With the spring and summer boating season just around the bend, the town of Naples is looking to yank illegal moorings from local lakes, ponds and rivers.

Ordinance Review Committee Chairman Skip Meeker announced a revised mooring ordinance on Monday night that would require all boaters to apply for permits in order to moor in public waters.

“This is basically beefing up the current ordinance we have,” Meeker told an audience at a public hearing on Monday.

But before the town can regulate mooring, Harbormaster Raina Bumpus must compile a list of all legal moorings in Naples and weed out all moorings that may be illegal.

“It’s been growing considerably more of a problem over the past couple years and now we’re trying to get a handle on it,” Bumpus said of the mooring issue.

A mooring is a ball with an anchored metal chain tied to keep boats and other watercraft from drifting off with the current.

If the regulation is approved by voters at this year’s Annual Town Meeting, Naples would charge $20 per mooring permit and a $10 renewal fee each year after the permit is issued.

Complaints of illegal moorings and moorings rented or leased to out-of-towners prompted the new regulation.

But regulation of these moorings may prove difficult when it comes to moorings that have been anchored in Naples for years.

Janet Granfield is president of the Sebago Pine Property Owners Association which represents 300 Muddy River property owners.

A few years back, Granfield rowed the Muddy River to count all moorings bobbing offshore the properties. But with little regulation since then, more illegal moorings have appeared in the Muddy River and caused feuds among landowners.

“There’s been a lot more moorings out there because there’s no way to police this,” Granfield told Selectmen at a public hearing.

Granfield said landowners in her association have even accused each other of stealing private moorings. She is in favor of the regulation and would gladly do the “legwork” needed to determine what moorings are legal or illegal on the Muddy River.

Her husband Rick Granfield is confident that property owners in their association will become part of the solution and tell Bumpus about suspected illegal moorings.

Town Manager Derik Goodine has received numerous phone calls from residents complaining about illegal moorings, especially on the Muddy River and in “designated mooring areas” where there is only a limited amount of space for boats to moor.

In these designated mooring areas, no mooring can be less than 50 feet away from another.

“People are putting the moorings whereever they want, whether or not they have the right to,” Goodine explained.

If approved, visitors can still lay anchor in Naples for a temporary period of time.

However, after 24 hours, a mooring would be considered permanent, says the ordinance. And if the owner doesn’t respond to requests by the town to remove the mooring, Harbormaster Bumpus would have the authority to remove the illegal mooring and impound any boat tied to it.

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