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Lawrence Mayor's Boston Marina Trust Fined $25K Per Day

The Boston Conservation Commission voted Wednesday to issue an enforcement order with penalties until piers 6 and 8 in the Navy Yard are repaired.

The original version of this story first appeared on Charlestown Patch.

Martin Oliner, the mayor of the Village of Lawrence, was issued a $25,000 per day fine on Wednesday by the Boston Conservation Commission for apparently allowing a marina he owns to fall into a state of "disrepair."

After about an hour of discussion, the commission unanimously voted to issue an enforcement order, fining the Shipyard Quarters Marina Trust and Oliner $25,000 per day until Pier 6 and Pier 8 in the Charlestown Navy Yard are repaired and made safe for the public.

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“This is your fault. This is your total lack of responsibility,” Conservation Commissioner Stephen Kunian told Asher Herzberg and Tracy Lloyd, who spoke on behalf of the trust at the meeting. “I don’t know what Mr. Oliner’s other projects are, but in Boston he’s the equivalent of a slumlord.”

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection identified Shipyard Quarters Marina as “unsafe” and “in disrepair” as far back as June 2010. Among the problems were missing support piles, corroded metal pilings, corroded electrical boxes, rotting structures and wooden debris throughout the marina.

Oliner told Five Towns Patch that he is "not involved" with the marina on a "daily or monthly" basis.

"I’m not a part of it," he said. "I have to look into it."

In July 2012 the DEP issued an enforcement order demanding Oliner make immediate repairs. Oliner asked for more time to complete the project.

At Wednesday’s enforcement hearing, continued from Nov. 7, Oliner’s representatives again asked for an extension, saying Pier 6 needed to be completely reconstructed.

Lloyd, appearing for the first time on the matter, said he had been meeting with contractors and engineering firms to develop plans for both short-term and long-term repairs.

“It’s a multi-million dollar repair, rehabilitation and reconstruction project,” he said.

Herzberg said the team already had a signed contract with an engineer to repair pilings on Pier 8 and that they planned to have a permit request to the commission within “a matter of weeks.”

Workers have already placed a temporary railing on a walkway on Pier 8 and have completely closed off Pier 6, Herzberg said.

But commissioners were disappointed that they had yet to see any engineering plans.

Commissioner Antonia Pollak said marina representatives should return with official engineering plans by the commission’s Jan. 9 meeting.

“With all due respect, we have been asking for plans and schedules from the beginning. We do not have any of that,” Pollak said. “We have absolutely no assurance that you hired a contractor. We need to see your plan, short-term and long-term. […] This has gone on too long.”

The hearing drew a full room of Charlestown residents and city officials who also spoke out against the conditions of the marina.

“Right now, my blood is boiling because we’ve been coming here for weeks and weeks…” City Councilor Sal LaMattina said. “You were supposed to be here tonight with a plan. What you’re doing tonight is stonewalling the people of my neighborhood, and it’s not right.”

Resident David Alexander said he had kept his boat at Shipyard Quarters Marina for seven years and watched the condition of the facility deteriorate during that time. He called the marina “a blight on the waterfront” and “an absolute eyesore.”

“Frankly, I think the time has come far beyond talking about fines and litigation," Alexander said. "The property needs to be taken away from this guy.”

Following the meeting, Lois Siegelman, president of the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard, said she was glad that the commission had “stepped up to the plate.”

“We’re just very, very pleased that the commissioner stood behind what they have been saying for the last four months, that [the marina representatives] needed to show up with plans and action, and they didn’t do that.”

In addition to the Conservation Commission enforcement hearing, the DEP has filed an administrative order against the marina owner, who has appealed the order, Conservation Commission secretary Stephanie Kruel said. The DEP will hold an internal hearing on the matter at the end of February.

David P. December 14, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Prior to Super Storm Sandy, the Lawrence Village Marina was in a state of major disrepair. We have recently been informed that the marina will be rebuilt and open for the 2013 season. Sadly, it took a super storm such as Sandy to facilitate the much needed repairs and replacement of unsafe and unusable parts of the marina . After reading this article, I see similarities between the Boston Marina, and the condition of the Lawrence Village Marina prior to Super Storm Sandy. Hmmmmm.
Navy Yard Resident December 14, 2012 at 03:58 PM
This is why people don't trust politicians. Oliner saying he's "not involved" is just not true. He's always been in regular contact with the marina staff but I suspect it's usually about collecting slip fees or denying requests for funds to make repairs. Herzberg claims the railing he installed was "temporary" but the locals know it was meant as a permanent, inexpensive structure to prevent access to a larger area of the dock that would require more costly repairs. How can these guys sleep at night? Where is their integrity? Amazing that this guy duped an entire town in NY into electing him mayor.
Carmela Soprano December 15, 2012 at 01:33 AM
Five Towns residents should just stop by and look at the shambles of the "Isle of Wight", in his home town of Lawrence, NY. This guy just is not getting it. They still have no power, a broken levee which causes floods daily, raw sewage lines which pumps above ground 24-7 into lord knows where (illegal and a threat to public health) and still no contract for his community fire protection. Mr. Oliner has become the slumlord of Lawrence as well!

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