Concord – December 12, 2008 – In a sweeping Administrative Order, the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services has ordered Ossipee Lake Marina to remove its docks from the lake within 10 days and apply to the State for approval to put them back in the water next year.
The Administrative Order, which was issued on December 9 and signed by Harry Stewart, Director of DES’ Water Division, charges marina owner Kevin Price with illegally changing the location and size of the docks and increasing the number of slips without required State approvals.
Before the business can put docks or boats back into the lake, it must bring the structures into compliance with State regulations, according to the document.
DES said it discovered the violations after Price hired a landscaping company to build a shoreline retaining wall in August 2007. State officials said the plans submitted to DES by the landscaper contained a survey by White Mountain Survey Company showing docks that were substantially different from what was in place when Price purchased the property in 1997.
In June, DES sent an inspector to the site who found the marina’s three boat docks had been rebuilt to be larger and have more slips, and that the fuel dock had been similarly expanded. The agency said it has no applications on file for the work. The inspector further reported that the business had eight boats berthed along the shoreline of an adjacent lot.
1988 Court Order Cited
State officials said the marina’s scope of operations is governed by a 1988 court order that limits the business to 66 slips and establishes the location and dimensions of the boat docks and fuel dock. The court order, which formed the basis of a DES Wetlands Permit to operate the business, ended a protracted lawsuit between the State and a previous owner, who had failed in his attempt to sell “condominiumized” boat slips.
The DES inspector’s June report stated there were 78 boats docked at the business, and the docks were nearly double the approved width. The inspector further found that all three docks were between 24 feet and 32 feet longer than their approved length and had been relocated up-river from their established location.
In its Administrative Order, DES said Price submitted a letter about the landscaping project to the agency in April that “demonstrates knowledge” of the 1988 Wetlands Permit that governs the operation of his business.
Gas Tanks Also at Issue
DES says it has other issues with the marina.
In a separate action, the agency’s Oil Remediation and Compliance Bureau has cited the business for violations involving the above-ground storage tanks that supply gasoline to the fuel dock through underground lines.
In a written report, the agency said the marina does not have leak monitoring equipment for the system, and is not in compliance with State standards for secondary containment in the event of a leak.
In a July 10 letter, DES said the business “is not currently eligible for reimbursement of cleanup costs incurred should a spill occur at your facility.”
The Bureau also reported that registrations for the gasoline storage tanks and storage areas were “out of date and inaccurate,” monthly inspections were not being conducted and documented, and a “high level alarm” for the system was inoperable.
In a Letter of Deficiency, the Bureau said the business could be fined $2,000 per day if it fails to bring the fuel delivery system into compliance.
About time the Marina had to obey the law, just like the rest of us do.
Too bad Freedom’s Board of Selectman didn’t do their duty and require compliance ages ago. The law, and the violations, have been clear for years.
20 years without State inspection? Or did a drawing of structures non-compliant with 1988 permits finally get reviewed by someone other then the Marina’s primary inspector?
Would not a more timely, or meaningful, State inspection back when there was money to be made have better motivated the owner to bring his business into compliance? Wouldn’t this whole thing have worked out better if that had just happened?
Living on Broad Bay and having to listen to the same people complain about taxes, boating traffic and web cams, why don’t you leave these people alone! I happen to own a business and nothing aggravates me more than people wasting their time complaining. I would be willing to bet the same people who are trying to shut this marina down are the same people who build on a non-conforming lot or who build to close to the water because they have a “friend” on the planning or zoning board. If they blatantly went against a decision made by a planning or zoning board then they should be fined, but if not leave them alone and mind your own business!
Don’t you think we have a big enough government and more serious problems in the world than to try to shut down a little marina on Ossipee lake?
well said. the lake is littered with violations but the focus will be on the buisiness’s that make money. I’m all for making sure the lake is preserved but many of the people, including locals do more to harm the environment than protect it.
frigging politicians! when you chase away all of the profitable businesses then who will you harass… oh ya, the out-of-state home owners on the lake. Must be using Ossipee as a model.
I support the marina and am a customer but this guy has been asking for it for years. You can sweet talk local politicians (no problem) but when the state tells you to take your docks out of the water its something else. You have to go out of your way to make the state that mad but he did, and now I wouldn’t want to be in his shoes.
I could not agree with you more Dan, if the state tells you to do something you should do it plain and simple, there is no “gray area”.
The problem is the cities and towns. When is enough-enough? It seems taxes keep going up and the local governments are still looking for more and more money. When property values go down do you think taxes go down? Absolutely not!
This is a case, in my mind, where you have people with way too much time on their hands and local government’s with an open checkbook.
Having first hand experience in this a couple times, knowing and seeing with my own eyes who shows up for these “board meetings” I find it hard to believe every citizen knows exactly what is going on.
I also find it hard to believe the people complaining care what is going on in the rest of Freedom, Ossipee or Madison for that matter. All these people care about is what happens right next to them or what directly effects them, nothing else.
I have seen planning/zoning boards loose decisions in Superior court only to appeal it to the Supreme court on the tax payer, did they have a say?
I would not be surprised to see a lawsuit form the same group saying the “water was to cold” or maybe “it was to high and my children could not swim in March”.
For God Sakes leave them alone!
Maybe the selectmen’s bizarre position in that Marina Supreme Court appeal finally convinced the State that the Town of Freedom really did need some help. Mr. Price was fully aware of the business limits on the marina when he bought it. I don’t begrudge his initiatives and I think he correctly judged the character of the town government. I just hope the marina comes back into compliance and we can all give this topic a rest.
Jim… not to complain, but are you complaining about complainers complaining? :-]
Don, alot of people remember the first owner Reg Clancy and then the Barnacle family that took it over. They ran a great business and people liked and respected them. There is a model for a successful business at that location that the current owners don’t understand or dont seem to care to understand.
Are you kidding? Picking on him?? There has been numerous violations over the years which the owner has continued to ignore. No one is trying to put him out of business – he is doing it to himself. Do you think that we shouldn’t be concerned that he doesn’t have his gas tanks in compliance and that basically they have no alarm system in place in case of leakage??
Is this still considered being “picked on”??
Laws are made for businesses such as this one.
I would not like to see the Marina close, does sound like he has some issues to address. I will say my cousin owns a house on the lake. A neighbor has put in an illegal dock about two years ago and he can’t get the State to do anything. I know that is not fair.
Speaking of taxes and the state stepping in, is there any truth to the rumor that the state will be doing an audit of Freedom’s tax collections?
I would like to see that audit.
It’s businesses like the marina and the politicians who protected them that are killing Freedom, not the homeowners.
Home values have plummeted, while taxes keep going up. No wonder everything is for sale up here – with no buyers in sight. THAT’S what’s killing the place. And the worst is yet to come.
The businesses can try to blame homeowners, but we all know who profited, while homeowners paid the price in taxes and declining home values.
When they current homeowners finally all bail out – which we are doing – good luck collecting the level of taxes Freedom expects from the new owners, who will have paid pennies on the dollar for these properties.
The downward spiral has already begun, and nothing can stop it now. Sadly, the worst is yet to come for Freedom — and blame can be traced directly to those who let it happen.
By the way, Jim, I own a business, too, and like most business owners I comply with the laws and regulations.
It’s called the cost of doing business. If a business doesn’t want to pay that cost, it shouldn’t complain when the piper comes calling.
Maybe an independent audit could also finally help the town account for whatever happened to the check from Mr. Price’s disputed fine? My guess is that the town’s inaction got the check past its “cash by” date and not depositing the check is now considered the board’s passive acceptance of Mr. Price’s position in that dispute.