OCEAN CITY — Controversial plans to extend a pier and add eight new boat slips in a highly congested area of the Little Assawoman Bay are back on the fast track after the state’s Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a wetlands license application for the project.
About two years ago, the Portofino townhouse community in a little sliver of Worcester County cut off from Ocean City by Delaware along the Little Assawoman Bay just south of the Fenwick Ditch applied for extension of its existing pier by a little over 250 feet and requested approval for the addition of 16 boat slips.
Several local, state and federal agencies reviewed the request, and after considerable evaluation of possible environmental and public safety impacts, a compromise of sorts was reached allowing for the pier extension and the addition of eight new boats slips.
The Portofino community currently has 16 boat slips and requested 12 additional slips, which would bring its total to 28.
The federal Army Corps of Engineers signed off on the plan as proposed from a navigational standpoint, but the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) asked Maryland Natural Resources Police (NRP) to review the potential navigation hazards before signing off on the proposal. NRP studied the congested area and determined eight new slips, and not the 12 requested, would be more appropriate.
This week, after two years of bouncing up and down the approval ladder, the state’s three-member Board of Public Works on Wednesday approved a wetlands license application for the boat-slip plan, essentially providing the last piece of the approval puzzle for the somewhat controversial project with no discussion, according to BPW agenda summary. The agenda summary also points out, “this case is classified as an extraordinary case because a public informational hearing was held.”
However, the apparent lack of an opportunity for the public to weigh in on the proposal continues to agigate residents in the neighboring Montego Bay community.
The Montego Bay Civic Association continues the fight against the approval of the dock extension and boat slip addition at neighboring Portofino, pointing out the addition of a considerable amount of boat traffic to an already congested area.
The main channel that serves Caine Woods and Montego Bay, two of the most densely populated areas in the resort, is shared with boat traffic from Delaware through the Fenwick Ditch, creating a confluence of several canals and waterways in the area the project is proposed.