Yachting Solutions!

- by Ron Huber, Friends of Penobscot Bay

-Reprinted from "The Buzz"

Comments (10)
Posted by: Christopher Allen | Feb 14, 2018 16:20

Love Rockland Harbor 5:30 TODAY at City Hall.

Posted by: Kendall Merriam | Feb 14, 2018 14:27

Ron Huber should run for city council. He has waterfront expertise that is sorely lacking on the current council.

Posted by: Christopher Allen | Feb 14, 2018 14:15

Mr. Huber attended and recorded both of Yachting Solutions presentations to the Harbor Management Commission on November 20 and Dec 12. Mr. Huber also attended the Jan 30 meeting for mooring owners presented by City engineer Michael Sabatini and Harbormaster Matt Ripley.  The claim that Mr.Huber is "extremely misinformed" is extremely false.

Posted by: christopher lawton | Feb 14, 2018 08:44

Unfortunately you are extremely misinformed!  Please come to the presentation this evening, we look forward to helping you understand why the concept is presented the way it is, who has been involved in the concept development and why.  See you there!
Chris Lawton, Partner and CCO Yachting Solutions

Posted by: Heidi Ruth Locke | Feb 14, 2018 07:29

Sounds like a Stinky Solution to me!  How yachting solutions, an individual company, has the right over the common good, which would be the majority of the people, is nothing but greed! We don’t need more transient people  that only want to buy trinkets in the gift shops in town, or hop on a bus and go elsewhere, to spend this money. We need permanent residents, that would like to invest their time and energy in the infastructure of our towns. To work and play in our schools, restaurants, in our businesses, and our art galleries and art museums.  Who would their right mind would not want to see the wind jammers cruising up and down our Harbor on the southdhore? That is a part of our collective heritage, whether we can afford to sail on the boat or not, we can always see it from the shore, which apparently will not be happening if they destroy the harbor. Why are we catering to big money? Deals behind a closed door, before publishing anything to the public about Yachting Solutions grand plan!  Sounds diabolical to me. Wake up Rockland get involved, before it’s too late and your beautiful harbor is gone. Of course they would Have this meeting at 5:30, on Valentine’s Day no less! Those are the people working for us right, and City Hall? I think not!


Posted by: Jonathan Trumble | Feb 14, 2018 06:54

Being 16 years and a million miles away from my time as harbor master, I childishly wonder why the development isn't looking at the southside, towards the silos? As they have wave attenuators in their planning these could be used to the benefit of Dragon and a commercial marina for larger vessels. AND might finally find a use for the towers! And, in my time, no one wanted their private mooring so far from dinghy access. YS can provide all that and more in the south end where commercial entities are already in place. Naive I know. Managing road traffic through the neighborhood? A challenge. Just a thought.

Posted by: Sandra Schramm | Feb 13, 2018 17:29

Thank you Ron Huber for getting information this out. It is imperative that Rockland residents and mooring owners attend this meeting and also correspond in the local newspapers with letters. Your word needs to get out. If you send letters to City Hall make sure to send them to Stuart Sylvester, City Clerk so that he includes them in all packets to Council. If you want your letter read at the meetings that might ensue from tomorrow night, state that in the letter.  Rockland needs to think this one over long and hard!  That the City of Rockland participated long before the residents got any insight into this plan is just wrong. After the City Council meeting of February 12, 2018 it is quite apparent that we have a very novice council.

Posted by: Christopher Allen | Feb 13, 2018 17:20

Thank you Mr. Huber.

Posted by: Ron Hawkes | Feb 13, 2018 13:21

Nice presentation Ron Huber. If this was to pass it does not sound good for Rockland, local boaters or anyone that enjoys the harbor! Thanks for the information.


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Feb 13, 2018 08:48

Yachting solutions gets the goldmine Rockland residents get the shaft

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