SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

March 12, 2014

No more 'working waterfront'?

Beverly will ask state to eliminate port designation

(Continued)

Glenn said the agency would look at the area’s physical characteristics and also whether it has the “character” of an industrial area. After a public comment period and a public hearing, the agency director makes the final decision on whether to change or eliminate the DPA.

Cahill said the city’s designated port area no longer fits the description of a working waterfront. Ships once came into Beverly harbor to unload oil and chemicals for area tanneries, but now the area is mostly used for recreational boating.

In fact, Cahill said the two sites on the waterfront that qualify as marine industrial uses — Rowand’s Fisheries and the city-owned commercial marina — lie just outside the designated port area. The DPA boundaries run from the city’s recreational marina down past the Tuck Point condominiums, encompassing about 63 acres. (Gloucester, with its historic working waterfront, has a DPA of 252 acres.)

The designated port area includes the city-owned Glover’s Wharf, Beverly Port Marina, Tuck Point condos, Jubilee Yacht Club, other small docks and even some homes on Silver Court.

“Pleasure boating is not a marine industrial use, and that’s mostly what goes on on the waterfront,” Cahill said.

Cahill said most people in the community want to see the waterfront developed in a way that encourages public access. The city’s master plan calls for “mixed use” on the waterfront.

Even Frank Kinzie, the Port Marina owner whose legal challenges foiled the Black Cow restaurant plan, said he wants to see restaurants and retail shops. Kinzie has long favored lifting the DPA so that all of the waterfront landowners can develop their properties.

In addition to eliminating the DPA, Cahill said the city would have to take a comprehensive look at the city’s zoning rules for the area. He said the whole process could take a year-and-a-half to two years.

Even though the court ruling on the Black Cow was a setback, Cahill said, “We’ve got a great opportunity to see things on our waterfront that we’ve talked about for some time.”

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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