A Rockport property owner, Maurice Harmon, has accepted an administrative consent agreement with the town to replant trees and pay a fine after violating the Rockport Shoreland Zoning Ordinance and Land Use Ordinance earlier this year.

In April, Rockport Code Enforcement Officer Scott Bickford received a call from a neighbor of Harmon's 27 Calderwood Lane property, who reported that trees had been cut down in the Shoreland Zone.

Bickford said that Harmon was initially reluctant to allow him on the property, but he was able to see and photograph the site from the neighbor's property line. Bickford observed an estimated 15 fresh tree stumps of several diameters, including saplings, in the assumed 75-foot high water line on the property. He also noted that the forest canopy had opened as the result of trees removed from an area outside of the 75-foot setback.

Bickford submitted a copy of the consent agreement to members of the Rockport Select Board, which they endorsed at a June 25 meeting. The agreement includes a provision that a $500 penalty be paid to the town by Aug. 16. A plan for replanting trees on Harmon's property at 27 Calderwood Lane will need to be approved by Bickford, and the planting of new trees will take place prior to Nov. 1.

The plan for revegetaion involves planting trees which satisfy a point system in the town's Land Use Ordinance where various points are assigned to trees depending on age and size; Bickford said that 16 points were assigned to remediation on the premises based on a 25' by 50' rectangle. The contract says that the trees will be "native trees of a size no less than eight feet in height for hardwood trees and six feet in height for softwood."

"I used my judgement. I don't know how many trees [Harmon] took out, maybe he didn't take out the 16 points per rectangle, but he didn't let me on the property to determine that," said Bickford. Bickford said that he felt the consent agreement presented was a fair one, and added that Harmon had become cooperative in resolving the matter.