After expressing their dissatisfaction with how the city communicated the process of changing an ordinance this past spring, Gloucester residents will have a chance to speak up Tuesday night. 

The City Council will host a public hearing on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m. about the amended ordinance that allows the area off of Forest Lane in front of Haskell Pond to be used as a shooting range for the city’s Police Department.  

The public hearing comes after some residents complained the community was not given enough warning of the changes, as they fear for the safety of hikers, cyclists, and dogs. At a community meeting at the range in October, more than 150 residents signed a call for more discussion. 

The new ordinance, approved in April, increases the number of days the Gloucester Police Department can use the West Gloucester shooting range. 

Under the new ordinance, the use of the range is limited to firearms training for active and retired members of the Gloucester Police Department. 

According to the changed ordinance:

The range is open from May 1 to Nov. 1 and every Wednesday between those dates.

Biannual state-mandated training shall take place during the first 15 days of May and the first 15 days of October.

Hours of operation are restricted to 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. except for “specific low-light training which will be conducted no later than 10 p.m. on those specific days.”

No shooting is allowed on Saturday, Sunday, or any state-recognized holiday.

The ordinance change was due to the state changing the requirement for police weapons training that requires every officer to qualify, at minimum, twice a year on every type of weapon the department has.

Other business

In addition to the public hearing, the full council is scheduled to adopt its decision to grant special permits to the Goetemann family as it seeks to preserve art gallery space at 37 Rocky Neck Avenue.

After the council adopts its decision to grant the permits, the Goetemann family will be able to add skylights and dormers to the existing mixed-use condominium building in order to add dwelling units. 

By adding these units, the family will be able to give the art gallery on the first floor to the Rocky Neck Art Colony so that artists can utilize the space as they capture Cape Ann's picturesque landscapes and quaint coastal communities on canvas.

A public hearing for 99A Essex Ave. to allow building heights in excess of 35 feet; marine-related service, storage or repair, limited primarily in the MI District to commercial fishing vessels; and lowland requirements has been continued to Jan. 26.

Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

IF YOU WATCH

What: First regular City Council meeting of 2021.

When: Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 6 p.m.

Where: Zoom, via computer at https://gloucester-ma-gov.zoom.us/j/87543456411; or via phone, 1-301-715-8592 or -1-312-626-6799. Meeting ID is 875 4345 6411.

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