Greenwich Mooring Dispute Drags On

For the second week in a row, the controversy over Charles Zoubek’s boat mooring appeared on the Selectmen’s agenda.

Mr. Zoubek, whose mooring is in dispute, referred to “side shows” created by the Harbor Master: the “coordinates side show,” “the pinched fairway side show,” and the “predictable use sideshow.”

As for the coordinates, Mr. Zoubek said the coordinates he provided the town for the mooring he wants (not the mooring the harbor master offered) could have easily been confirmed. The Selectmen were prepared to okay Mr. Zoubek’s existing mooring based on the Special Acts. But, apparently Zoubek’s coordinates had a typo, because they placed the mooring around Eaton’s Neck across Long Island Sound.

Nevertheless, the harbor master, who was not present at Thursday’ meeting, approved the location earlier in the week, causing people to assume the issue was settled. It is not.

As for the Pinched Fairway sideshow, Zoubek said the harbor master’s argument that the harbor is too narrow for large boats to get into in the case of a emergency on someone’s dock doesn’t hold water either. Zoubek said the narrowest part of Indian Harbor is 340 ft across, which he said provides plenty of room.

Lastly, of the “predictable use side show,” which he said refers to the harbor master’s contention that the predictable use of his mooring is for raft-ups, he said that is simply not true.

One leap forward was that everyone agreed that the proximity to protected Osprey nests was no longer a factor in rejecting Mr. Zoubek’s desired mooring location near his home.Amina Ahmad from the town attorney’s office confirmed that the town  GIS staff looked at the coordinates Mr. Zoubek provided for the location he desires, and confirmed that they are not in Greenwich waters. She said the confusion boils down to a simple matter of Mr. MacMillan confirming the coordinates of the original location with Mr. Zoubek.”So Mr. MacMillan approved a mooring not in Greenwich?” Mr. Marzullo said incredulously.

“Mr. MacMillan knew exactly where the mooring location was because he’s moved it twice,” Zoubek said.

“I guess we’re not geography majors here, but we do need that,” Mr. Tesei said, referring to the need for accurate coordinates for Mr. Zoubek’s desired mooring location. But Mr. Tesei said he didn’t feel it was appropriate to use a Police boat to confirm the location Mr. Zoubek desires.

Mr. Zoubek suggested having a mooring vendor confirm the mooring location and adequate depth of the water at low tide, rather than the selectmen using a Greenwich Police boat for that purpose.  Ms. Ahmad said it would be an inappropriate use of taxpayer money and police resources to use a police boat to go out with a GPS to determine Mr. Zoubek’s desired mooring location coordinates and the depth at low tide.

The entire exercise begged the question about how many man hours of paid town employees have been spent working on this dispute.

Mr. Zoubek said the harbor master had moved his marker twice. “Any rational person would have turned on his GPS,” he said, intimating that Mr. MacMillan knew the coordinates were calculated in error, but approved them anyway.

“This should not be that difficult, Mr Marzullo said. “At some point you and Ian will agree on coordinates,” he said to Mr. Zoubek. “I’m assuming he then will be back to not approving it based on birds, safety, depth, or whatever, but what he’s giving you as an alternate, you don’t accept, right?” he asked.

“Right,” Mr. Zoubek said.

“He’s already moved it to the desired location,” Mr. Tesei said, referring to the harbor master having moved Mr. Zoubek’s marker to a location by Tweed Island.  Mr. Zoubek wants to keep the mooring he’s been using for many years, pointing out that he could see it from his house.

But last week Mr. MacMillan pointed out that Mr. Zoubek’s mooring was never permitted. Mr. Zoubek claimed he never knew he needed a permit.

The dispute remains unresolved. Mr. Tesei said he hoped it would be back on the agenda at the next meeting, Aug. 21, and hoped a resolution would be achievable by that time.

See also: Harbor Mooring Permit SNAFU: Protected Birds, Raft-Ups, Murky Issues of Jurisdiction

Comments at Public Hearing Focus on Dredging, Harbor Master and Issue of Authority

Old Greenwich Resident Taking Harbor Master, Shell Fisherman to Court

Greenwich Harbor Master’s Report: Shrinking Harbors, Fewer Moorings


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