Tiverton sets hearing to regulate Stafford Pond fishing tourneys

Tiverton sets hearing to regulate Stafford Pond fishing tourneys


TIVERTON —  The public will get a chance on April 22 to sound off about fishing tournaments on Stafford Pond when the Town Council holds a hearing on a slew of proposed new regulations that could affect how the tournaments are planned and organized to take place in town.

The Tiverton council scheduled the hearing date Monday night following brief discussion about the Stafford Pond fishing tournaments and a meeting held Feb. 28 at the Department of Environmental Management (DEM). The town plans — by local ordinance — to address some of the issues involved.

Council member Bill Gerlach, one of the attendees at the meeting with DEM, and the councilor who placed the ordinance amendments on the council agenda, said the meeting “was a productive discussion. I think we made our case clear.”

But, he said, “It was the feeling of many of us that the town should not wait for the DEM to take the lead.”

Local regulation of the fishing tournaments “would be a first step,” he said. He also said he had written DEM Director Janet Coit, asking for a follow-up meeting. No such meeting has yet been scheduled.

The rationale behind the proposed ordinance amendments, Mr. Gerlach said, is to “address the threat [presented by the tournaments] early on in the fishing season.”

The proposed amendments to Chapter 15 of the Tiverton ordinances (dealing with drinking water) would require all tournaments involving more than six boats to get a permit (for a $50 fee) from the Tiverton town clerk, showing that the applicant has a permit from DEM allowing for the use of the Stafford Pond boat ramp.

The applicant will be required to install porta-potties and trash receptacle 24 hours beforehand and remove them no later than 24 hours afterwards.

The applicant must identify who is organizing the tournament and provide a list of all boats participating (including vessel make, model, registration number, motor make and horsepower). Applicants must also provide proof of hiring a Tiverton police detail for the tournament.

Penalties are provided in the amount of up to $500 per occurrence.

Proof of insurance in the amount of $1 million — for liability and to cover possible environmental damage and clean-up — must be submitted at the time of application.

Of the insurance requirement, Council member Jay Lambert said, “It looks like you’re making it impossible for anyone to hold a fishing tournament,” saying that “It’s essentially prohibitive.”

Councilor Gerlach responded that the $1 million policy is intended to cover “the catastrophic impact on the drinking water” of a mishap. Thousands of citizens could be affected by damage to the town’s water supply, he said.

Another ordinance amendment, also set for the April 22 public hearing, would restrict parking on both sides of Old Stafford Road, “from the south intersection of Stafford Road and Old Stafford Road” northerly to a point “approximately adjacent to #997 Old Stafford Road.”


Leash law and other actions

The council also …

• Unanimously adopted a leash law for the town, amending Chapter 10 of the town ordinances. “Currently we have no leash law in Tiverton,” Police Chief Thomas Blakey told the council.

The amended ordinance provides that owners of dogs must keep their animals on a “physical leash” whenever they are off their own property and are on “any road, street, highway, public property, or private property other than” their own property.

Penalties include the payment of impound fees and fines, scheduled according to the frequency of offenses. The amendment prohibits an owner of a dog to place the dog in the custody of someone “not physically capable of maintaining effective control of such dog.”

• Appointed John T. Cordeiro to a vacancy on the Recreation Commission, to a three year term expiring April 15, 2016.