PORTSMOUTH — The state Coastal Resources Management Council (CRMC) Tuesday night approved the Town of Portsmouth and A&R Marine Corp.’s application to build a new ferry pier on Prudence Island, according to Town Solicitor Kevin Gavin.
The town is leasing to A&R Marine — doing business as Prudence & Bay Islands Transport — a 15,000-square-foot parcel adjacent to Prudence Island Ferry’s existing ferry terminal at Homestead.
The plan calls for constructing and maintaining a timber ferry pier — 96 feet long and 16 feet wide — with a 30-foot-long transfer bridge along with associated timber positioning dolphins.
Since the project is in Type 2 waters, it required a special exception from CRMC and a public hearing.
Mr. Gavin did not attend Tuesday’s hearing but said an assistant, attorney Terry Tierney, was there representing the town.
“The bottom line is it was approved unanimously by the council,” said Mr. Gavin. “There were a few opponents of A&R there, but the board disregarded their claims as mostly being irrelevant to the (application before) CRMC.”
A call to a CRMC spokesperson Wednesday morning was not returned before deadline.
Under the terms of a contract the Town Council approved July 17, the lease with A&R Marine runs for 10 years at a cost of $7,500 annually, plus an annual increase to account for the Consumer Price Index.
The lease also calls for A&R Marine to hold $1 million in liability insurance.
In February, the R.I. Division of Public Utilities and Carriers (DPUC) granted A&R Marine a conditional certificate of public convenience and necessity (CPCN) to operate a ferry between Bristol, Prudence Island and Hog Island.
That put the new company in direct competition with the existing Prudence Island Ferry, which has been the sole provider of ferry service since the mid-’80s. (The existing service does not extend to Hog Island.)
For more stories about the Prudence ferry issue, click here.