Proposed Project at 99A Essex Avenue next to Cape Ann’s Marina Resort
Tobin and Drew Dominick, owners of Dominick Holdings LLC, are looking to permit and install a large indoor heated boat storage building at 99A Essex Avenue, next door to their other property, Cape Ann’s Marina Resort. Currently, a large portion of the boats kept at the Marina in the summer leave Gloucester to be stored elsewhere because the Marina or Gloucester does not have a facility to accommodate them. This is a unique economic development and opportunity for the Marina itself, but also for jobs and economic prospects for Gloucester’s maritime industry. With two marine travel lifts and hydraulic trailers Cape Ann Marina accommodates in the water and out of the water boat storage for boats as big as 90′, 100’+ in water. While many boats are stored on trailers and can legally go over the road to one’s back yard, there are many boats that can’t go on a trailer or over the road. So when it comes to indoor storage for a large boat that can’t go over the road, the Marina will be able to get those big boats inside because they never have to leave the property. This is unique in today’s world of development. There are less and less areas on our portion of developed coastlines and harbors where such a resource like this can happen.
The location of this building is partially on filled tidelands and also resides in a flood zone. The building has been designed to be flood resilient knowing that this area will flood again in the future. The base walls will have areas of water breakaways and will be used as needed. The building will also be able to host solar panels and farm rainwater from the roof – all with the of reusing energy within the footprint and beyond.
Update as of 1/22/2021
As a follow up to requests from the previous P&D meeting, we met with the P&D committee on 1/20. We presented additional shadowing models and answered the committee request for such models. We presented static times at the two equinox’s and solstices. In addition, we showed requested dates by the councilors and went through the moving cloud point technology to answer their questions. We also needed to clarify how the actual height elevations because we made a mistake and interpreted the eave elevation incorrectly. At the previous site visit the eave elevation we showed was 40’ and wanted to explain and tell the committee that is should have been at 49’. Thus resulting in an additional site visit. The second site visit is planned for January 30th starting at 9am. If you are interested in the presentation click here to the city website. If you would like to attend the site visit, you may make your request to the P&D Committee Chair, Val Gilman. 6-7 of the City Councilors where in attendance as Val reported. We welcome any questions regarding the project. There has been a lot of mis-information on social media about this project, so please get in touch if we can help address. Letters of support are strongly encouraged and there is no deadline date yet, until we move forward to a City Council hearing. Follow the below information on how to properly submit your letter via email or likewise. Also more information that has gone on record can be found on the City Council webpage.
Update as of 1/7/2021
We met with P & D (Planning & Development) last night to follow up on the site visit and present answers to questions that came up at the site visit. We also spent time reviewing the shadow study and answering questions as well as went through the legal component of the voting that will occur. As a result some of the Councilors wanted to explore two more shadow models. We will present these models at the next P & D meeting as a continuance of the 1/6/21, on Wednesday, January 20th. This will also move our hearing with the City Council until, Tuesday, January 26th. Of which we would like you to tune in to show your support. Letters of support are now welcome until Friday, January 22, so please read below how to submit your letter via email below.
Update as of 12/20/2020
The site visit took take place on December 10, 2020. A series of questions that came up at the site visit will be addressed at the next P& D (Planning & Development), a sub committee of the City Council, meeting on January 6th, 2021. This will then lead to a City Council meeting on January 12, 2021. This is the last of the permitting in regards to this project, as you will see below the steps and approvals the project has received thus far.
The City Council will be voting on a “Special Permit” for height and usage property, it is a public hearing and all are welcome. Letters of support are being accepted now.
Update as of 12/7/2020
This project since the last update has been impacted by Covid-19 restrictions as well a pending condition with DEP that has now been fully approved and then again approved by Gloucester Conservation Commission.
P & D(Planning & Development), a sub committee of the City Council, heard the full proposal on Zoom in May 2020, and now they are ready to resume with a site visit.
We ask all supports to write a letter (see details below) and attend the Zoom hearing on January 12, 2021. If you do tune in, instead of your name on Zoom if your could use “CAM supporter!”
Please confirm all meetings, dates and times plus links to Zoom in on the City of Gloucester’s website:
As of 5/1/2020
The proposed project passed The Zoning Board of Appeals at the end of 2019.
Site Plan review took place on 2/20/2020 and the project passed.
The Conservation Commission hearing opened on 2/19/20 and passed on 3/4/2020.
P & D (Planning & Development), a sub committee of the City Council, on May 6th and then City Council TBD.
By Deb Eliason, Eliason Law Office
CITY COUNCIL SPECIAL PERMIT EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
The Cape Ann Marina and Resort (“Marina”) has been operating out of its property on Essex Avenue since 1972. It is a family owned and operated business focusing on the needs of local residents and visitors and is a destination by land or sea and a second home for many of its boaters. It is a full service marina with year round boat storage in and out of the water, a fuel dock, pump out, boat launching and hauling services, repair service, retail boat parts, engine and boat sales. It is also home to many small and large fishing, diving and sightseeing charter businesses again hosting many visitors and impacting our city’s tourism economy. It is an amenity to the City that draws many visitors that utilize not only the Marina facilities, but also seek out and patronize other businesses in the City. Because it operates as a year-round facility, its fiscal impact can be felt all year.
The Marina intends to construct an approximately 34,320 square foot indoor, climate-controlled boat storage facility (the “Project”) at 99A Essex Avenue (the “Property”). This proposed use is consistent with the uses allowed in the Extensive Business Zoning District (“EB District”), which favors businesses servicing regional clientele. It is also in keeping with the existing mix of commercial uses in this area and the Marina’s Chapter 91 license and location on the riverfront. The proposed building will allow the Marina to store boats both large and small in an indoor, temperature-controlled boat storage facility. Such facilities are highly desirable and those facilities that are able to accommodate large boats are scarce. Establishing one in Gloucester will likely encourage many boaters to seek out the Cape Ann area for their marina and boating activities.
The building has been purposely designed, at greater expense, to minimize the visual impact of the height at the street level. Windows along the streetscape of both Essex Avenue and Julian Road bring the building down to a human scale. The awning along Essex Avenue also acts to visually lower the height of the building by dissecting it two-thirds of the way up the face of the building. Furthermore, the color and materials are designed to blend with the other buildings on the Marina property.
The Marina, and its associated businesses, is a large employer in the City, employing approximately 300 people during the Summer season and 150 people during the off season. Keeping its business current within the marine industry is necessary for it to continue to employ people in the numbers that it does today.
The Marina requests Special Permits from the City Council to allow the new building height of 55’ in excess of 35’, to allow for marine related storage use and for relief from the lowlands requirements. See Zoning Ordinance, §§3.1.6 (b), 2.3.4(13) and 5.5.
Special Permits Should Be Granted
The Project meets the six criteria set forth in Gloucester Zoning Ordinance (GZO”) section 1.8.3. Social, economic, and community needs are served by Project because the proposed use is consistent with the uses allowed in the EB District and consistent with the existing mix of commercial uses in this area and the Marina’s Chapter 91 license and location on the riverfront. The Project will likely encourage many boaters to seek out the Cape Ann area for their marina and boating activities. This will also create economic opportunities for other Gloucester businesses and will allow the Marina to continue to employ people in the numbers that it does today. Traffic flow and safety is preserved and there will be no new traffic flow on Essex Avenue or Julian Road. All traffic and activity will be directed toward Essex Avenue and away from the residential neighborhood to the west of Julian Road. Utilities and other public services will be adequate to serve the Property. On-site utilities will be updated as necessary and will be adequate to meet the needs of the new boat storage facility. The Project is consistent with Neighborhood character and social structure created by the existing mix of residential and commercial uses in this area of Essex Avenue. The proposed building will present a neater and more orderly appearance to the area along Essex Avenue abutting the residential area. In addition to moving a lot of the noise and activity that now takes place in close proximity to the residential neighbors along Julian Road inside the building, the building will also provide a buffer between the residential neighborhood and the other activities taking place on the Marina property. The proposed building will be constructed so as to maintain the Quality of the natural environment. The environmentally sensitive areas on the Property have been taken into consideration in the siting of the proposed building, which will be located entirely outside of the 100’ buffer from the Coastal Bank and only partially within the 200’ Riverfront Area. The building was substantially reduced in size from the original proposal so that the front yard setbacks along Essex Avenue and Julian Road could both be met minimizing its impact on the abutting residential neighborhood. The potential fiscal impact is positive. Establishing this type of boat storage facility in Gloucester will make Gloucester a destination for many boaters that might otherwise go elsewhere. More visitors to Gloucester creates more economic opportunities for all Gloucester businesses and the City as a whole. Furthermore, the new building will likely increase the assessed value of the Property and add commercial tax revenue to the City’s tax rolls. This Project is a good example of the blue economy, which is a priority of not only the City but also the State.
Pursuant to GZO § § 5.5.2 and 5.5.3., the special permit for relief from the lowlands requirements is warranted because the proposed structure, a commercial boat storage facility, will not pose any hazard to the health or safety to the occupants thereof. None of hazardous criteria stated Section 5.5.3 exist under the Project.
Lastly, the criteria discussed above pursuant GZO § 1.8.3 make it clear that the Property is suitable for a boat storage facility and entitled to a special permit under GZO
Accordingly, the requested special permits should be granted by the City Council. The proposed boat storage facility falls squarely within the uses contemplated in the EB district and by Chapter 91, which also governs the use of this Property. As a port city, it is important that the City support its marine oriented businesses – the blue economy has become a focus both locally and on the state level. That is especially important when that business helps to establish the City as a destination year round – which helps all businesses in the City to prosper. The requested permits will allow the Marina to add an important amenity to its facilities that will help it remain a viable and successful business that is one of the larger employers in the City.
this economic development for Gloucester, for our Blue Economy and the boaters in need.
Stay on top of the project and help support the project, your support is important right now:
The letters of support can be sent to the City Clerk at the following email or mailing address: City Council c/o Joanne Senos, City Clerk – email@example.com Please cc: Tobin Dominick firstname.lastname@example.org and Deborah Eliason email@example.com and mail to: City Council
c/o Joanne Senos
9 Dale Avenue
Gloucester, MA 01930
Topics to address in your support letters…
We suggest reading the Executive Summary (above) of the project for topics to expand on as it relates to your personal opinions, backgrounds, Gloucester and its economy, the marine industry locally, nationally and internationally etc.. We appreciate any support to our existing businesses here as well as efforts made by the Dominicks and their staff.
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