ROCKPORT — Money to fund a half-dozen projects through the town’s Community Preservation Act revenues and a proposal to set standards regulating landing areas for helicopters or other aircraft will be on the table for the fall Rockport Town Meeting on Monday night.
The meeting, as always, focuses in part on following up the town budget approvals and other financial issues left from the Annual Town Meeting held in April.
It also gives town voters the chance to weigh in on Community Preservation Act-based funding proposals for a $250,000 Mill Pond restoration project and a $300,000 proposal to repair and restore the nearly 140-year-old Pigeon Cove Fire Station. And it calls for setting town regulations to govern the establishment of “aircraft landing areas,” geared toward the takeoffs and landings of helicopters, such as those that have sparked concerns in the Granite Street neighborhood in recent years.
“Generally speaking, parts of it are more of a matter of financial support — bill paying and so forth,” said Selectmen Chairman Paul Murphy. “But we need townspeople to show up and take part, and there are some interesting issues for debate. I’d love to see the (Rockport High School) auditorium filled with 350 people, and I’d like to think people will want to come out and get involved in the town’s business.”
Along with Mill Pond and the Pigeon Cove station, the Community Preservation projects before voters range from a proposal to steer $15,000 into improvements to Sandpiper Park to $100,000 for rehabbing the Straitsmouth Island boat ramp.
The Mill Pond proposal calls for providing the remaining money needed to dredge the pond, and follows the approval of $350,000 by April’s Annual Town Meeting toward an overall $600,000 project.
“The project cannot begin until the remaining $250,000 recommended by the Community Preservation Committee has been approved,” Millbrook Meadow Committee Chairman Samuel Coulburn wrote in an earlier letter to the Times. “This will give us the amount needed to restore the Mill Pond, so that fish and other wildlife can flourish again, and people can enjoy the pond again, with more room for ice skating.”
All of the Community Preservation Act projects will be aired Monday night under Article E — one of 13 articles than run from A through M. The meeting, set for Rockport High School, is slated to begin at 7 p.m., with check-in prior to that.
The most complex article looms as Article L, which calls for, and outlines, an entire bylaw geared toward regulating aircraft such as the helicopter that Granite Street property owner Ronald Roma has brought in and used to take off over the water behind his house.
While air traffic is largely regulated by the Federal Aviation Administration, some town officials and residents have called for Rockport to have its own zoning standards for allowing places for the storage and use of helicopters and other flight apparatus.
Murphy said the proposed amendment has been backed and advanced by the Planning Board.
“People have followed this and they want the town to have a say on it,” Murphy said. “Now they’ll have to decide what they want.”