Tiverton Yacht Club still house-less, but happy


TIVERTON — The Tiverton Yacht Club (TYC) finishes the sailing season Labor Day Weekend with a race down the river, its legal struggles on hold, and renewed optimism about plans to build a new clubhouse to replace the one that burned to the ground ten years ago in 2003.

"This season was probably our best since the fire," said club Commodore Greg Jones. "A whole lot of things came together."

The legal front

On the legal front, the shift from septic systems to a sewer line as the likely wastewater solution for Riverside Drive residents has made it possible for the TYC to take a breather from the ten-year litigation it's been involved in with several neighbors.

The fight had been most recently about the proper size of a septic system that would serve the proposed new clubhouse. A larger septic system was needed, and had been approved by the Department of Environmental Management (DEM).

But responding to a complaint from the neighbors, a judge had ruled in 2007 that the larger septic system represented an unlawful expansion and a more intensive use under the existing zoning ordinance. Zoning relief appeared called for. And there the matter has rested for several years.

Since then the TYC has been engaged in an on-again, off again effort to change the ordinance to accommodate the larger DEM-approved septic system. The ordinance change effort has been on hold for many months.

Meanwhile, the sewer line that now seems likely to be installed in the next few years along Riverside Drive should make the septic battle unnecessary.

"It certainly would solve our problems. Sewers are a whole lot better solution for us," said Mr. Jones. They would negate the septic system size and expansion issue, he said.

Besides, Mr. Jones said "we've pretty much made peace with our neighbors, and reached the point where we accept them and they accept us. There's very little conflict."

Recent successes

Mr. Jones said that this summer 30 new members joined the TYC, where in the past the growth usual ran to about 10 per year. The club's total membership is about 150, and had been down to 125 after the fire.

"The sail training program this summer had 68 kids in it," he said. Four years ago it was down to 40.

"We've made a lot of improvements, too," he said. "We dredged the marina, rebuilt and reconfigured the docks, put sand on the beach, painted the lockers and garage and other buildings we do have, and filled in the foundation of the old clubhouse."

The TYC has a training fleet of 12 Optimist boats and six or so 420's, and has one Flying Scotsman.

"The finances are good, and we have money in the bank," Mr. Jones said.

"Wednesday nights there've been competitions, and pot lucks on Thursdays," he said. "There've been fire pits on the beach the teenagers have enjoyed. And meantime we've discovered using a tent has worked out quite well." The tent will be up until Labor Day.

"The yacht club is doing great, and I'm happy with the improvements," he said.

"We're looking to build the clubhouse in the next couple of years as the sewers go in," he said. "DEM wants the sewers to go in. The septics are polluting the bay."

Mr. Jones' three-year term expires in October. The new commodore will be Steve Hughes.




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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.