To the editor:
I am writing this as an open letter to our Gloucester city councilors.
I urge City Council to vote “no” on all the issues before it related to the Designated Port Area, including not supporting Cape Pond Ice’s request for removal from the DPA, City Council’s own potential action to seek removal of I-4, C-2 from the DPA, and the item that would potentially place the DPA on the city’s ballot for citizen vote in November.
There are two main reasons for my perspective, which I urge City Council to adapt as its own. First, the city, through the office of the mayor, has initiated a DPA boundary review. No individual actions should be supported or undertaken until after this review is completed and its recommendations evaluated.
Secondly, the DPA is a critical and extremely valuable asset to the hub port of Gloucester and ought to be preserved. While some businesses located within the DPA, may have mixed feelings about the DPA, the value of safeguarding these properties and adjacent water sheets for 50 percent marine industrial/water dependent use cannot be denied.
Furthermore, the value of the economic output from these properties is never presented in the discussions that occur concerning the DPA.
There are many businesses that contribute a great deal to the economy and employment opportunities of this community and region. This is a critical piece of the discussion that City Council has not sought or brought to public attention, and which City Council ought to bring forward and present to the community as the critical piece of the local economy of which most people are unaware.
The increase of allowable supporting uses to 50 percent of the property in the last Harbor Master Plan greatly expanded the opportunities available to business owners. Even with this liberalization of the uses, I do understand that achieving those uses in a tough economy is not easy. But those factors should not change the commitment to sustaining a DPA.