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Pier Project May Be Halted

Town officials overseeing the construction of a pier at Stramski's Beach will find out next week if an appeal filed by abutting neighbors will halt construction.

Depending on the outcome of an appeal filed by abutting neighbors, town officials overseeing a $186,000 at may be forced to order that construction be stopped.

At a Harbor & Waters Board meeting Monday night, board chairman Gary Gregory announced that the town has filed a motion to have an appeal recently filed by the owners of a neighboring property dismissed. 

A pretrial hearing for that appeal, which was filed by Stramski Way resident Dr. Murray Goodman, is scheduled to be held in Boston on April 11.

"That hearing is to determine the validity of the appeal that the Goodmans have filed against our superseding order of conditions," Gregory said.

Following Monday's meeting, Goodman said he filed the appeal based on the length of the pier and the fact that it "didn't reach the water line." 

According to Gregory, there are two likely outcomes to next week's hearing.

"They could either say 'forget about it, the appeal is not valid' and it will just be dismissed - or they could give us each homework assignments...and then the real deal will be in July," Gregory said.

The 'real deal' being a court date scheduled for July 17 that will be held if the case goes to an administrative appeal, Gregory said.

"I know that our Town Counsel has moved to have the appeal dismissed but I have no idea how all of that works," Gregory said at Monday's meeting.

Does the appeal mean the project has to be stopped?

"We can keep going and finish the pier - the part that gets interesting is that the current superseding order of conditions allows us to add two more bends, which is 40 more feet of pier," Gregory said.

If construction is to be completed before the April 11 hearing, Gregory said workers from the Salem-based company, North Shore Marine Inc., will have to move quickly to drive in six more pylons.

"The final two pylons are part of the lift mechanism for the gangway and we could go ahead and drive those two pylons where they were originally approved but that would be silly - because that's not where we want them," Gregory said.

For the time being, Gregory said the goal is to have as much of the pier completed by April 11.

"If we're lucky we'll get that all finished close to the hearing date and if we don't we will just have to stop building it where it is," Gregory said.

The pier was originally scheduled to be built and in operation by mid-May.

Harbormaster Charles J. Dalferro said in October that May 20 was the deadline to have floats and gangways in place.

John Buba April 03, 2012 at 01:16 PM
The bottom line here is that people appealing bought property next to town land. While the land went mostly unused, they had a great deal; they got their property cheaper because it was near a park, but enjoyed their privacy as the park went unused. Now the town wants to put the property to use and they don’t like it. Let me explain it very clearly to them: “YOU DON’T OWN THE PROPERTY” therefore you can’t tell others how to use it. This is the same ridiculous argument that was used in the following Marblehead cases: o Building the YMCA, o The Bubier road home and o The fight about what to do with that little island in the harbor. All cases of people who don’t own the land telling the owners what they can and can’t do. This has to stop.
Oldtown April 03, 2012 at 01:28 PM
I wonder on what grounds the appeal is being argued?
John Buba April 03, 2012 at 03:40 PM
On the grounds that the abutters don't want a lot of people walking by their house all time. :) It is all about THEM, don't you know!
Nathanael Duncan April 03, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Thank you for this question. It is encouraging to experience someone trying to get the facts. I am not involved in this matter but I understand the appeal deals with the proposed floats not being far enough out in the water. If this is correct, the floats could rest on the bottom of the ocean floor at low tides, cause erosion and harm marine life. This is a standard concern for any float and is always considered by the Department of Environmental Protection.
Tom Salt April 04, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Thanks for the explanation ND. I doubt Dr. Goodman is concerned about the impact of erosion and marine life. Furthermore, the floats at Village St sit on the sand (note I did not use the term "ocean floor") at low tide and I don't see any adverse impact there. If that's going to be his case, I suspect the appeal will be denied. The bottom-line is we live in a boating/sailing community and the sole pier for Salem Harbor at Village St. is highly overused. There are hundreds of boaters eagerly awaiting the opening of the new pier at Stramski's.
Frank L. McElroy April 05, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Jack - if you want to live in a place where you can do anything on your property, without consideration for any effect upon neighbors, you are living in the wrong place. You might find it more appealing in Nevada's Black Rock Desert, though even there your absolutist position about property rights would likely draw concern and ire. Your endless screed defies reality, yet you listed the recent local events from which you might have learned that your position does not reflect law, the real world. As for the Goodmans and their appeal, you have forgotten history, no surprise. Their concern over the use/overuse of the Stramski property is long-lived. Whether you agree with their concerns or not, they deserve a hearing because their lives and their property (isn't that your big thing?) will be affected by every decision about that property. Your whining and simplistic analysis, based on bizarre notions of absolute property rights and advantages you claim the Goodmans have enjoyed ostensibly at the expense of the town, deserve the dust bin. The Goodmans have a direct stake in what goes on next door, and you ignore that at the expense of your unsupportable position. Your commentary denying the Goodmans a place at the table must be consigned as the waste it is. You remember that I worked against the Goodmans in promotion of the playground which was constructed years ago at Stramski. I helped build it too. In small ways, these are the measures of a civil society.
John Buba April 05, 2012 at 12:57 PM
Frank, I decry hypocrisy and you seem live by it. Are the Goodman’s really fervent environmentalists or do they pretend to be in order to stop the pier project? Do the people who want to stop boat storage on the little privately owned island in the harbor really care all that much about the lobsters or are they a convenient front for their desire to have a pristine view? On Bubier road, was it about strict adherence to zoning laws or was it a feud between neighbors that got way out of hand? And the grand finale, does anyone now believe that HealthLink’s fight for clean air was ever anything but a front for seeking higher property values on the west shore? Especially now that they have come out against clean burning environmentally friendly natural gas? I have no problem with legitimate arguments, but it always seem that you and your clients have thinly veiled ulterior motives. And the common theme is non owners desperately seeking some legal technicality to control the private property of others. Which is as turns out usually good for your business.

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