Union Hall plans move forward
Rockport — Rockport Select Board members approved several proposals made by Mike Sabatini representing Landmark Corporation Rockport Properties LLC and Glen Cove TND LLC during their regular meeting Sept. 10.
After determining that consulting work being performed by Selectman Geoffrey Parker did not present a conflict, Sabatini made a brief presentation citing proposed work to be done in the area of Union Hall. The most noticeable project taking place currently is work being done to the rear wall of the structure. Sabatini said it was discovered the rear wall was severely bowed.
“It is in really rough shape,” he said. “The 12-inch [thick] wall bowed 6-inches...it's basically disconnected from the rest of the structure.”
Sabatini went on to explain the proposed floor plan of the building, which will house a cafe and market on the first floor in addition to one or two residential units on the top floor.
There were five total projects discussed Monday evening, the first being a drainage project. Sabatini said drainage work completed by the company will benefit the opera house as well as Mary Lea Park.
“I'm asking the town to accept the improvements as a gift,” he said.
“I'm satisfied...this drainage is in everybody's best interest,” Selectman Charlton Ames said, acting as chairman in William Chapman's absence.
Public Works Director Steve Beveridge weighed in as well, noting the town has “limited drainage in the village.” He said pubic works will have oversight of the project and predicted the improvements would not need attention until the next generation. Selectmen approved the drainage project with a unanimous vote.
The second proposed project was to share costs for sidewalk improvements in the area of Union Hall. Sabatini said a portion of the sidewalk needs improvement and the company would be rebuilding that portion regardless of the select board's decision. He proposed the town pay for materials to be used on town-owned portions of the sidewalk, with the company purchasing its own materials for private sections of sidewalk as well as providing all of the labor. According to Town Manager Robert Peabody, the cost to the town for materials will be $6,219.50.
“We're asking to basically share the public portion,” Sabatini said. “...it will be a great improvement to pedestrian access.”
“I think it's a great idea...sidewalk improvements at a bargain rate,” Selectman Kenneth McKinley said.
Beveridge noted the street will lose 6-inches but said the loss will not impact the ability of Rockport Marine to move large boats, let alone the regular flow of traffic. He said there have been plans to address the sidewalk for several budget cycles but knowing the company would likely address the issue at some point in the near future, the project was put off.
“I was hoping they were going to pay totally for it and they pretty much are,” he said of the company.
The request was unanimously approved.
Thirdly, selectmen discussed allowing the town manager to consult with the town attorney regarding an easement allowing the town to take on some liability for any potential injury claims at Mary Lea Park, part of which is privately owned.
“This isn't an unusual situation,” Peabody said.
The select board offered no objections to continuing the discussions and drafting an easement agreement.
Talks then moved to landscaping. The company was seeking to landscape publicly-owned property within the right-of-way, as well as maintain any plantings. Selectmen approved the request, noting public works will have oversight.
Sabatini then explained the last request: to allow the town to remove ledge owned by the company to create a better access point for future uses of a “man-lift” to perform exterior work on the opera house. He said the ledge removed could be used by the company as fill, saving the town disposal costs.
“We don't have to pay for it [hauling rock away]. And you don't have to pay for it [buying fill].,” Vice Chairman Tracy Lee Murphy said, adding it's a “win-win” for both the town and company.
Peabody said the estimate of $12,000 is reasonable for the work, though it remains unclear which town account the money will come from to pay for it. The request also allows for adjustments to the existing easement, denoting appropriate town uses of the space.
“We can't just put a tent down there for a beer garden,” Peabody said. “There will be specific easements for use.”
Selectmen approved the request.
The Camden Herald Editor Stephanie Grinnell can be reached at 236-8511 or by email at email@example.com.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Mike Sabatini's name.