Apr 17, 2007 Martha E. Conway Uncategorized
A handicapped-accessible fishing pier project will have to clear a few more hoops before moving forward in the next couple of years. While performing research in connection with a proposed quarry on Quarry Road in the town of Sullivan, Chittenango-Bridgeport Times staff discovered the town of Sullivan ends at the southern edge of Oneida Lake.
This means the pier, part of a half-million dollar Parks & Recreation Department project, will be located in the Oneida County town of Vienna.
Of primary concern to town of Vienna Supervisor P. Michael Piper is liability should anyone get injured on the structure. He said he only heard of the project Thursday afternoon when Sullivan Supervisor John M. Becker called him to talk about how the towns would handle the matter.
“I assured him whatever he does, we will get involved,” Piper said. “We’ll have our [town] attorneys sit down and work something out.”
Piper said there would be no snap decision by Vienna over the phone.
“We’re going to need documentation — maps, drawings, something,” Piper said. “And I’m not sure if we need to get the town planning board and county planning department involved.”
Becker said he couldn’t understand why the location was not better researched during the decade of planning leading up to the fifth — and finally successful — grant application.
Town attorney Donald Colella said he does not believe the jurisdictional location will matter to the agency awarding the $260,000 matching grant earmarked to pay for half the project.
“We have a town park in the village of Chittenango and the village of Chittenango has a facility in the town for sludge,” Colella said. “I don’t find where Vienna has worked to regulate anything on the south shore of the lake.”
Colella said the towns’ attorneys would most likely work out an intermunicipal agreement that would involve naming the town of Vienna as an insured on its liability policy covering the pier.
“We’ve got IMAs with the towns of Cicero, Fenner and others for fire protection, and there’s a lot more risk with fire than there would be with this pier,” Colella said.
Piper said he couldn’t comment on the insurance issues involved until the municipalities sit down with their respective boards and attorneys.
“We’ll need to hammer out the insurance coverage,” Piper said. “I would like to bring my planning board in on it.”
Colella said the project, because it does involve a body of water, also is subject to regulation by the state Department of Environmental Conservation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Former Supervisor John E. Gladney said he had not heard the town finally received the grant, but has no reservations that the project will move forward.
“The way the law reads, the township, even though the lake is in another county, can govern what goes on — I think it’s 1,500 feet — into the water,” Gladney said. “All they need is to probably get the consent of the town of Vienna.”
Gladney said the high-water mark is the county line to the town’s north. He said the state actually “owns” the water, and Vienna owns the land beneath it.
“I think 273 is the high-water mark,” Gladney said. “The ownership thing is a little goofy.”
Gladney said Vienna is a good town, and he has no doubt they will work well with the town of Sullivan.
“They are both in the Oneida Lake Water Abatement Project,” Gladney said. “We’ve worked with them on other things, and we’ve had to work with the town of Constantia on another project in the Fisher Bay area, and that was fine, too.”
Piper said he doesn’t anticipate any problems but will move forward cautiously, as he would with any other project that might impact Vienna.
“I enjoy working on projects like this — water projects,” Piper said. “I love working on positive projects like this.”
The town originally was looking at a “portable” pier, Gladney said, when he was still in office. That way it could be pulled from the lake and over-wintered at the marina.
“That way it wouldn’t get bashed to pieces by the ice,” Gladney said. “I want to congratulate [the town] on getting that grant. A handicapped-accessible fishing pier is the best thing that could ever happen to the town. We worked on that a long time.”