FORKED RIVER – Taxpayers will pay just over $72,000 to install a new 8 ” water line at Joey Harrison’s River House, the restaurant located on the site of South Winds Marina, according to documents obtained by Lacey Township Online in response to a public records request.
Resolutions were passed by the Lacey Township Committee and MUA board approving the terms of the agreement in September and October of 2018.
Under the interlocal services agreement approved by township officials, the Lacey MUA will authorize the work to extend the water line, and the Township Committee will spend $72,268 to reimburse the costs of extending the water line to the private business.
The project has been highly controversial and a subject of discussion at recent Lacey MUA and Republican Club meetings. It was also one of the reasons that former Lacey Mayor John C. Parker showed up at a recent contentious meeting of the MUA board and expressed his displeasure with board members.
Lacey MUA chairman Jim Knoeller has come under fire at recent MUA meetings due to allegations of conflicts of interests in connection with the South Winds property, with some allegations coming from his fellow commissioners, and some from former Mayor Parker and those tied to him.
“I think there is a conflict,” LMUA commissioner Jack Nosti said. “That if the chairman has an interest in the – whatever it is down there – bar down there, the old Latitude’s that every meeting should not be held there after this meeting.”
That was a reference to private meetings of the MUA commissioners taking place after public meetings. The MUA attorney, Jerry Dasti, claimed that the meetings are only “social” in nature.
Knoeller, for his part, has denied the accusations and claimed that he does not have a financial interest in the property and only serves in an advisory capacity. Knoeller said he is an advisor to the property “as a friend.” “I don’t get paid,” he said.
Sources with knowledge of the plan who spoke on the condition of anonymity questioned why such a large water line is needed solely for the officially stated purpose of “fire prevention.” One unconfirmed rumor floating around town is that there is a plan to build condos at the site.