At this week’s May 2, 2012 meeting of the Boston Conservation Commission, it was announced that the Department of Environmental Protection will be scheduling a Chapter 91 / Harborwalk meeting between the stakeholders at the Commercial Wharf complex, a mixed use property located off Atlantic Ave. in the North End. Key stakeholders involved in a long-standing dispute include Boston Boat Basin, LLC, operator of Yacht Haven Marina, and the condominium association at Commercial Wharf.
Commissioner Stephen Kunian noted that the Commercial Wharf Harborwalk situation “has been among the most contentious issues before at the Commission in a number of years.” Most recently, ConComm has been considering approval for dock and piling work at Yacht Haven, pending action by the State’s DEP on the Chapter 91 and Harborwalk issues.
ConComm performed a site visit on March 30, 2012 to the Commercial Wharf site to better understand Yacht Haven’s request and the overall Harborwalk issue. In dispute is whether property owned by the condo association or Yacht Haven should be used for a planned 8 foot wide Harborwalk.
Vivien Li, ConComm Commissioner and TBHA President, put the near decade-long argument in perspective. “My Dad lived to 89 years old. I hope I don’t have to live as long to see a Harborwalk at Commercial Wharf.” Separately, Commissioner Li questioned a newly installed fence around a dumpster and transformer area at Yacht Haven and whether it would be blocking sight lines to the Harbor. She also recognized the marina operator for re-installing binoculars at the location.
The Commission asked Yacht Haven representatives about the marina’s compliance with a Zoning Board of Appeals decision related to a 120 foot boat size limit. Chuck Lagasse of Boston Boat Basin LLC and consultant Jamie Fay of Fort Point Associates responded the business was operating in accordance with the zoning decision. A slip owner at Yacht Haven spoke against the zoning ruling that would limit yacht sizes to 120 feet, indicating there is no such zoning law.
In a unanimous vote, ConComm “continued” the Boston Boat Basin LLC / Yacht Haven agenda item for one month until the DEP meeting among stakeholders was scheduled.
On a separate agenda item also at Commercial Wharf, ConComm considered the proposed remediation of Barnacle Marina, located on the north side of the property. The abandoned marina has suffered from a partially submerged dock area. The Commission previously issued an enforcement order to Leo Buk Lhu, who was represented by counsel at the hearing.
On behalf of Barnacle Marina, Boston Boat Basin, LLC (Yacht Haven) has agreed to removed the dilapidated docks and dispose of them in a proper manner within 10 days. There are no plans to operate the marina in the near future on that side of the property. It was also noted that the “gate to nowhere” on that side of the wharf will remain in place.