To the editor:

My Rockport residency, life experiences and background form my qualifications as a write-in candidate for Rockport Planning Board on Tuesday, June 30. I’ve spent 40 years in commercial banking and private industry exposing me to numerous events involving land use and planning. As a commercial banker, I’ve analyzed countless real estate appraisal reports describing topics such as highest and best use. If elected to the Rockport Planning Board, my experience affords me the opportunity to be immediately productive.

Additional affordable housing opportunities are needed in Rockport. Rockport’s first responders – police and fire – and teachers are often priced out of home ownership within the town they serve. Some cannot afford to live here, placing them, and us, at great disadvantage. The forever shrinking amount of developable land in Rockport serves to drive the price of real estate ever higher. We must commit to sustainable zoning that allows for the development of land parcels that create opportunities for young families to own homes in Rockport while preserving the unique character of the town. I believe that undeveloped land parcels exist within our community to serve this purpose – the survival of our schools depend on this goal. The alternative is continued gentrification of our community.

As a full-year resident of Rockport since 2016, I’ve witnessed a number of opportunities that may have addressed some of the deficiencies that we are saddled with today. Our school-age population continues to shrink; revenues remain flat; and expenses continue to rise. Our cash burn rate is not being met by current revenues – our capital expenditure needs require the town to borrow or request tax overrides. If not for the impact of COVID-19 and the early closure of our schools, voters would have had to decide on an override to fund our school system.

The town of Rockport is blessed with significant areas of open space including Dogtown, with all of its walking trails and rock formations; quarries and motions, including Halibut Point State Park; the Atlantic Path, and other areas. I believe there is a balance between areas that can be developed to support affordable housing and places that are not suitable for anything other than the natural landscape that currently exists. Critics have stated that the burden on municipal services, specifically water and sewer, will be too great for Rockport’s infrastructure. I say, the infrastructure must be maintained in such a way as to meet the current needs of the town’s residents while addressing the needs of the future. The town has committed to a badly needed Department of Public Works facility; why can’t we plan for maintenance and upgrades to our sewer and water capacity?

If you believe that I will well serve the town of Rockport Planning Board and the town’s residents, applying a balanced approach, please write in my name for Planning Board this coming Tuesday.

Harry Korslund

Rockport

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