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May 16, 2013

Tool Co. site talks focus on moorings

Owner, officials meet behind closed doors

ROCKPORT — The owner of the former Cape Ann Tool Company site is standing by plans to include up to 34 new boat slips along the seawall on the property.

But the issue is drawing opposition from the town’s own harbormasters and Pigeon Cove fishermen, and the selectmen’s chairwoman says she views any proposal that would displace current town moorings as being “off the table.”

Property owner Michael Rauseo said Wednesday that the installation of 34 boat slips off the seawall would effectively displace seven moorings in Pigeon Cove Harbor. However, he added any mooring permit owners that do have their installations displaced would have access to the slips for the same cost as the moorings.

“Our engineer determined we could add 34 new slips along our seawall,” Rauseo said Wednesday. Rauseo added this would mean seven moorings would be displaced, but any mooring holders would have access to the boat slips for the same price of the mooring permit fees.

Rauseo added that the slips are designed to be removed and installed easily, and there was an area set aside where the slips would be put in the event of a storm, one of the questions raised at the state Chapter 91 hearing. In all, the project would add 27 boat access points to the harbor, Rauseo said.

Rockport Harbormasters Rosemary Lesch and Scott Story, however, said that 16 moorings would be displaced, not seven. Mooring permits bring in $7 per foot per vessel for the town.

Pigeon Cove Harbor houses anywhere from 58 to 60 vessels per year, about half of which are commercial.

While anyone in the country can get a mooring permit in Rockport, the wait list is lengthy; some residents have waited more than a decade to get a mooring.

The harbormasters were not the only ones against boat slips planned for the Tool Company site.

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