Freedom – May 20, 2009 – The Wetlands Bureau of the N.H. Department of Environmental Services has signed an interim consent agreement allowing Kevin Price to return Ossipee Lake Marina’s docks to the lake while he appeals State charges that he violated his operating permit by expanding docks and adding boat slips.
The agreement, signed on May 14, averts what Price’s attorney, Michael J. Scott, said would have been a “catastrophic business lapse” if his client was unable to return the docks to the water in time for the boating season.
On December 3, DES ordered Price to remove the docks and their footings from the lake after a year-long investigation showed the marina was in violation of the 1988 State Permit governing its operations.
According to the investigation report, the marina had 78 boat slips instead of the 66 that are approved, and all three seasonal boat docks had been reconfigured and relocated. In addition, the agency said the size of the fuel dock and boat docks had been increased by a combined total of 81 feet.
None of the changes were authorized by the State, according to the agency’s report.
The December Administrative Order gave Price the option of bringing the docks into compliance with the 1988 Permit or applying to the agency to modify the permit. Instead, Price in January appealed the agency’s ruling to the DES Wetlands Council, the body that handles appeals of State Administrative Orders.
In his appeal, Price, who purchased the marina in 1997, said he “only recently” obtained a copy of the 1988 Permit. The Londonderry resident further claimed that the 1988 Permit had been superseded by a 1993 permit that was based on a 1992 plan that he had been “unable to locate.”
Price conceded in his appeal that between 2006 and 2007 he replaced the seasonal wooden docks with aluminum docks and reconfigured the boat slip fingers without applying to the State. In explanation, he said the changes were made for safety reasons and they did not increase the “footprint dimensions” of the structures. He suggested that the changes to the fuel dock were made by a previous owner.
Regarding his use of boat slips on the shoreline of adjacent residential Lot 42, Price said those slips were “not controlled by the Permit” because the Town of Freedom had denied his use of the property for marina purposes.
While the docks are back in the water, the legal case continues. The Wetlands Council will hold a pre-hearing conference on Price’s appeal this afternoon in Concord, at which time it will determine whether the appeal will move forward and, if so, when it will be heard.
Price has had other troubles with DES. In 1998 he was cited by Freedom Conservation Commission for filling wetlands, and in 2001 was ordered by the State to remediate the damage, a process he completed in 2003.
Last July, the agency’s Oil Remediation and Compliance Bureau issued a Letter of Deficiency in regard to secondary containment, citing him for not having leak monitoring equipment for the underground lines that pump gas to the fuel dock.
The agency also cited him for having inaccurate and out of date registrations for gas tanks and gas storage areas, and for not having monthly inspections or a working high level alarm for the monitoring system.
An official with the Oil Remediation and Compliance Bureau says the business has made progress in addressing the complaints and a final inspection of the upgraded system is expected to take place this week.