The Darien Boat Club has invited residents to attend a public forum on the club’s plan to dredge the mouth of the Long Island Sound above Pear Tree Point Beach to make way for 100 additional boats. The Army Corps of Engineers is scheduled to attend the meeting, which happens at Town Hall on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m.
The plan would increase the club’s capacity by 40%. David Dever, the boat club’s commodore, told The Darien Times that the club began examining how to meet the rising demand back in 2008 and two years ago settled on the dredging plan.
“We went to the Department of Environmental Protection and said, ‘Does this idea work for you? Is this plausible, or are we going to get laughed out of the building’,” Dever said. The department, now called the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, or DEEP, encouraged the club to pursue its dredging application, expressing a desire for more recreational boating opportunities, Dever said.
The project is still in the early stage of the application process and needs DEEP approval before moving on to the relevant town bodies, which would likely include the Board of Selectmen, the Planning & Zoning Commission and the Environmental Protection Commission.
Although it’s far from being set in stone, the project has sparked controversy among some environmentally-minded residents, as it would require the boat club to dredge a 61,000 square-foot area and remove roughly 19,500 cubic yards of material to provide the additional 400 feet of dock space.
Jennifer Errington, a former Darienite whose parents still live in town, established a petition on Change.org, a website where people can post petitions to gather support. As of Wednesday evening, 58 people had signed the petition, all current or former residents.
Check out The Darien Times’ Thursday, Oct. 11 print edition for the full story, on newsstands Thursday morning.