Richardson Bay regulators have begun issuing checks as part of the first round of payments in a new vessel buyback program aimed at clearing derelict boats from the inlet.
The program, which pays the offshore boat residents known as anchor-outs for their vessels, has attracted five participants, said Steve McGrath, director of the Richardson’s Bay Regional Agency.
As of Thursday, four vessels had been turned in and four checks were distributed. The vessels are 37 feet, 30 feet, 24 feet and 22 feet long. The payments, respectively, are $5,040, $4,650, $3,600 and $3,240.
An agreement has also been struck on a 47-foot vessel for $7,050, with an exchange tentatively set for next week.
“We’re very encouraged by the reception to the program,” McGrath said. “We would encourage people who are interested in this to move on this quickly. It is first-come, first-served.”
Under the terms of the program, the boat owners receive 80% of their payout up front. The remaining 20% will be paid within 60 days.
The intent of the program is to offer incentives rather than resort to enforcement, McGrath said.
“We do have deadlines for removal of vessels and those deadlines will be enforced,” he said. “But for now, people can get value for their vessels.”
The RBRA board voted in June to approve the buyback program, which offers vessel owners on Richardson Bay a rate of $150 per lineal foot.
The agency hopes to prioritize vessels that are in the eelgrass protection zone. Buyback applicants are not limited to one boat.
The vessels are being stored at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers boatyard in Sausalito. The boats will be disposed of, but there is no set date for destruction. McGrath said two other boat owners have expressed interest in the program, but no agreement has been reached.
The agency, under a settlement reached last summer with the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission, is working to remove the anchor-outs in order to protect eelgrass. The agency estimates there are about 60 vessels in the bay.
Jeff Jacob Chase, an anchor-out and candidate for Sausalito City Council, said the buyback system is only appealing to boat owners who need money to leave the area. He said the majority of the bay residents remain intent on keeping their vessels and protesting their removal.
“The anchorage off the coast of Sausalito must remain,” he said. “That anchorage will be held down. They will sail out and not sell out.”
He said the buyback program was just one facet of a larger issue related to housing availability in Marin and along Richardson Bay.
“This isn’t a long-term plan,” he said. “It’s not sustainable.”
In August, the agency hired a nonprofit, MarinLink, to accelerate payments and committed $100,000 to the program. MarinLink, which is based in San Rafael, was founded in 2003 and acts as a fiscal sponsor for community projects.
The agency’s board unanimously approved a $70,000 contract. The approval followed another $30,000 contract executed this month by staff.
MarinLink will charge a 5% administrative and overhead fee based on total value distributed. If all funds are distributed, it will receive $5,000.
The buyback program is set to end in December. Unused funds will be returned to the agency. The program follows a decision by the agency to abandon a plan to create a mooring field for 15 vessels to reside until 2026.
The authority — an agency of Mill Valley, Belvedere, Tiburon and the county — enforces a 72-hour anchorage rule in the bay.
Denial of responsibility! Bulletin Reporter is an automatic aggregator around the global media. All the content are available free on Internet. We have just arranged it in one platform for educational purpose only. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials on our website, please contact us by email – [email protected] bulletinreporter.com . The content will be deleted within 24 hours.