Dock violation fees discussed

SOUTHWICK – Town Engineer and Lake Management Committee Chairman Richard Grannells met with the Board of Selectmen this week to talk about the local permitting program (LPP) as it pertains to docks.
Grannells said the Lake Management Committee held several meetings and had discussions with the Department of Environmental Protection on the subject.
“What we’re trying to do is add a provision so people who have a hardship case for docks that can’t be removed can be carried,” Grannells said.
A recent expansion of regulations now means that permanent dock owners pay a fee for their docks if they are not brought in for the winter.
Previously, the regulation called for a fee for temporary dock owners who did not bring in their docks for the winter.
Grannells said there are legitimate reasons residents can’t remove their docks.
“It’s a problem when you have vertical drop-offs or embankments,” he said.
The town harbormaster, Police Chief David Ricardi, told the board last month that he spent time with members of the conservation commission on the lake. Ricardi said he learned a lot about life on the lake and the lack of bylaws about the lakes. He also said there is no teeth to enforce collection of the fees.
“To the best of my knowledge we don’t have anything to require that a fee must be collected,” he said, “so that is probably why you see people not paying it is my guess.”
Ricardi said he could not find any language in the regulations regarding fee enforcement.
Grannells agreed.
“There is no specific enforcement in the LPP,” he said.
The committee agreed to a fee of $50 per day for a violation of the LPP. He also stated that when a resident applies for a dock permit the first time, a free dock sticker is given but a fee must be paid in subsequent years.

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