GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

May 11, 2013

Tool Co. site plans draw new concerns

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — Residents and some town officials alike are raising questions regarding the owners’ plans for the former Cape Ann Tool Company site.

The plans call for 13 single-family homes throughout 14 lots on the Granite Street site, in addition to a water taxi, boat slips and commercial space. The owner, Michael Rauseo of Cape Ann Tool LLC also plans to install 15 permanent pilings and 3,600 square feet of seasonal docks in Pigeon Cove Harbor, according to a legal notice.

Harbormasters Scott Story and Rosemary Lesch said a number of the comments presented earlier this week during a so-called Chapter 91 public hearing hosted here by the state Department of Environmental Protection, were negative regarding the project.

In a letter to the state Department of Environmental Protection’s Waterways Program, the harbormasters wrote the proposed changes will interfere with the Army Corps of Engineers federal anchorages and vessels moored there. The letter also expresses concern that water-related changes would displace commercial and recreation boats.

Hank Betts, who chairs the Planning Board, said Friday about seven moorings would be displaced to a marina. Betts said the marina should offer the same rate as the moorings, not a reduced rate as the developers suggested.

A Pigeon Hill Street resident also wrote a letter to the state agency citing his mooring concern.

”I am sure the price I would pay would be more than the $203 per year that I currently pay,” Bruce Reed wrote. “I would also like to say that Rockport has a waiting list for moorings, and I waited over 10 years to get a mooring 15 years ago.”

Betts said the presentation lacked certain details, such as where the boat slips would go during a storm, how the proposals would affect fishermen.

The plans also call for 32 parking spaces, Betts said with retail space, a multitude of boat slips and other uses for parking, the 32 spaces did not add up.

”It’s like trying to put a 10-pound bag of sugar in a two-pound bag,” he said Friday.

Betts said previous plans with Old Colony Maritime LLC called for a 13-foot walkway, but current plans include only a 10-foot walkway. He added he is not against site development of the plans themselves, but there was a lack of detail during the public hearing.

While Finance Committee Chairman Wally Hess also said there were some details to be discussed, however, he added that he was supportive of the project.

“I, along with the Finance Committee, are very interested in seeing this project proceed,” he said.

Town officials from different boards and committees are set to meet with Rauseo on Monday, Betts said.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation issued a letter to the Massachusetts DEP in April, indicating the single-family houses are within the 100-year floodplain, the site must meet several state and federal guidelines related to floodplain development.

One Granite Street abutter said she is in favor of the site as well, but has one reservation about the proposed water taxi.

Mary Jane Kornacki wrote a letter to the DEP in April as well.

”As an abutter to the property, I support the proposed building of single-family homes on the site,” she wrote. “Development there is long overdue.”

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.