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October 3, 2016
I’m writing as a concerned citizen of Oriental over the proposed travel lift and boat cleaning station at Fulcher Point Seafood. I’m also including two videos, one of a boat travel lift moving a boat and a second video of a boat being pressure washed over a State approved cleaning containment basin. These videos give a small representation of the loud industrial nature of these operations, operations which I believe are not in the best interest of Oriental’s harbor.
Oriental’s harbor has always been a wonderful mix of the town’s traditional fishing operations and the recreational boating and tourism drawn to our community. The shrimp boats and commercial fishing businesses provide an economic benefit along with adding charm to our town, but the proposed travel lift and cleaning basin will change the nature of the fishing facilities dramatically.
There is nothing charming about this proposed operation. It is very much an industrial operation.
This video (above) of the travel lift moving a boat was shot at Jarret Bay, with a large travel of comparable size to the proposed lift. It was shot at the approximate distance the proposed lift will be to the town’s piers and only a short distance further to the Toucan Grill and Oriental Inn & Marina. At this distance the sound measured on a decibel meter was over 100 decibels, which is rated as a significant nuisance and damaging to hearing if prolonged.
The video (below) of the pressure washing clearly shows the containment area does not contain overspray, and this is of a relatively small boat with a small amount of growth. A larger boat will create considerably more overspray than is shown in this video clip.
In the Application for Special Use Permit, the applicant listed the Intended use of the property as: “Commercial Fishery/Boat Yard/Marina” and the Current use as: “Same”. The addition of the travel lift and associated activities is a dramatic change in the use of this property.
In the “Planning Board Recommendations on Chris Fulcher SUP Requst” under section 18.104.22.168.4, the Planning Board states: “The Planning Board has been presented with no evidence that the proposed project will not be in harmony with development and uses in the area.”I respectfully request the Planning Board and Town Commissioners to look at these videos and tell me the proposed uses are in harmony with a hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, and boaters coming to the town marina for an enjoyable stay aboard their boats.
Imagine this: If this SUP was not proposed and the town was working on an economic development plan, it is almost impossible to imagine anyone would think adding a marine travel lift and boat cleaning basin to the heart of the village would be a good idea. Go to Jarrett Bay boat works, which is a great company and good business friend to Beaufort, take a good look at their operation and then go to the waterfront in Beaufort and tell me you can imagine it being a good thing for Jarrett Bay to relocate to the heart of Beaufort’s waterfront, right next to the restaurants, marinas, inns and shops.
It’s inconceivable anyone would think this is a good idea, yet that is what is being proposed in our village.
I have been coming to Oriental for over 25 years. My wife and I have been home owners here for ten, currently owning multiple homes in the village. Oriental is in a great place today, better than I have seen in years, with increased home building, new restaurants and new businesses proposed.
This travel lift and associated operations will drastically change our harbor – and not for the better. Our quaint village center is no place for this type of operation. I hope all of the residents of Oriental who care about our village will let their Commissioner’s know this is not the direction they want to see taken in our town.