In wake of Winthrop’s new mooring rules, Readfield officials consider regulations due to possible ripple effect

Fibo Quantum

A boat is beached Wednesday at the launch on Maranacook Lake in Readfield. The town is considering an ordinance to regulate boat moorings, following the lead of neighboring Winthrop. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

With Winthrop’s mooring ordinance having gone into effect July 8, some Readfield residents are concerned it will increase boat traffic at their end of Maranacook Lake.

Readfield officials discussed Monday how best to tackle the issue, and tentatively scheduled a public hearing for 5 p.m. on Aug. 26.

The Winthrop ordinance prevents anyone who does not own shorefront property from setting anchor in any body of water in town within 200 feet of the shoreline.

Winthrop Town Manager Jeff Kobrock said Wednesday the town is in the process of contacting mooring owners to ask them for voluntary compliance. As a result, no fines have been issued.

Kobrock said there were 20 to 25 moorings in the cove near Norcross Point before the ordinance went into effect. As of Wednesday, 12 to 15 moorings remained.

The town is determining if the moorings are occupied or have been abandoned, which requires observing the area for a period of time.

“For some of these moorings,” he said, “it’ll take time to determine whether they’re being used or not.”

People listen in June 2014 from boats in Maranacook Lake as Kristen Veayo, playing guitar, plays at Norcross Point in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Kobrock said some residents have asked about the ordinance, with some conversations ending with people agreeing to remove their moorings.

The ordinance was controversial among some with moorings near Norcross point, who felt they were being targeted unfairly by the new rules.

Kobrock said while he has received telephone calls from residents upset by the ordinance, there have been no organized efforts against it, such as a petition.

“I certainly receive phone calls that are in opposition to this effort. There’s no question about that,” he said. “I also receive calls that are in support of this effort, to be fair.”

Kobrock said while he was not aware the Readfield Select Board had discussed the matter Monday, he keeps in touch with Eric Dyer, Readfield’s town manager, and officials in other communities, including Manchester and Monmouth, concerning lake issues.

Dyer said at Readfield’s meeting Monday that while the town’s boat landing has only four or five moorings, and that the number has not changed much in recent years, some residents are concerned about the future.

“It hasn’t been a crisis,” he said, “but the concern I heard from the public — and I did sit down with 15 or 20 residents a few weeks ago — was that the town needs to do something or should consider doing something proactive to prevent a situation where we have a lot of these things coming in and not having had an adequate response.”

One of several signs explaining the new mooring rules is posted at the south end of Maranacook Lake in Winthrop. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

Selectman Sean Keegan said a hearing at the end of August might not draw enough members of the public to create a beneficial discussion.

“I don’t want to rush this and not do it well,” he said, “because it could be a big deal.”

Keegan said the town could begin talking about the issue and researching what a similar ordinance would mean for Readfield. For example, he said, officials could discover a harbormaster is required, but not have the available staffing.

Selectman Steve DeAngelis said while he would not want to make a decision by the end of August, he would not object to having an informational meeting with the public at that time.

“I don’t see where it would hurt to just have a meeting at the end of August, if people want to show up and talk about it,” he said. “And maybe we’ll learn a little bit. It’s just informational, just to get started thinking about it.”

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