West Haven becomes 24th CT municipality to adopt a harbor management plan

Details from the West Haven Harbor Management Plan

Details from the West Haven Harbor Management Plan

After years of planning and preparation, the city has adopted it’s first harbor management plan, officials said last week.

The City Council passed an ordinance on Sept. 10 adopting the plan, which the West Haven Harbor Management Plan Commission spent more than three years working on.

Passage of the ordinance made West Haven the 24th municipality in Connecticut to have an adopted harbor management plan, said David W. Killeen, assistant city planner, in a news release.

“This is a very important step for the city,” said Harbor Management Commission Chairman Gene Pacapelli in a news release. “We will now have input to the state and federal agencies that are making decisions on structures and dredging in the city’s navigable waters.

“Previously, the city had no role on those decisions,” Pacapelli said.

The plan will be used to guide the most appropriate uses of the city’s navigable waters and intertidal areas for recreational, commercial and conservation purposes for years to come, said Killeen.

“The city is pleased to join other Connecticut coastal communities that have taken steps to actively manage their harbor areas and shoreline,” said Mayor Nancy Rossi in the release.

Killeen said the harbor management plan outlines goals, strategies, policies and recommendations for the use and conservation of the West Haven Harbor Management Area.

The area identified in and governed by the plan includes the navigable waters and intertidal areas within the city’s municipal jurisdiction on the West River, New Haven Harbor, nearshore Long Island Sound, Old Field Creek and the Cove and Oyster rivers.

The Harbor Management Plan, which the city began working on in 2014, was prepared by the Harbor Management Commission with its coastal consultant, Geoffrey Steadman of Westport.

The process included multiple meetings of the commission and several opportunities for public input.

“We are extremely grateful to our consultant, Geoffrey Steadman, who was able to prepare a comprehensive plan for us,” said Pacapelli.

The plan, as required by law, was reviewed by state and federal agencies with jurisdiction over the harbor area, including the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and the Army Corps of Engineers.

It was modified during the process to reflect the various agencies’ input.

Another key aspect of the plan is that it will make the city more competitive for grants affecting the Harbor Management Area, said Killeen.

Earlier this year, the city received a grant from the Connecticut Port Authority to evaluate the potential to create an improved public boat launch.

To read and download copies of the Harbor Management Plan, go online to http://www.cityofwesthaven.com/DocumentCenter/Index/69.