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Statter Harbor plan looks to future

Posted: April 2, 2011 - 10:13pm

The layout plan for Statter Harbor is looking to it’s 50-year future, while keeping in mind concerns of the present.

The Docks and Harbors Board unanimously approved a design concept for Statter Harbor Thursday. The moorage improvements will not include 24-foot slips — but only 32-foot and 42-foot.

A committee looked at four concepts for the harbor, and favored concept 1.

“What we looked at really, each plan we looked at provided enough moorage to accommodate the people currently at DeHart’s Marina,” said Port Director John Stone. “That’s about 66 people. There will be at least that many stalls or more.”

Stone said that Docks and Harbors staff feel that the longer slips would be more beneficial over time.

“To that extent accommodations would need to be made for boats at DeHart’s that are smaller than 32 feet,” Stone said. “The board would make rule changes to accommodate them instead of making physical changes to accommodate them.”

Board Chairman Jim Preston said the accommodations haven’t been worked out nor finalized yet, as those will be fleshed-out in the Finance Committee. He said the intent is to configure a grandfather clause to where someone currently at DeHart’s who has a 24-foot or 20-foot boat is moved to a 32-foot slip in Statter Harbor would still only pay for the smaller size they were using. Preston said if that person got a larger boat, or moved away and came back, that would no longer apply.

Preston added that, so far, the committee has made no distinction between DeHart’s patrons who were and still are using the facilities since the city purchased it, and those who have come in after.

Technically, according to the purchase agreement, Docks and Harbors only has to make accommodations for people who were patrons at that time. Preston said they’re likely to group all current DeHart’s patrons into one agreement going forward.

One DeHart’s patron said the board should look at diverting funds from the Statter Harbor parking lot reconstruction to replacement of DeHart’s docks given how quickly they’re deteriorating.

Board member Mike Williams said they also have other alternatives — they could move vessels to other harbors. The patron said it personally wouldn’t work for him and he knew of several vessels that run charters out of there, where that wouldn’t work either.

Patron Bruce White said the plan looked encouraging, but he also reminded the board to consider all boat types and boating usages when planning.

“I think there’s been some good strides over at DeHart’s,” he said.

Patron Dennis Watson pointed to the future dual-lane boat launch with concern.

“You’re going to put a really nice harbor facility here, a great whale watching float, a nice new parking lot for the harbor, but the boat launch is going to be more exposed than it’s ever been,” he said.

Chris White, also a DeHart’s patron, was also concerned about the new launch ramp but for other reasons. He said that on the weekends it’s going to be funneling a lot of traffic and felt the space was too crowded. Aside from that, he was pleased with the plan.

The preliminary cost for this portion of the project — phase two — on the moorage floats will cost a little more than $5 million; and on the fuel float about $1.7 million.

• Contact reporter Sarah Day at 523-2279 or at sarah.day@juneauempire.com.

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