Bristol dock expansion plan hits snag

On-hold Church Street dock proposal calls for 122 slips off Thames Street

Posted 10/5/16

The town of Bristol’s proposed plan to expand the Church Street dock, adding 122 slips, has run into some roadblocks. At Monday’s Harbor Commission meeting, Harbormaster Gregg Marsili …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Not a subscriber?


Start a Subscription

Sign up to start a subscription today! Click here to see your options.

Purchase a day pass

Purchase 24 hours of website access for $2. Click here to continue

Day pass subscribers

Are you a day pass subscriber who needs to log in? Click here to continue.


Bristol dock expansion plan hits snag

On-hold Church Street dock proposal calls for 122 slips off Thames Street

Posted

The town of Bristol’s proposed plan to expand the Church Street dock, adding 122 slips, has run into some roadblocks. At Monday’s Harbor Commission meeting, Harbormaster Gregg Marsili updated commission members on issues that have recently come to light.

The harbormaster reported that the town’s agreement for riparian water rights with Robin Rug owner Russell Karian does not include building access to the shoreline in front of the Robin Rug complex. At a recent meeting between the two, Mr. Karian reminded the harbormaster that his agreement with the town does not include shoreside access. It also does not promise a boardwalk in front of Robin Rug unless there is a redevelopment of the Robin Rug property for residential use, Mr. Marsili said. 

The information seemed to surprise some members of the Harbor Commission.

The plans for the marina expansion, prepared by Pare Engineering, include three dock terminations, or connections, to the shore in front of Robin Rug. The harbormaster indicated that the marina design would have to be “reworked” to make access “from the Maritime Center parking lot.” 

Engineering and design costs have amounted to $44,000 for the marina expansion plan to date. Total design cost is expected to be $116,500.

Preliminary cost estimates for the Church Street dock expansion construction are as much as $3 million, $2 million of which has been included in the local $17-million bond referendum, Question 8, to be voted on by Bristol voters on Nov. 8. The bond referendum also includes borrowing for local drainage, former school buildings, open space and sidewalk repairs. 

Asked how the town will fund any construction costs that exceed the $2 million of borrowing, Mr. Marsili explained in an email following Tuesday’s meeting, “the funding source will be determined by the Town Council pending final engineering and permitting.”  

Also at Monday’s meeting, Harbor Commission member Dan Eagan raised the question of the whereabouts of the “CRMC Assent" for the current Church Street dock, which has about 35 slips and was built about 10 years ago. The CRMC Assent is essentially CRMC’s approval and conditions for any waterfront dock or facility in Rhode Island waters. 

“I have not been able to find it anywhere at Town Hall or at CRMC. It would be illegal to build a dock without this,” Mr. Eagan said.

As a commercial fisherman, Mr. Eagan’s concern is that there is not adequate parking to expand the town slips in this area of the waterfront. 

“CRMC requires one dedicated parking space for every two slips. There is not enough parking for the slips we already have at Church Street and Rockwell dock,” Mr. Eagan said. 

The CRMC Assent for Rockwell dock, built in 1991, requires the town to dedicate 50 exclusive parking spots for Rockwell dock boat owners. Local fisherman have been concerned about being squeezed out by recreational waterfront development since the town has gotten into the marina business when it built Rockwell dock more than 25 years ago. The harbormaster responded, “We are exploring options to accommodate additional parking for all required parking. The 50 parking spots for Rockwell Dock will be part of the total plan.”

There are currently 109 Bristol residents on the waiting list for recreational town slips, according to the harbormaster. There are also six residents on the waiting list for slips allocated to commercial fisherman. Slips at Rockwell and Church Street docks are available to Bristol residents only.

2020 by East Bay Newspapers

Barrington · Bristol · East Providence · Little Compton · Portsmouth · Tiverton · Warren · Westport
Meet our staff
Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.