By Michael Walsh
Special to the Voice
The City Council enacted an ordinance Sept. 10 adopting the city’s first Harbor Management Plan.
The new ordinance made West Haven the 24th municipality in Connecticut to have an adopted plan for harbor management, according to David W. Killeen, assistant city planner.
The plan will guide the most appropriate uses of the city’s navigable waters and intertidal areas for recreational, commercial and conservation purposes, Killeen said.
“The city is pleased to join other Connecticut coastal communities that have taken steps to actively manage their harbor areas and shoreline,” Mayor Nancy R. Rossi said.
Killeen said the plan outlines goals, strategies, policies and recommendations for the beneficial use and conservation of the West Haven Harbor Management Area.
The area comprises the navigable waters and intertidal areas within the city’s municipal jurisdiction on the West River, New Haven Harbor, nearshore Long Island Sound, Old Field Creek, and the Cove and Oyster rivers.
The plan, initiated in 2014, was prepared by the Harbor Management Commission and its Westport coastal consultant, Geoffrey Steadman. The process included multiple meetings of the commission and public.
As required by state law, the plan was reviewed by state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over the harbor area, including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers. The plan was modified during the process to reflect the agencies’ input.
“This is a very important step for the city,” commission Chairman Gene L. Pacapelli said. “We will now have input to the state and federal agencies that are making decisions on structures and dredging in the city’s navigable waters. Previously, the city had no role on those decisions.”
Pacapelli added, “We are extremely grateful to our consultant, Geoffrey Steadman, who was able to prepare a comprehensive plan for us.”
Another key aspect of the plan is that it will make the city more competitive for grants affecting the Harbor Management Area, Killeen said.
Earlier this year, the city received a grant from the Connecticut Port Authority to evaluate the potential for creating an improved public boat launch.
See the Harbor Management Plan at http://www.cityofwesthaven.com/DocumentCenter/Index/69.