By Sophie Hinds | Community News Service
COLCHESTER — A plan to increase the number of boat slips at a Mallets Bay marina was hit with environmental concerns at a recent Colchester Development Review Board (DRB) meeting.
The board met Feb. 10 to discuss several development plans, and to host a public hearing on the expansion of The Moorings Marina on West Lakeshore Dr.
Paul O’Leary, the applicant on behalf of the owner Rick Bove, said he wants to increase the number of moorings, as well as increase the number of slips from 114 to 166. He also wants to build storage space on five parcels to store boat trailers, boat cradles and occasionally small boats.
He anticipates an increase in car traffic, but describes it as “relatively low impact.” Zafir Bludviech, a member of the board, disagreed.
“I noted in one of the letters on the staff notes traffic study, I guess the study that you based some of the statistics on was from 1995,” Bludviech said. “I know you came up with some numbers in terms of it only going to have this amount of increase in traffic. Is that true that you based the numbers off the ‘95 study?”
O’Leary said the numbers came from the ITE (Institute of Transportation Engineers) manual to predict the increase of traffic, and that it was considered to be the standard generic model. Bludviech said there have been many changes since 1995, such as an increase in cyclists and boat usage.
Neighbors to the marina, Lisa Halvorsen and David Bouchard, wrote a letter to the DRB that was read at the meeting: “…we naturally are concerned about how the proposed addition of 52 slips may environmentally impact the already congested Malletts Bay.”
During public hearing, Halvorsen said during her biggest concern is the wetland area between her property and where the boat storage would be.
A draft plan for the expansion of slips at The Moorings Marina from 114 to 166.
“I am still concerned about the impact from boat cradles and boats and all that on the land itself, the compaction of land, possible drainage problems; I would like someone to address why we aren’t talking about why wetland areas aren’t that important,” Halvorsen said.
O’Leary responded to this comment saying that there are multiple class three wetlands around the property, as well as one class two. The proposed storage area is not within 50 feet of any of the delineated wetlands.
Halvorsen voiced another concern about the width of the driveway for the boat storage building.
“I was under the understanding that it has to be about 20 feet wide minimum for fire engines or other emergency vehicles to access an area,” Halvorsen said. “Is that permitted, that you can just have a narrower driveway in case there is an accident or problem in the boat storage area?”
O’Leary explained that the marina plans to use the existing driveway of nearby residents to access the new outdoor boat storage area until a permanent access road can be created. Only marina employees can be granted this access, meaning that the public cannot store their boats there.
A motion was made by Evan Fitzgerald and seconded by Angela MacDonald to approve the site plan application and conditional use applications for The Moorings Marina, with conditions.
The motion passed with a vote of 4–0. DRB member Bert Severin was absent from the meeting.
The Community News Service is part of the Reporting and Documentary Storytelling Program at the University of Vermont.