Residents at Harborside will have additional slips at the New Harborside Yacht Club for their private enjoyment of the Potomac River.
The nine new slips, which will be privately owned and operated, will be built adjacent to the 11 current slips and to Windmill Hill Park. Council approved the new slips unanimously at the June 25 meeting.
“If you want to discuss any perceived conflict between Windmill Hill Park not having additional slips and this, I am pleased to address that,” said Windsor Demaine, at a June 15, public hearing. Demaine was a member of the Windmill Hill Park steering committee, who opposed additional boat slips at the park.
Mayor Kerry J. Donley responded. “Since you brought it up,” he said. “I would like to tell you that you all need a new public relations consultant. The perception is that it’s OK to have boat slips if you are rich but not for use by the general public. Whether that is true or not, it certainly is the perception.”
“My understanding is that most steering committee members were unaware of the proposal during their deliberations,” he said.” Most members of Council were aware of it just prior to the vote on the park. I firmly believe that civically minded local residents were committed to a passive recreational park that preserved the views of the Potomac River and this was respected by the Council’s vote. There were several quite vocal citizens who argued for letting the entire basin silt into becoming an aquatic vegetative garden. When this was rejected by the steering committee, the same individuals worked hard to prevent any tie-ups for small non-monorized craft on the stated basis of safety and ecology.
"Apparently, several currently own boat slips at Harborside and are investors in the proposed expansion. I suppose I will leave it at that: I have a deep and abiding respect for my fellow citizens abilities to look at the facts and make their own analysis.”
DEMAINE SAID that the residents would be very willing to lease the slips to those who did not live at Harborside but this would be in contradiction of the application for the Special Use Permit.
Staff recommended approval of the SUP based on allowing only Harborside residents to own and use the boat slips. This would allow them not to have additional parking and not to construct restrooms.
Phil Rodgers, a resident at Harborside, voiced his objections to the new slips at the June 15, meeting. “I purchased my property here because of the view of the river,” he said. “Construction of this dock will obstruct my view, which is the same thing that was discussed at Windmill Hill.”
Robert Taylor represented Robinson Terminal at the June 15, public hearing. “The dolphins where we tie boats that are docked at Robinson Terminal are very near the proposed floating dock,” Taylor said. “When boats are at the Terminal, these people will not be able to get their power boats out of their slips. Also, I am concerned about damage to these smaller boats that could occur when our large freighters come into Robinson Terminal. We were not consulted about this project and didn’t even know that it was being considered.”
ROBINSON TERMINAL is now comfortable with the new dock. “Robinson Terminal representatives met with Brian Buzzell on June 17, and had the opportunity to read the plans in detail that were prepared by Andrews, Miller & Associates, Inc. for the nine slips,” they wrote in a letter.
“Robinson Terminal, Inc. appreciates the City Council deferring this item for the opportunity to discuss the Robinson Terminal operations and the operation of the proposed new marina with Mr. Buzzell. It is clear from our review that the architect and designer of the marina plans was well aware of our operations and designed the marina to take those operational needs into account as well as for the safety of the marina users and boats in the slips…”
Councilwoman Claire Eberwein expressed some reservations about the slips. Councilman David G. Speck wanted to make sure that there was a way to enforce the provision that only Harborside residents owned and used the slips. “I just want to make certain that there is an annual review process for this,” he said.
The applicants agreed and Council approved the nine new slips.