The Boston Conservation Commission will hold a public enforcement hearing on the conditions of the Shipyard Quarters Marina in the Charlestown Navy Yard on Wednesday, Dec. 12 at City Hall.
The hearing was originally scheduled for Nov. 9 but was pushed back to Nov. 28 and then to Dec. 12 because of Hurricane Sandy. Martin Oliner, the owner of Shipyard Quarters Marina, is the mayor of the village of Lawrence on New York’s Long Island—an area hit hard by the storm, according to Danielle Valle Fitzgerald, neighborhood coordinator for the Boston Mayor’s Office.
The hearing will look at the current conditions and plans for remediation of the marina, which operates off Pier 8, as well as Pier 6, which is also owned by Oliner and houses Tavern on the Water and the charter boat company Come Sail Away Now. This week, Tavern on the Water's parent company, Legendary Restaurant Group, announced plans to close the waterfront restaurant for unspecified reasons.
Shipyard Quarters Marina was deemed “unsafe” and “in disrepair” as far back as June 2010, according to a Nov. 8 letter from Mayor Thomas Menino to a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection commissioner. But no remedial action was ordered at the time.
“This marina is clearly out of compliance with its license, which states that it is to ‘maintain the structural integrity of all elements of the marina including: floats, piling, pile guides, railings, water distribution, electrical distribution and other marina facilities,’” Menino stated in the letter.
The mayor is demanding “immediate enforcement” of an order the DEP issued in July 2012 for the owner to make repairs, although the owner requested additional time to make those repairs—a request Menino called “unacceptable.”
In the DEP order, officials noted several of the issues, including missing support piles, torqued or twisted finger floats, corroded metal pilings and missing caps designed to inhibit corrosion, corroded electrical junction boxes, rotting and failing structural cross members under the Pier 8 parking area, wooden debris throughout the marina and other issues.
“On June 11, 2012 and July 3, 2012, MassDEP personnel determined the condition of [the owner’s] marina were a public nuisance and that some of [the owner’s] structures were dilapidated and unsafe so that such structures, if not repaired or replaced, are, or are liable to become a menace to navigation,” officials wrote in the DEP order, dated July 5.
Lois Siegelman, a local resident and president of the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, said she noticed the deplorable condition of the marina last summer while she and her husband were traveling the Harbor Walk. The odor of rotting shellfish on the pier was overwhelming.
Siegelman began contacting city officials, including Fitzgerald, Charlestown’s representative in the Mayor’s Office.
“It’s unsightly, it’s unsafe and it’s unsanitary,” Siegelman said of the marina. “What we’re trying to do is get them to bring it up to a safe standard. It used to be a beautiful marina.”
A representative of the owner, Asher Herzberg, attended the Boston Conservation Commission’s third hearing on the matter on Oct. 17 and acknowledged that it was the responsibility of the Shipyard Quarters Marina to maintain the Harborwalk and the pilings on the pier, but few improvements were made after that, Fitzgerald said.
The Oct. 17 meeting was attended by Boston Redevelopment Authority director Peter Meade, City Councilor Salvatore LaMattina and Fitzgerald, as well as 30 residents of the Charlestown Navy Yard.
“This is the first time that a BRA director has testified at a Conservation Commission hearing,” Fitzgerald told Patch. “Director Meade gave forceful testimony on the dreadful condition of the Harborwalk and the Marina. He also mentioned that the BRA has spent $40,000 the past two winters removing snow from Mr. Oliner’s property to prevent a safety hazard.”
LaMattina and Fitzgerald both “expressed outrage over the fact that Mr. Oliner is not taking these concerns seriously” and told his representative that, as an elected official, Oliner “should be ashamed of the abhorrent condition that his property is in,” according to Fitzgerald.
The Nov. 28 enforcement hearing was set following that meeting, with the stipulation that Oliner’s representative come to the hearing with “stamped plans and a detailed construction schedule,” Fitzgerald said. If he fails to do so, the Conservation Commission can begin instituting fines of $25,000 daily until conditions improve.
In his Nov. 8 letter to DEP Commissioner Kenneth L. Kimmell, Menino requested that if Oliner failed to make repairs immediately the department revoke his license to operate at the Shipyard Quarters Marina.
“If your department contends that it does not have the authority to take such action, I ask that you work with other state agencies to end the ongoing threat,” Menino wrote in the letter. “In particular, I insist that you engage the Office of the Attorney General to seek a Temporary Restraining Order to close this deplorable facility until the public safety threat is eliminated.”
The Dec. 12 Conservation Commission meeting is open to the public and is tentatively scheduled for 6 p.m. in City Hall Room 801.