2019-01-17 / Opinion

It’s a Family Affair

To the Editor:

I would like to thank the Waterfront Commission for their efforts to make the distribution of mooring permits a more fair and equitable process. I like, the other 550 people who have been on the waiting list, (some for over 20 years) would welcome the change.

Today more than half the private moorings are held by people who do not live in Newport, this is unfair. The Waterfront Commission has implemented a plan to issue new permits at a ratio of eight permits to residents for every one permit to non residents. Over time this will improve the ratio in favor of residents by two thirds. This is a step in the right direction; it will still be a painfully slow process.

Currently, moorings can be transferred to family members; husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandsons, granddaughters, so a mooring permit becomes a “family affair.”

This is just dead wrong. People have been gaming the mooring system for generations. It has become a family legacy at the expense of honest, tax-paying Newport residents who have boats but cannot get a boat mooring permit because the system has been corrupted by some of the mooring permit holders.

For example the new ordinance would require you be at least 18 years old to apply for a mooring permit which begs the question who is putting children's names on mooring applications? It must be the parents, so once again it is a “family affair.”

There is an old saying, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” The same should be true with moorings. In the summer months there are many moorings without boats. The new ordinance would require that moorings be used by the permit holders or they lose their mooring. This make sense especially when you have people who have been waiting fifteen to twenty years and each year, sending a check to the Town of Newport to be on that long and slow list of applicants in hope that they will live long enough to someday have the ability to tie up their own boat to their own mooring ball in Newport harbor.

I ask that all involved with the process, from the Harbor master, the Waterfront Commission and especially the City Council, to make this process as fair as possible, to speedily pass the new ordinance and give the Harbor Master the tools he needs to start to administer this much needed change.

William Fitzgerald

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