[UPDATED Friday, 6:18 p.m.]
Charlestown residents and city officials had harsh words for Shipyard Quarters Marina representatives at a public hearing Wednesday night, and the Boston Conservation Commission backed up those concerns with a hefty fine for the marina owner.
After about an hour of discussion, the commission unanimously voted to issue an enforcement order, fining the Shipyard Quarters Marina Trust and owner/trustee Martin Oliner $25,000 per day until Pier 6 and Pier 8 in the Charlestown Navy Yard are repaired and made safe for the public.
“This is your fault. This is your total lack of responsibility,” Conservation Commissioner Stephen Kunian told Asher Herzberg and Tracy Lloyd, who spoke on behalf of Oliner at the meeting. “I don’t know what Mr. Oliner’s other projects are, but in Boston he’s the equivalent of a slumlord.”
Oliner, who is mayor of the Village of Lawrence in Long Island, New York, told the local Five Towns Patch that he was "not involved" with the Charlestown marina on a "daily or monthly" basis.
"I’m not a part of it," he told Five Towns Patch. "I have to look into it."
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection identified Shipyard Quarters Marina as “unsafe” and “in disrepair” as far back as June 2010. Among the problems were missing support piles, corroded metal pilings, corroded electrical boxes, rotting structures and wooden debris throughout the marina.
In July 2012 the DEP issued an enforcement order demanding Oliner make immediate repairs. Oliner asked for more time to complete the project.
At Wednesday’s enforcement hearing, continued from Nov. 7, Oliner’s representatives again asked for an extension, saying Pier 6 needed to be completely reconstructed.
Lloyd, appearing for the first time on the matter, said he had been meeting with contractors and engineering firms to develop plans for both short-term and long-term repairs.
“It’s a multi-million dollar repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction project,” Lloyd said.
Herzberg said the team already had a signed contract with an engineer to repair pilings on Pier 8 and that they planned to have a permit request to the commission within “a matter of weeks.”
Workers have already placed a temporary railing on a walkway on Pier 8 and have completely closed off Pier 6, Herzberg said.
But commissioners were disappointed that they had yet to see any engineering plans.
“We have voluntarily extended three courtesies to you, and therefore I am a little surprised that you’re not sharing with us some plans,” Commissioner Vivien Li said, referring to several extensions the board had granted Oliner.
Commissioner Antonia Pollak said marina representatives should return with official engineering plans by the commission’s Jan. 9 meeting.
“With all due respect, we have been asking for plans and schedules from the beginning. We do not have any of that,” Pollak said. “We have absolutely no assurance that you hired a contractor. We need to see your plan, short-term and long-term. […] This has gone on too long.”
The hearing drew a full room of Charlestown residents and city officials who also spoke out against the conditions of the marina.
“Right now, my blood is boiling because we’ve been coming here for weeks and weeks…” City Councilor Sal LaMattina said. “You were supposed to be here tonight with a plan. What you’re doing tonight is stonewalling the people of my neighborhood, and it’s not right.”
Resident David Alexander said he had kept his boat at Shipyard Quarters Marina for seven years and watched the condition of the facility deteriorate during that time. He called the marina “a blight on the waterfront” and “an absolute eyesore.”
“Frankly, I think the time has come far beyond talking about fines and litigation. The property needs to be taken away from this guy,” Alexander said.
Ivey St. John, a member of the Charlestown Waterfront Coalition, called Oliner’s efforts to fix Pier 8 a “nickel and dime, Band-aid kind of repair” and said his request for more time was “nothing but a stall.”
She said another company with a proven record of running a marina has offered to purchase the property.
Resident Pam Daly said she has lived in the Navy Yard for about 28 years and stopped going onto the Boston Harbor Walk in the marina area.
“I’m too afraid that one of my wheels is going to go through,” she said, referring to her wheelchair. “I spend a lot of money to live there, and I haven’t been able to go out and enjoy it for at least five years.”
“It’s just a disgrace, and I think you should leave $25,000 on the desk before you leave tonight as a starter,” she added.
Dain Perry, a Navy Yard resident whose condominium overlooks Pier 6, called the deterioration of the site over the 18 years he's lived there “stunning.”
“[Mr. Oliner] seems to feel like he’s playing a game. We need to let him know that he’s not playing Monopoly here. He’s gaming you guys—he’s been doing it for years—and he’ll continue to do it until you slam the table and say, ‘That’s enough,'” Perry said.
Following the meeting, Lois Siegelman, president of the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, said she was glad that the commission had “stepped up to the plate.”
“We’re just very, very pleased that the commissioner stood behind what they have been saying for the last four months, that [the marina representatives] needed to show up with plans and action, and they didn’t do that.”
In addition to the Conservation Commission enforcement hearing, the DEP has filed an administrative order against the marina owner, who has appealed the order, Conservation Commission secretary Stephanie Kruel said. The DEP will hold an internal hearing on the matter at the end of February.