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August 22, 2013

City, state officials weigh DPA, Cape Pond

Cape Pond Ice owner Scott Memhard should know in about a week whether the city will support his request to have his Commercial Street property removed from the coverage of Gloucester’s Designated Port Area.

Memhard met for two hours Wednesday with city and state officials, including Mayor Carolyn Kirk and state Sen. Bruce Tarr, but left the meeting without receiving an official response to his request.

Following the meeting, Kirk was non-committal on whether the city would support Memhard’s request for removal, either through the current DPA review by the city and the state Coastal Zone Management agency, or by statute in the Massachusetts Legislature.

Kirk, however, said she and other officials at the meeting have “sufficient information to address a response” regarding “the extraordinary circumstances of this property owner.”

That response, she said, will come in a letter from the city that should take about a week to draft, based on Wednesday’s discussions.

Memhard had no immediate response after the meeting, except to say he felt the officials fully listened to his reasons for wanting to exit the DPA. Memhard’s lawyer, Meredith Fine, later reiterated that appraisal.

”The mayor and her team gave us a heck of a grilling.” Fine said. “She listened extremely hard to what we were saying, and we felt like they gave us a very fair hearing.”

Beyond that, she said, Memhard has no real expectation of what the city will decide to do.

”We wanted to be able to make our case and we believe we got the chance to do that,” Fine said. “This is not an easy or simple situation.”

For Memhard, the most encouraging appraisal of the meeting probably came from Tarr.

”Scott and his folks definitely made a compelling case,” Tarr said. “Now we have to sort out the best and fairest way to assist him.”

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