, Gloucester, MA

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July 16, 2013

Fence stirs questions at Fort hotel site

An SUV navigated the tight corner of a chain link fence newly erected Monday at what was formerly the Birdseye site — and what hotel proponents hope will become the location of a new waterfront hotel.

The almost 90-degree heat rose off the lot and encouraged people beneath beach umbrellas to head into the water at Pavilion Beach, where stand-up paddle boarders pushed across the surface.

But while Mayor Carolyn Kirk said the chain link fence, labeled as temporary, was not meant to discourage beach goers nor paddlers, neither she nor hotel proponents specified its actual purpose, except to point to legal appeals against the hotel as being at the root of the need for the fence.

“(The hotel project) is under appeal, and my biggest fear is the last time a chain link fence went up around an opposed development, it was up for 25 years,” Kirk said, alluding to the I-4, C-2 property on Rogers Street. “I just wanted to put it out there as a reminder to the community that we have to find a way to move around these battles.”

Attorneys representing Beauport LLC, Cruiseport owner Sheree DeLorenzo’s team working to build a 101-room hotel on the property, did not return calls for comment Monday.

But Michael Faherty, the land attorney who represents Mortillaro’s Lobster Co. in an appeal of the Conservation Commissions’ issuance of its order of conditions, the order of resource area delineation, the Chapter 91 license, and the special permit for the project, said he believes the mayor stands on one side of that chain linked fence.

“Is the mayor on the Beauport payroll?” he quipped, after seeing her social media postings about the fence, which included the connection to the 25-year barrier at I-4, C-2.

He said Beauport LLC has filed no claims against the Mortillaros regarding the lot.

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