ROCKPORT — Despite some pushback from some residents in the Headlands, the Rockport Green Community Task Force will continue its plan to install nine electric car charging stations in town.
On Monday, the town installed three ChargePoint EV stations outside the Town Hall Annex, 26 Broadway. Each station contains two outlets, allowing up to six cars to park and charge.
"They'll be finishing them up this week," said task force member Dianne Finch. "They still need to add some cables."
The town has received a nearly $200,000 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to install new electric charging stations. Selectmen previously voted in favor of putting three each at the Town Hall Annex, the Transfer Station/Park & Ride lot at 2 Blue Gate Lane, and the public parking area at the Headlands. Originally, the task force hoped to install three stations near Back Beach, but due to flooding concerns, they were moved to the small patch of parking spots off Atlantic Avenue.
The Headlands stations will be installed next, much to the disappointment of some in the neighborhood.
Duncan Reid, who lives in the area, gathered 50 signatures from his fellow neighbors in an attempt to halt the installation. The matter was discussed by selectmen at their meeting Tuesday. Previously, selectmen voted to allow the Green Community Task Force to install charging stations at all three locations.
"Everyone is in favor of green energy," said Reid during the meeting, but, "everyone I've talked to said the Headlands is the wrong place and we should absolutely not put it there."
Reid argued the charging stations could hurt the neighborhood's natural aesthetic and bring unwanted commercialism to the rather peaceful neighborhood.
Selectmen were split on the issue.
"It's all about balance," said Selectman Sarah Wilkinson. "I think having them installed in town is a huge win. I think if people aren't ready to have them in neighborhoods close to houses then we'd have to take that into consideration."
Selectman Don Campbell, conversely, said he did not believe the charging stations weren't intrusive to the neighborhood and town in general.
"I see it as a benefit to everyone and really doesn't detract from the neighborhood," he explained.
Selectmen voted 3-2 to continue the charging station project as it was previously approved, with Campbell, Ross Brackett and Paul Murphy voting in favor and Wilkinson and Ruth George voting against.
"If they had voted no, we would have lost the $60,000," of grant money needed for the three stations, Finch said. "We'd never get it back."
Finch said the grant's deadline to install the stations at the Headlands is approaching and they'll be up and running soon.
"ChargePoint and National Grid are ready to put them in," she said.
Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or email@example.com.