Sunday, February 22, 2015

Update: Progress Slow On Complex Creek Marina Issues

Fairhope, Alabama.

UPDATE: At Monday's council meeting James Gilespie said he had learned only a state permit will be required for the scooping around the boat slips; one should be obtained shortly. Councilman Mueller added that any  future "deals" should be in writing.

Fly Creek marina

Last week, the city's Harbor Board continued a discussion begun almost two years ago: how to go about removing sand/silt that has built up in the city's Fly Creek marina area impeding boat access, but made little progress because of uncertainty over who will pay for it -- and how to obtain necessary permits from the Army Corp of Engineers.

Chairman Yeager said the private Fairhope Yacht Club already had obtained a temporary maintenance permit somehow -- and has been doing their side for over a month now; he said the mayor had asked general superintendent James Gilespie to find out how to get a permit for the city, too, perhaps by contacting the club's Vice Commodore.

Gilespie then told the Board that  he had called the Port of Mobile to find out the correct procedure and was told it had taken them six months just to get a permit -- even after hiring an engineering firm to do it.

He suggested contacting the same engineer to advise on the matter as well.
Gilespie left, Burrell center

Gilespie: "(We) ... need somebody with experience ... to get it done ... I don't know anything about it ... ."

Yeager called the huge Port of Mobile "a different animal than Fly Creek" and  the type permit the Yacht Club had obtained would be easier to get.

Yeager was frustrated with the lack of progress: "Well then ... it looks like we are back to square one."


After Bob Riggs asked about the status of funding dredging of the main channel out into the bay, Yeager called that a "federal deal."

main channel
The federal responsibility has "always been the length of the channel from the breakwater ... back to the turning basin on the east side. That's all they have ever done ... may or may not ever do it again though." 

Councilman Burrell said he had recently met with Congressman Byrne about it -- and was told it was "not going to happen with federal dollars."

Byrne has previously blamed the across-the-board-cutbacks called budget sequestration for the hold-up.

Burrell added the mayor says he is still "working on" getting the federal funding through other channels.

Bob Riggs mentioned he had spoken with Carl Dyess of the Corp of Engineers who seemed to already know" all about"  the various Fly Creek dredging problems: he gave that information to Gilespie to make appropriate inquiries (permits, etc.)


Burrell then asked what are the "most pressing" issues there and was told "scooping out" the city's boat slips, parking lot resurfacing, and wooden bulkhead repair.

Yeager suggested renting a knuckle-boom backhoe and digging the slips out out from the shore: those in the middle and north sections are especially bad;  the maintenance permit will have to be obtained beforehand though (up to six months delay?).

The parking lot area needs to be smoothed/re-graveled and paved at the end of Sea Cliff Dr..

About 100' of rotting dock bulkhead along the creek needs to be replaced as well; some of it is near collapsing.


It was only recently revealed that the city does not actually own the gravel access-road along the creek at the far north end (the cul de sac): but had leased it from Charlie Gay for many years (city paid the property taxes and utilities, according to a source).

Gilespie: "There used to be a deal with him; but we really don't have a deal right now."

Charlie Gay passed away years ago and his wife Conchita in 2009: their heir John Michael Francis is the current owner, according to land records.

(There is a still small area called the 'Charlie Gay Marina' north of the cul de sac.)

An informed source tells the Times the city made offers to buy the property recently, but the asking price was too high.
cul de sac

Gilespie said current plans are not to extend the recently-built wooden fence "on down" northward along the property line "unless something happens"; doing so would cut off the cul de sac and areas some slip-lessees are currently using (ie. for storage.).

Francis has already cut a new road elsewhere on his property out to Sea cliff Dr.  for access, in case that should happen.


Hoping to get the ball rolling, Board members voted to ask the city council for funding for the three priorities mentioned above: scooping out the slips, parking lot resurfacing, and bulkhead repairs.

shallow water
'Charlie Gay' marina

Yeager at right

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Who put these people in charge? The same people that elected Bradley Byrne?