Council approves docking leases

Published 6:30 pm Thursday, September 15, 2016

After a last-minute tweaking, Washington’s City Council voted 4-1 to approve four leases regarding use of city docks.

The leases, revised several times in recent weeks, are between the city and four entities — the Little Washington Sailing School, North Carolina Estuarium, Seatow IBX and the RV/Stanley Riggs, an East Carolina University research vessel. The tweaking centered on the length of the leases. As presented to the council during its meeting Monday, the leases were for a one-year period — this calendar year.

Dot Moate, a member of the city’s Planning Board, suggested the leases be modified so they end Dec. 31, 2017. John Rodman, the city’s director of community and cultural resources, told the council each lease contained the same calendar-year period to make it convenient for city staff when it came to potentially renewing the leases, which could be done at the same time without having different renewal dates for each lease.

Council members Richard Brooks, Larry Beeman, William Pitt and Virginia Finnerty — after discussion to make the change just for the sailing school or all entities — voted to do just that. Councilman Doug Mercer voted against the measure. “I have stated at every meeting that I am opposed to free docking. … I’m going to vote against the motion for that reason,” Mercer said.

The leases spell out responsibilities of the city and each of the four entities related to the use of the docks.

Under the approved leases, the sailing school continues to pay an annual $1 fee to use the entire Dock J. The lease allows the sailing school to attach two 20-foot-by-40-foot floating docks to Dock F by using mooring lines and pilings. The sailing school uses 14-foot long, center console Avon sailboats.

One of the leases waives the $238 monthly rental fee for the RV/Stanley Riggs, a research vessel owned by East Carolina University and sometimes docked on the city’s waterfront.

The $182 monthly rent for the North Carolina Estuarium to use city docking space for its River Roving vessel is waived under the lease concerning the Estuarium. The vessel may not be refueled at the waterfront docks without the prior consent of the city and approval of the city fire marshal. If such refueling is allowed, the boat owner must submit a spill prevention and containment plan to the city prior to the refueling and receive approval from the city.

As for Seatow IBX, its lease assigns slip No. 1 at Dock F to the Sea Tow IBX vessel. For providing services to the city docks, Seatow IBX is exempt from paying $182 monthly rent to the city. If Seatow IBX does not provide the specified services, the city may relocate its vessel to another boat slip.

Under the lease, Seatow IBX would remove debris from the waterfront docks within a reasonable time after receiving such a request from the city or after becoming aware of the need for such removal, and provide reasonable assistance (upon request by the city) to vessels with which the city has existing docking agreements.

The refueling clause that applies to the Estuarium’s River Roving vessel applies to the RV/Stanley Riggs and the Seatow IBX vessel.



About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

email author More by Mike