Town pushes back on RIFF

Fri, 08/11/2017 - 9:45am

The Town of New Shoreham and Interstate Navigation have filed a second motion seeking to remand their case against Rhode Island Fast Ferry’s pursuit of a Quonset Point to Block Island fast ferry route back to the Division of Public Utilities and Carriers. The complaint for judicial review submitted to Superior Court by both of the entities seeks a reversal of the Division’s June 23, 2017 denial for remand and for a “full and fair hearing.”

RIFF, owned by Charlie Donadio, Jr., was granted a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity by the Division on Sept. 22, 2016 to operate the ferry service with the stipulation that it find suitable dockage at Old Harbor. Paul Filippi, who is partnered with Donadio in the venture, is responsible for providing dockage through his company, Bluewater, LLC, and is going through the steps with the Army Corps of Engineers to satisfy the dockage requirements for the service.

In April of 2017, Superior Court Judge Richard Licht remanded the case back to the Division for what was termed “additional findings of fact,” to which the Division and RIFF both objected. 

A joint motion for remand to the Division filed by the Town and Interstate on March 10, 2017 asserted that the docking proposal by Bluewater, differed from the docking plan submitted to the Division during the administrative proceedings. That remand request by the Town and Interstate was denied by the Division on June 23, with the Division stating that the Town and Interstate’s arguments “failed to show that RIFF’s docking proposal had been totally disposed of.”

This time around the Division stated its objection to remand in a memo sent to Superior Court on Aug. 8: “There is no meritorious basis for a second remand on this issue — because, once again, neither the Town nor Interstate have proffered any evidence that there has been a dispositive denial of RIFF’s docking proposal by the Army Corps of Engineers or the Coastal Resources Management Council — and the Town’s and Interstate’s motion should be denied.” 

RIFF also submitted an objection to Superior Court on Aug. 8 noting “insufficient cause to revisit Bluewater’s (and RIFF’s) planned Old Harbor docking facility construction efforts.” 

The motion by the Town and Interstate will be heard by the Superior Court on Tuesday, Aug. 15.