Barney Baker of Baker Design Consultants presented Boothbay Harbor selectmen with recommended improvements to Fish Pier docking and structures as well as feedback on footbridge designs March 25.
Among Baker's recommendations for the town-owned Fish Pier property were repairs and changes to the boat ramp, replacement of Harbor Bait and Atlantic Edge buildings and underlying pier structure, and either renovating the Boothbay Marine Services building or removing it to add more parking and greenspace.
“The pier buildings are definitely in poor condition … There are some access issues and some parking issues that limit efficient use … All the timber bracing is pretty much shot. It needs to be replaced. There are damaged timber curbs and rails on top and piles under Harbor Bait and Atlantic Edge have been through generations of failing and then being stood up with new piles, but they're not driven piles, they're just kind of stood up.”
The pier varies in height from 8.8 to 9.6 feet. With Base Flood Elevations (BFE) at 12 feet, highest annual tide at 6.5 feet and FEMA's recommendations for structures to sit one foot about BFE, new buildings should be raised about three feet, Baker said. He added, it is essentially a mandate from FEMA in order to acquire flood insurance.
Baker said the new Harbor Bait structure sits at this level, so nothing would need to be done to it. However,replacing the other buildings will be much more cost effective than moving the buildings off the pier for construction underneath, and new construction means building at one foot above BFE.
Chair Wendy Wolf asked if instead of raising all the buildings, the entire pier could be raised. Baker said thought it would be ideal and would help solve some issues, but would be logistically major and costs would reflect that.
The board came to a consensus that Baker should pursue cost estimates of a future footbridge with a curved alignment. The curved alignment showed popularity in the last meeting with Baker Design Consultants and in a survey the firm did.
Since the last meeting, Baker has added lookout spots on the north and south sides of the bridge, which the audience had been keen on. People were not so excited about the proposed use of steel pilings rather than traditional timber. The detail resurfaced in Baker's presentation, which outlined the possibility of green, gray or brown painted steel pilings. In a followup interview, Baker said the steel pilings would provide a 50- to 75-year lifespan for the bridge; timber pilings, a 30- to 40-year lifespan for it.
Licenses and announcements
The board granted new licenses to Harbor Tech Solutions to open a coffee shop, Spruce Point Inn for music and dance and liquor, and Spruce One LLC for liquor. Renewals included special amusement and liquor licenses for Mine Oyster as well as liquor licenses for Topside Inn, McSeagull’s, Boothbay Harbor Inn, and Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort.
Town Manager Tom Woodin announced an education session for ballot questions on east side zoning changes, at 6 p.m., before the next board meeting on Monday, April 8.
Financial Officer Julia Latter said the town’s revenue and expenses, year to date, total $7,436,213 and $6,344,717, respectively. The total accounts payable are $77,040 and the bank balance is $3,324,447. Tax collection is about 95 percent.