SOUTHWICK – On Monday, Town of Suffield First Selectman Melissa M. Mack announced that they’ve come to a memorandum of understanding for payments to the Town of Southwick for dock fees on Congamond Lake.
The memorandum is for five-years and the payments from Suffield cover the costs for maintenance, policing, and public safety on Congamond Lake.
The memorandum of understanding states an annual fee paid by the town of Suffield of $2,000, increasing by $200 each year, for lakefront property owners in Suffield who have docks, swim floats, moorings, or buoys on Congamond Lake.
According to the Southwick Conservation Commission, which oversees the Local Permitting Program (LPP), in 2018 the LPP received $1,860 from Suffield residents on Congamond Lake that included 44 docks, 58 vessels, 11 swim floats, and five buoys. It was noted that there are at least 135 lakefront properties on the Connecticut side of Congamond Lake, along with additional properties having deeded access to the lake.
The Local Permitting Program is a Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection approved means of administering and satisfying Chapter 91 regulations, which dates back to 1866, for permitting water-based structures (docks, swim floats, moorings & buoys) tidelands, Great Ponds, and other bodies of water in Massachusetts. Approved by the DEP in 2010, the LPP allows Southwick to administer the required permits locally, which is considered to be much simpler than the Chapter 91 License process and allows Southwick to use fees collected for funding lake patrols and lake projects only.
Dick Grannells, the Chairman of the Lake Management Committee did stress that he would like to have seen details in the memorandum of understanding about how to handle the permitting of motorized vessels.
“DEP could always impose a Chapter 91 license for all structures on Congamond if LPP fails or isn’t properly administered by the town,” said Grannells.
However, other than that, Southwick officials were happy with the announcement from the Town of Suffield about the memorandum of understanding.
“We were very pleased with Suffield First Selectman Melissa Mack’s cooperation,” said Southwick Conservation Coordinator Dennis Clark. “After years of trying to work with Connecticut, this is the best outcome we could have asked for.”
As a result, Clark not only sees the positive in having the cooperation between the two towns, but one singular check will now come to the Town of Southwick from the Town of Southwick, making it a lot easier for processing.
“It’s in Southwick’s best interest,” said Clark. “We’re very pleased.”