Board of Directors Meeting March 29, 2005

President Severance called the meeting to order at 4:15 p.m.

Members present: Joel Severance (Chester), Lou Allyn (Mystic), Ross Byrne (Old Saybrook), Mike Griffin (Norwalk), Norm Hewitt (Old Lyme), Peter Holecz (Bridgeport), John Pinto (Norwalk), Bob Sammis (Stratford), Geoff Steadman (Associate), Mary VonConta (Executive Secretary), Guest -  Paul Watts (Mystic Harbormaster).

I. A motion to accept the minutes (as modified) of the Annual meeting was made, seconded and approved unanimously.

II. Treasurer’s Report - Treasure Bob Sammis reported a balance of $7,093.41 as of 3/29/05. A motion to accept the Report was made, seconded and approved unanimously.

III. Reports of Committees

A)    Dredge Task Force – Geoff Steadman reported that he, John Pinto, Mike Griffin, Bob Sammis and Tony Mobilia (Chairman, Norwalk Harbor Management Commission) met before the Long Island Sound Council and Assembly on dredging management issues and discussed the importance of timely dredging  and state wide issues regarding dredging that he and John Roberge co-authored. A motion was made, seconded and approved to expand the CHMA Dredging Task Force to include Mike Griffin, Dr. John Pinto and Bob Sammis with the mission to aggressively pursue implementation of the Task  Force recommendations.

B)  Legislative Activity

1. President Severance reported that he, John Pinto and Geoff Steadman met with DEP Commissioner McCarthy and various DEP personnel. Top issues discussed were: dredging, permit application notification, harbormaster reporting structure and boating registration fees.

(See below New Business Permit Notification Committee).

2. Joel reported on a meeting with the Transportation Strategy Board. Other CHMA representatives present were Geoff, Mike, John, Bob, Mary and John Roberge. Topics included challenges faced and the Norwalk dredging project. Also in attendance were Norwalk’s Mayor Alex Knopp and Harbor Commission Chairman, Tony Mobilia. Mike’s presentation is attached to these minutes.

3. The Connecticut Maritime Commission (not to be confused with the Connecticut Maritime Coalition) has been appointed and is expected to take an active role in the dredging process.

The Commission:

- Advises the governor, the General Assembly and the commissioner of transportation on the state’s maritime policy and operations.

- Supports the development of Connecticut’s maritime commerce and industries.

- Recommends investments and actions to preserve and enhance maritime commerce and industries.

-Conducts studies and presents recommendations concerning maritime issues.

- Supports the development of Connecticut’s ports and recommends policies to support port operations.


4. Joel reported he, Bob Sammis, Mike Griffin and John Pinto met with Carolyn Underwood, Director of Governor’s Appointments and Melinda Decker, Associate Corporate Council in the Governor's Office. Resulting action items:

            1. List of updated harbor management commissions – Joel

            2. List of harbormasters (and assistants) yet to be appointed – Mike

            3. Our recommendations re DEP/DOP responsibility issues - Mike


      C)  DEP Communications

Joel reported that he receives and reviews all DEP application packages. (See below – New Business Permit Notification Committee.)

     Application for the No Discharge Area from Mystic to Guilford has been published.


Mike Griffin reported a discussion with David Forbes of Pawcatuck regarding the harbormaster appointment situation there.

      There are22 expired harbormaster and assistant positions and 8 pending.

Harbormaster training and education is planned for the third week in May at St. George’s Church in Guilford. A motion was made, seconded and approved to provide $500 for expenses.


     Nothing further to report.



Nomination of Board Members:

From Harbor Commissions – Joel to contact David North in Guilford.

From Harbormasters – Pat Carol from Fairfield was nominated and approved as an Alternate.

From Associates – John Roberge was nominated and approved as an Alternate.



A) Peter Hoelcz reported that a new youth detention center proposed for Bridgeport will be on the waterfront but his Harbor Management Commission had not received any relevant documentation. Geoff commented that the Planning and Zoning Commission should get input from the Harbor Commission. There is a concern that state statutes and/or the DEP’s interpretation of same could allow state agencies to circumvent harbor commissions which were created to review such proposals.

B) Permit Notification Committee - Various approaches to having permit applicants submit copies to local Harbor Management Commissions were discussed. Geoff will draft a revision to statute 22A-113P.

C) Boater Registration Fees – Allocation of fees to the towns is based on 1978 registrations and needs to be revised. Also, a portion of money reimbursed to municipalities should go directly to harbor management funds and not totally to town general funds. Peter has requested information on vessels registered in Connecticut by town from the Department of Motor Vehicles.

D) Small Boat Rescue Training – Joel reported on a training course being offered in Portland, ME. Homeland Security could fund this for harbormasters. A motion was made, seconded and approved to provide funding not to exceed $500 for Mike Griffin to attend. Joel will check on available date.


The next meeting will be in Mystic in June and include a harbor tour.

The Annual Banquet will be in early October.



 The meeting adjourned at 6:40 p.m.


 Respectively Submitted By:

 Louis Allyn




Connecticut lawmakers recognized the need for waterfront communities to assume a greater role and responsibility in management of their local waterways.

In 1984, “The Harbor Management Act” was placed into law.

This law authorized waterfront communities to form harbor management commissions.

These commissions were empowered to pursue development of a State (DEP OLSP) approved Harbor Management Plan.

Prior to 1984, harbormasters were political appointees with limited expectations placed on their duties in reviewing permits for in water structures, enforcing safe boating laws, and assisting with water quality.

After 1984, if a municipality developed a State-approved Harbor Management Plan, the local harbormaster gained a more encompassing role in overall harbor management.

In keeping with State Statute 15-1, harbormasters gained a statutory responsibility to implement the State-approved Harbor Management Plan for his/her appointed waterway.

Responsibility for oversight of all aspects of the State’s Harbormaster and Deputy Harbormaster Program lies with the DOT’s Bureau of Aviation and Ports.

Presently, state statutes grant responsibility for enforcement training for individuals, if exempt by statute from post training, to the DEP Boating Law Division.

The Harbormaster and Deputy Harbormaster Program lacks any operational consistency or functional direction. It important to note:

a) no clearly defined job description exists.

b) no formal training or education is provided

c) no  vessel/boat is provided to perform designated duties in the harbor

d) no  provisions for personal liability are available to harbormasters (or deputy) for use of privately owned and personally insured vessel.

Each Harbormaster or Deputy operates without support or guidance from the State. Local needs, common sense, and best harbor management practices often dictate necessary courses of action.

Michael Griffin, Chairman, Harbormaster Focus Group, Connecticut Harbor Management Association