Cape Pond Ice owner Scott Memhard, by all accounts, can expect a full hearing Wednesday when he meets with a dream team of elected officials and city staff on his request to have his property lifted from the state’s Designated Port Area restrictions.
But it could be a while before he finds out if the city administration and Gloucester’s State House delegation will be willing to lend their support to his quest.
“I’m going in with an open mind, with the understanding he has made a formal request,” said Mayor Carolyn Kirk. “He will get a response from the administration. We will take a position on his request. What that position is, I don’t know.”
Kirk said she first wants to make sure Memhard understands the current harbor planning process, as well as the intricacies of the DPA review the city currently is conducting with the state Coastal Zone Management agency. The city last month was awarded a $400,000 federal Environmental Protection grant to carry out an inventory and analysis of public and private parcels along the city’s waterfront.
“I have a lot of questions for him,” Kirk said. “I’ll have my staff with me so we can engage in detail. Then my staff and I will huddle and we will get him an answer.”
And when might that be?
“If all our questions are answered and we’re satisfied we have enough information to make a decision, then it will probably be within a week,” Kirk said. “If it bounces to another meeting or more followup, it might take a little longer.”
Kirk and the city staffers will be joined at the meeting by state Sen. Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante — both of whom say they are going into the meeting with open minds on the issue of whether Memhard’s request makes sense against the backdrop of current efforts to revitalize the waterfront and reinvigorate the city’s commercial fishing industry.