Naples skirts away from business dock

By Dawn De Busk

Staff Writer

NAPLES — Naples’ elected officials decided it was best to avoid the business of constructing a new dock for commercial use on the Causeway.

The Naples Board of Selectmen effectively put an end to that idea — at least for this year.

The board added “this year” to its motion because the board does have the right to pursue a commercial dock, according to Selectmen Rick Paraschak.

“Does the town have the ability to put in a commercial dock there? Yes, we do,” he said during a phone interview on Tuesday.

“We felt that we cannot do it for one business out of all the businesses in town,” he said.

“At this time, we don’t want to open that railing up — whether for SunSports+ or anyone,” he said.

The issue came up several months ago, when Selectman Christine Powers brought the request from SunSports+ to the board’s table.

Both Powers and Paraschak made phone calls to the state and other entities involved in the process of constructing a new dock on the Causeway between the town’s public dock and the one owned by Sandy’s Flight Deck. If the dock idea was pursued, the town would have to cut the existing hand railing.

“It was debated at a couple of meetings. If the town did that, we would have to apply for a permit for driving pilings,” Paraschak said.

Likely, such a project would require a permit from the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), considering it is in the Shoreland Zone. If the dock were constructed using pilings, it would be classified as a permanent structure. Also, if it were over 100-feet long, the construction of the dock would need to go before the Naples Planning Board.

“It was all doable. We, the town, could do it,” Paraschak said.

“We had some issues. How do we get a client to be the one who uses it solely?” he said.

Because it is a commercial dock and located in the state’s waterfront right-of-way, the town would be required to put it out to highest bidder, Paraschak said.

Following very little discussion on March 24, the board voted, 4–0, to deny the request of a commercial dock for this year.

Other board members said it was unfortunate that Powers was not present to vote on the matter.

Chairman Dana Watson introduced the agenda item that evening.

“I have never heard so many comments. It would just open a can of worms. There has never been a dock there; and there doesn’t need to be one,” Watson said.

Paraschak agreed.

“I don’t feel the need to put a commercial dock out there, whether we lease it out to one business or to the highest bidder. Don’t do it now,” he said.

Audience member Doug Bogdan commented on the topic.

He said another dock would “add one more thing on the water side. We should keep it as open as possible because that is why people come to the Causeway — for the view,” he said.

Although the business dock idea opened a can of worms, people might be more open to a public pier for fishing.

But, that concept is far in the future.

“It is a dream of (Town Manager) Derik (Goodine) and mine to put a pier out there. Make it a few 100-feet long, so kids and people could walk out there on the pier,” he said.

The pier would not be for anchoring boats since there are other public docks and private moorings for that. A pier would be where people could fish or just enjoy being around the water, he said.

“That would be a valuable asset for the Causeway area,” Paraschak said.

 

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