The Gloucester City Council presented Scott Memhard with the hat trick of political support Tuesday night when it joined Mayor Carolyn Kirk and the city’s state legislative contingent to support the removal of Cape Pond Ice’s Commercial Street property from the city’s Designated Port Area.
The council voted 7-0, with councilor-at-large Joe Ciolino recusing himself and councilor Sefatia Romeo Theken voting “present,” to express its support for Memhard’s quest to excise his property from the city’s DPA, which requires that 50 percent of any parcel within its boundaries carry a marine industrial and water-dependent use.
At the behest of Kirk, state Senate Minority leader Bruce Tarr and state Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante currently are in the midst of drafting a bill that would remove the Cape Pond Ice property, located at 104-106A Commercial St., from the DPA.
In recusing himself from the vote and excusing himself from the council chambers, Ciolino cited his need to avoid any perception of conflict of interest due to his business and personal relationship with Memhard.
Theken, angry that council president Jackie Hardy would not allow Memhard’s lawyer, Meredith Fine, the opportunity to rebut speakers who opposed the motion to support Memhard’s request, said she voted present because she did not feel she was getting both sides of the story.
The motion to support Memhard, filed by councilor-at-large Bruce Tobey, sailed through the council’s planning and development subcommittee last week on a 3-0 vote and met with no resistance Tuesday night from any of the councilors — even those admittedly reticent about tampering with the boundaries or composition of the DPA.
“There is a clock ticking on this one,” said Ward 1 Councilor Paul McGeary, who earlier voted against Tobey successful motion to file a home rule petition with the Massachusetts Legislature to remove the city-owned 1-4,C-2 parcel from the DPA. “We need to support him. This is a vital part of our waterfront infrastructure. This is an asset Gloucester needs to preserve.”