Back Shore proposal shot down in 6-0 vote


Caroline Enos

Site of the proposed development of four homes on the ocean side of the Back Shore


In an unanimous 6-0 vote, Gloucester’s Planning Board voted on March 3rd against a plan for the development of four homes on the ocean side of the Back Shore.

Over 150 people were in attendance at City Hall as engineer Robert Griffin, and Save Our Shores Gloucester representative Martin Del Vecchio, presented their stances on the potential Back Shore development.

“We are a group of concerned citizens who preserve Gloucester’s undeveloped shoreline and protect natural habitats and wildlife for the benefit of all forever,” said Save Our Shores Gloucester head Barbara Silberman. “Our immediate goal is to protect the four lots currently under a sales agreement from development and new construction, whether that is one house or four.”

The building plan submitted on January 7th proposed that four homes supported by steel columns and anchored to the rocks could be built on the Back Shore. The Planning Board shot down the plan on Thursday night because it lacked specific logistics.

Griffin, who presented in place of the Back Shore property’s owner Cheryl Soones, claimed that the homes could be built on the land despite it being labeled as “unbuildable” by the city assessor’s office. However, after the board’s decision, Griffin and Soones will now look back at their plans to see if modifications should be made in order to help push the development forward.

Save Our Shores Gloucester has seen an outpouring of support from the community. Over 100 people have made donations totaling in $6,675 to the group for legal fees and other costs, and the “Save Our Shores” Facebook page has received over 20,000 hits.

“With the help of more than 300 citizens from a broad-cross section of the city, we have worked to ensure that the Planning Board will deny the subdivision application from Cheryl Soones, owner of four ocean-side lots on Atlantic Road.” said Silberman.

“Since our longer range goal is to protect other parcels of undeveloped coastline in Gloucester, we believe that this protection will enhance the quality of life for all Gloucester citizens, enhance the city’s culture and tradition of the sea, encourage tourism, and foster appropriate economic development.”

More definite proposals will be submitted by Griffin and Soones in July.