Recommendations for Coast Guard Station

Sat, 01/20/2018 - 7:00am

After what was described as “months of research and consideration of opinion and options,” the members of the Planning Board approved its recommendations for possible uses of the iconic Coast Guard Station, which will now be forwarded to the Town Council.

The next step, according to two memos the Planning Board is sending to the Council, is engaging the public and various stakeholders to see which of the options are either most desirable or feasible. The topic is on the Town Council agenda for Wednesday, Feb. 7.

The primary suggestions for uses are:

Town employee housing, or housing for senior-level municipal staff.

A science and education center that can be utilized as a high school or college campus annex for maritime science studies/climate change and sea level rise research/student dormitories/camping facility.

Rental space for special events/business incubator/bed and breakfast.

A maritime use, such as a boat ramp/dinghy dock/sailing academy.

“Currently, the Coast Guard Station is a large municipal landholding and historic property that is underutilized and in need of rehab, while also incurring significant annual maintenance costs (estimated at $80,000 annually),” the memo to the Council states. “Planning is critical to ensure that this huge opportunity for redevelopment is done in a way and with a mix of uses that creates an asset to the island and addresses some of the needs of the community.”

According to the two memos, the Coast Guard Station sits on two parcels of property, both of which are owned by the Town of New Shoreham. The parcels total 10.7 acres, comprising the main house, a four-bay garage, and a two-story brick Colonial, more familiarly known as the Chief’s House. The properties, land and structures, are valued at $5,538,100. The memo describes the main Coast Guard house as in “poor condition.”

The memo also cites potential drawbacks of redevelopment of the property:

Remote location away from harbors and services.

Need to upgrade sewer and water infrastructure/service to property.

Outside of engaging the public and stakeholders for further discussion, the memos list several other priorities that should be done in order to keep the project moving forward:

Identify relocation options for its current uses and occupants.

Prepare cost estimates for rehabbing existing structures.

Conduct market research for uses that generate income.

Investigate funding/grant opportunities.

Approach potential partners for interest in redevelopment.

“We’re starting a dialogue toward getting this off the rocks and getting it going,” said Planning Board member Sven Risom about the protracted discussions on what to do with the property. Members of the Planning Board have in past meetings cautioned that any actual construction or changes at the Coast Guard Station are years away.