Port considers commercial vessel designations

Sept. 22, 2018 — The Port of Siuslaw Board of Commissioners met Wednesday for its monthly meeting. Two items discussed will impact recreational and commercial anglers that dock on a long-term basis at the port.

The first of these was the end result of a review to determine the appropriate wording to be included in contracts with potential renters.

The commissioners voted unanimously to accept staff recommendations to change the definition of a “commercial vessel” for the purposes of clarifying rental rates for long term slip rentals. The resolution, 9-19-18a, was passed with the intent of increasing lost revenue due to a misuse of designation. It amends a prior resolution, 3-15-17a.

Previously to this week, any vessel that was over 50 years old was allowed to claim a cost decrease as a “commercial” vessel primarily because it was considered an historical craft.

These old vessels were then eligible to receive a reduced rental rate for their moorage slip.

This presented problems as some older vessels were rarely if ever used for the purpose of commercial fishing.

Another aspect of the issue was the sea worthiness of the boats docked at the marina.

As discussed at the meeting, some of the people docking at the marina owned boats that were not seaworthy. This was a violation of the agreements signed between owners and the port.

Port Manager Dave Huntington felt the change was needed to address issues that had arisen when evaluating standards for rental slips.

“The old definition of a historical vessel in our commercial fishing contracts was given if a vessel was 50 years old or older, with nothing required to show that the owner was commercially fishing. The new ordinance states that to get a designation at an actual commercial rate, the owner will have to show fish tickets to prove they are really fishing for commercial purposes,” Huntington said.

The amended resolution reads, “A commercial vessel is any vessel engaged in a maritime trade and the fishery.”

Under these changes, “A non-active commercial vessel that does not have current season, or one year prior to the current season, landing tickets will be considered a recreational vessel at recreational rates.”

The commissioners may also determine an inactive vessel’s eligibility for commercial rate.

The second meaningful action taken by commissioners was the decision to allow the port to create an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) agreement with the State of Oregon to allow the port to apply for a number of grants and funding streams that it currently is not qualified to apply for.

“The state requires an IGA and a strategic business plan be in place in order to access state funds,” Huntington said. “Our strategic plan is in place; we just need to be updated through a public process. Once we approve our new IGA, we will be able to apply for grants from the state that are specifically for small ports like ours.”

The commissioners agreed with the need for an IGA to be in place and scheduled a special meeting for Monday, Oct. 1, at 6 p.m. to finalize it.

During the meeting, commissioners also discussed the potential for selling parcels of a 40-acre plot owned by the port to developers or to the City of Florence.

Commissioner Bill Meyer recounted discussions that were held with City Planner Wendy FarleyCampbell that explained infrastructure changes that would allow for more parcels to be sold without developers needing to spend millions to install new roads and sewer systems.

Commissioners agreed to continue discussions with the city and the meeting was adjourned.



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