EASTHAM — Rock Harbor boat slip holders are asking if plans for the new harbormaster office will leave them and their guests high and dry with nowhere to park during busy summer weekends.
Currently, the 48 slip holders and their guests can park on a dirt and grass areas just off the state’s paved parking lot, which is restricted to use by vehicles with trailers. The plan for the new arrangement has 29 paved parking spaces, including three accessible spaces and one space for the harbormaster’s trailer. The new office is being designed for use by three employees of the natural resources dept.
“Looking at this design, with the bioremediation basin, benches, and the plaza area, you’re going to eliminate a ton of spaces,” said slip holder Ron Peterson at a May 25 conservation commission hearing on the Rock Harbor project. “I’m willing to guess on a busy weekend there’s about 40 to 50 cars that cram into that area.”
“There’s only so much parking we can create,” said Projects and Procurement Director Shana Brogan. Most of the project, she noted, had been confined to previously disturbed areas. She said that parking is an issue at many town landings and beaches. “We tried to maximize as much as we could,” said Brogan.
Jeremiah’s Look resident Laura Schofield Freeman said the lack of parking could “easily lead to environmental degradation and is certainly a concern for the conservation commission.” Freeman is the owner of Schofield Brothers of Cape Cod, a land surveying and environmental permitting business; her husband is a slip holder at Rock Harbor.
At the June 7 Rock Harbor Capital Projects Committee meeting, Town Administrator Jacqui Beebe said the committee would plan to meet with stakeholders and the state to discuss the parking situation. For this summer, she asked that staff monitor and photograph the parking area to gather data on its use.
“I’m assuming we’re going to have most of our problems on high tides on big weekends,” said Beebe.
If the plan continued to receive a “a lot of pushback” on parking, she said, the committee could look at developing an area to the south of the paved lot for additional parking.
“Not because I want to,” Beebe added, “or because I think it’s necessary, but because if people are asking for it, then I think we might have to develop that.” She suggested getting the conservation commission’s opinion of the idea.
The conservation commission continued its May 25 hearing on the harbormaster office proposal until June 8, and in the meantime agreed to have an outside consultant review the project regarding wetland delineation and storm-water management.
The project will also be back before the board of health on June 24, following the discovery that a finger salt marsh had been omitted from the plans. This will require that a previously approved septic system be relocated.