Board of Selectmen Forego Second Read for Speed Zone proposed at Great Captain Island

At the Aug 13 Board of Selectman, assistant town attorney Aamina Ahmad presented a proposal for a speed zone in the area of Great Captain Island.

“There have been issues of speeding in this area,” she explained. “There are moorings in the area, and it’s a very busy and popular area for boaters.”

Ms Ahmad shared a map showing the proposed speed zone, which appears in a yellow triangle in the area to the north of Great Captain Island and Cormorant Reef.

Ms Ahmad said the Harbor Management Commission had been working with the State DEEP, and that the Police marine division had also been involved.

“There is no formal approval yet, but they’re aware of the proposal and have reviewed it,” she said of DEEP. “If the Town of Greenwich amends the ordinance as proposed, then DEEP would have 60 days to give their blessing.”

Ahmad said the town had been working on the language for the proposed speed zone for over three years.

“People are not obeying the outer harbor speed limit, and creating difficult situations out there,” she said. “It’s full of moorings, but we also have boaters who like to drop anchor, as well as the ferry that brings people to the beach. People jump off their boats and swim to the beach.”

Ms Ahmad said just beyond the moorings is an area that serves as a shortcut for boaters heading to New York.

“It’s basically a highway for boats going out,” said Bill Ingraham, a member of the Harbor Management Commission. “For years and years, boaters were attuned to people in the water… but, people are buying bigger boats that make bigger waves. There’s always the chance a boat could come down on top of a person or injure a person. We agree with the state that a restriction or No Wake is definitely in order.”

“We’ve continually heard concerns from the boating community,” said HMC chair Mike Van Oss. “DEEP had to give us the initial okay. Then we get the ordinance, and then we go back to DEEP and finalize the acceptable location for the buoys.”

Ms Ahmad explained the proposal would also have to go before the RTM. Lastly it would take about 60 days for the DEEP to approve.

Selectperson Oberlander and Selectwoman Rabin agreed the speed zone addressed a safety issue and should be approved as fast as possible. They suggested foregoing a second read.

The board voted unanimously to approve the speed zone.

Proposed restricted speed area is represented by the yellow triangle. “No person shall operate a vessel in excess of Slow-No-Wake between Great Captain Island and Cormorant Reef within an area bounded on the west by a line from the northwest end of the ferry dock on Great Captain Island to navigation aid green can #1 that is located at the southern tip of Cormorant Reef, and bounded to the northeast by a line from said navigation aid green can #1 to the northeastern tip of Great Captain Island as visible at the mean high water line.