State, Pier 6 at Odds Over Chapt. 91 Requirements

The goal to get a tall ship restaurant into the Navy Yard has now become a bureaucratic question on waterways licenses, with the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) asserting that the tall ship needs a license for Pier 6, and the owner’s consultant is not necessarily in agreement.

Charlie Larner, owner of the Pier 6 restaurant, had petitioned the Licensing Board last week to extend his liquor license to cover the 300-plus seat tall ship restaurant. However, in a spirited community meeting, several questions about the long-standing Chapter 91 issues at Pier 6 (all of which were caused by a previous derelict owner prior to the purchase by Chuck and Anne Lagasse) came to bear.

This week, the state DEP said that a temporary Chapter 91 license is definitely in order for the tall ship.

“That project proponent has contacted DEP,” said DEP spokesman Joe Ferson. “We informed him he would need to the permit to authorize that temporary activation. The proponent will need to apply for a Chapter 91 permit and a permit will last no more than six months. Today (June 28), we have not received any application or any project details.”

Meanwhile, Larner and his team, which includes longtime Harbor consultant Jamie Fay of Ft. Point Associates, felt that a Chapter 91 license was not necessary for the tall ship.

“All deference to DEP, but it doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that would require a Chapter 91 license,” said Fay, who is consulting on the project for Larner’s Navy Yard Hospitality Group. “My understanding is this ship is not going to be permanently docked there and he’s preparing to have it in the summer and it would end up in another location in the fall and winter.”

Fay said in his experience a license would only need to be sought if the boat was permanently attached to the pier, not via a gangway or ropes, but with some sort of structure. That, he said, is not being proposed for this project.

Larner said the ship has a motor and it has sails and can operate as a boat, noting that it isn’t a permanent structure.

“This is a vessel and a ship that has a motor and has sails,” said Larner. “It is not a permanent structure, which is one of the requirements for Chapter 91. It can leave at any time.”

Meanwhile, the hearing at the Licensing Board last week resulted in a continuance last week, and Larner said they will use the time to meet with neighbors who have concerns.

While he said the Parris Landing condominium board has submitted a letter of support this week, there is still work to be done at Constellation Wharf in particular.

The Board there submitted a formal letter of opposition to the 245-foot tall ship and the new capacity for the ship and the patio area.

“It is Constellation’s position as a direct abutter with first-hand knowledge of this pier being used as a bar and restaurant that 1,361 patrons is simply too many for the applicant to properly monitor and is a recipe for disaster,” wrote the group through their attorney, Michael Parker.

Larner said he plans to meet with those neighbors, and some in Flagship Wharf that had concerns as well. Another hearing at the Licensing Board is going to happen on the matter, but a date has yet to be set.

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