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All wells and supplemental reservoirs are fed to Cape Pond as needed and water from Cape Pond is then processed through one of two filtering processes in the Water Filtration Plant above Cape Pond.
For more information visit DPW's Water Filtration Division page.
Additional sources are used to supplement both of these reservoirs
For more information visit DPW's Water System Information page.
Real Estate Tax Facts
The Fiscal Year (July 1, – June 30,) tax rates are determined in the Fall, prior to the bills being mailed. The Department of Revenue approves the tax rate after the classification hearing.
Tax bills are issued by the Town Treasurer they can be reached at 978-546-6648.
Massachusetts Law provides for a uniform assessment date – January 1st – for each tax year. The assessment date is January 1. The assessment date establishes the ownership, condition and occupancy of each parcel. If your property was purchased, sold, subdivided, renovated or suffered fire damage after January 1, these conditions will be reflected on the Fiscal Year tax bill.
New Owners and Tax Bills
Massachusetts Law requires local Collectors to issue the tax bill to the owner of record on January 1st preceding the tax year in question. If you acquired the property after January 1st, tax bills will be sent out in the former owner’s name for the remainder of the Fiscal Year. It takes a full billing cycle (1 year) for ownership name changes because the law stipulates the ownership/assessment date of January 1. As a rule, this issue should be discussed in detail at the closing and sale of property since errors could result in a lien against the property. Former owners who receive a tax bill after the sale of their property are requested to forward the bill to the new owner. However, this is voluntary. The new owner is ultimately responsible for procuring their property tax bill and paying the taxes once this sale is recorded with the Essex Registry of Deeds.
Please note: The Assessors department may mail tax bills “in care of” the new owner if timely receipt of the new property deed permits them to do so. “Amount due” information is always available by contacting the tax collector/treasurer.
Change of Tax Bill Mailing Address
If you are the deeded owner of a property and wish to have your tax bill mailed to an address other than the property’s location, please complete an address change form.
An abatement is a reduction of a property tax, based upon review and correction of a property’s assessed value. Massachusetts General Law provide for an abatement procedure that must be followed when taxpayer’s believe that their property is over-assessed, disproportionately assessed (this refers to an entire class of property, not to any individual unit or development), improperly classified or exempt from taxation. An abatement application may be filed by the person to whom the property is assessed, or the person who became the owner of the property after January 1.
Applications for abatement must be filed with the Assessor’s Office after the first tax bill is issued. No abatement can be granted unless the application is filed on time. The bill must be paid, even if an abatement application is pending.
Abatement Forms are available online or in the Assessor’s Office.
Property Tax Assistance
Personal Exemption reduces all or a portion of the taxes assessed on property. Personal exemptions are available to qualified homeowner’s who are elderly (at least 65 years of age), blind, surviving spouses, minor children of deceased parents or veterans with service-connected disabilities. Each exemption has eligibility requirements (e.g. age, income restrictions). You may not receive more than one personal exemption. However, if you qualify for two or more exemptions, you will receive the exemption that saves you the most money.
No income restrictions are attached to the Veterans or Blind exemption.
Please contact the Assessor’s Department at 978-546-2011, email email@example.com or in person at Town Hall, 34 Broadway for further assistance.
Early in the writing of MA General Laws a personal property tax was created on a property owners’ non real estate items such as farming tools and equipment, horses, cattle, furniture, appliances, etc. After many years the law was revised to exempt these items from taxation if the property was the “domicile” or primary residence of the owner.
Rather than requiring the Assessors value all the furniture, appliances, and furnishings in each city/town, the Department of Revenue requires that a study be conducted on second homes by the Assessing Office to determine the average value of the furniture, appliances, and furnishings in homes, as a percentage of the building value.
SECOND HOMEOWNERS – PLEASE BE AWARE THAT IF YOU ARE THE ASSESSED OWNER AS OF JANUARY 1, 2023 YOU WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR PAYING THE ENTIRE FY 2024 PERSONAL PROPERTY TAX BILLS.
It is the policy of the Rockport Board of Assessor's to use the following documents as the primary references for determining if you are legally domiciled in Rockport:
Motor Vehicle Registration, Proof of Voter Registration, Valid Massachusetts Driver's License, Current Years Federal Tax Return, Bank Statements, Census Information for the Town.
MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL LAW CH. 9 SEC. 18 provides that tangible personal property taxes shall be assessed to the owner of record as of January 1st. The supreme Judicial Court has held in all its cases that the question of ownership relates to the date when the status of the property is ascertained for the current year. It is further held that taxes are assessed annually, not however, for a period of time but as of a fixed day and that it is immaterial if the property has been sold, destroyed or removed. Therefore, the tax is due and payable for the entire Fiscal Year.
The tax rate for FY 2024 is $8.42 per $1000.
FY2023 Tax Rate is $9.43 per $1000.
Unless the animal's presence is causing a clear Massachusetts Health Code Violation, the Board of Health cannot have jurisdiction over the animal(s). Wildlife is protected under the State of Massachusetts; for more information, visit Mass.gov - Division of Fisheries and Wildlife page to review the Massachusetts Laws and Regulations that govern wildlife.
Yes. Before selling your home, you and/or your realtor should arrange to have a Title 5 Septic Inspection to determine the condition of your system. The inspector will write up a full report; this will get submitted to the Board of Health and the Health Agent will review the report. If the Inspector and/or Agent find that any repairs need to be made to have the system compliant with the Massachusetts DEP Title 5 Regulations, a Licensed Septic Installer will need to make the repairs. The Installer must be licensed in the Town of Rockport. For a list of Title 5 Inspectors, you may go to the MassDEP website.
The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulates the installation and oversight of septic systems in Massachusetts; these regulations are referred to as "Title 5". You may read about Title 5 and the rules and regulations that govern the installation, maintenance, and abandonment of septic systems on the Mass.gov - Septic Systems and Title 5 page.
Email John Coulon, Health Inspector, or call 978-546-3701 to give the name of the establishment, and the condition/violations/complaint, and he will investigate.
You should immediately contact your landlord/property manager to show them your concern and point out that you suspect that it may be mold. Your landlord/property manager should have an expert inspect the premises and remediate at once if so (at their expense). If you have attempted to work with your landlord/property manager and the problem/suspicion persists, contact the Health Agent to log a complaint and request an inspection (there is no cost for the inspection). Any and all violations will need to be remediated on a particular timetable. The Board of Health assesses a fine for violations not remediated; non-payment of the fines can result in a Housing Court Order and is punishable by Massachusetts Law.
The Centers for Disease Control is a good source for information about the various types of mold, mold remediation, and other useful insight; visit the Basic Facts about Mold and Dampness page on the CDC website for more information.
You may come into the office to see if the Board of Health has a copy of your system; if it's an older system, we may not have one; otherwise, you may come in and look through your file; copy charges apply. Large-format plans are $4/page.
You may bring unused or outdated medication to the Rockport Police Department at 168 Main Street.
Addison Gilbert Hospital (located at 298 Washington Street, Gloucester) has a needle drop-off repository; the box is located in the rear entrance (near the Seacoast Nursing Home side) of the Hospital immediately upon walking through the sliding doors and is on the right side. For questions, please contact Addison Gilbert Hospital directly at 978-283-4000.
For information about what to do about bats in your home, visit the Humane Society's website!
You can obtain a Home Occupation Permit for a Guest House and rent up to three rooms in your home. The fee for a Home Occupation Permit is $75 and the application is available online.
You may download the application for Realtor's Temporary Sign Permit, complete the application, and submit it to Selectmen's Office prior to 1 pm on Friday for weekend approval.
Applications for yard sale permits are available online. You may submit your completed application and the $5 fee to the Selectmen's Office for approval. Please note that there are sign restrictions; information can be obtained online as well.
Please send a written request to the Selectmen's Office stating the date, time, desired location, amount of attendees, and any other information that would pertain to the event. Please include an address and telephone number where you can be reached if there are any questions regarding the request. After review, a written approval or disapproval will be sent to you in the mail.
Monday, Wednesday, Thursday - 8 am to 4 pmTuesday - 8 am to 6 pmFriday - 8 am to 1 pm
The fax number is 978-546-2881.
Most projects that involve the Conservation Commission's stamp of approval typically must be done in an environmentally protected fashion; this includes the use of sediment control products ranging from hay bales to products such as Siltsoxx. These products and methods of containment help minimize the disturbance to the surrounding wetlands or areas and help to ensure as little impact or damage to the resource areas.
You can find these types of materials and products at the following (all in Massachusetts except where noted).
The process for approval varies significantly depending on what the activity is and where it will be located in relation to the wetland. Some activities like maintaining an established landscape that has existed for years on a house lot are fully exempt and do not need our approval. Other activities like adding a porch within 100' of a marsh will need our approval. Your best approach is to contact the Conservation Agent to discuss what and where the activity will be. They will work to help you determine what the requirements are.
There is generally one of four paths that may be taken:
The information needed for our review is also dependent on the project and its location. The Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA) and the town Wetland Bylaw and Regulations (WBR) list the information needed for applying for a Request For Determination (RFD) or Notice of Intent (NOI). Larger projects and projects more likely to directly affect a resource area could require a professional's involvement. Small projects and ones not near the resource area may only require a sketch and a written work description. The information must accurately portray the current conditions and the work you propose sufficiently to serve as a record of what you are requesting. If you contact the Conservation Agent, she will work with you so that you understand the information your project will require.
All decisions by the Conservation Commission are only in relation to our Department's review of the proposed work and requirements of the WPA and WBR. It is the property owner's responsibility to get all other approvals and permissions as needed before commencing any work.
Wetlands in Rockport are regulated by three documents:
In general, if the proposed work will be within 100 feet of a wetland or 200 feet of a stream, it is regulated by both the state Wetland Protection Act and a locale-specific Rockport Wetland Bylaw. The resource need not be only on your land but could be on an adjacent private or public property. Only the distance from activity to resource is important and property lines are not considered by Conservation. The term wetland describes a variety of resource areas that may not always look wet. They are in both inland and coastal areas which may be described as, marshes, wet meadows, bogs, swamps, vernal pools, banks, reservoirs, lakes, ponds of any size, quarry pits and motions, rivers, streams, creeks, beaches, dunes, estuaries, the ocean, lands under water bodies, lands subject to any flooding or inundation by groundwater or surface water. In short, any area that is wet or an area that collects water at any time, or the protective buffer to these areas may be regulated.
This question is covered in full detail in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act (G.L. Chapter 131 Section 40), the Rockport Wetlands Protection By-law (Rockport Code of Bylaws, Chapter 14), and the Wetland Bylaw Rules and Regulations, revised February 29, 2012. Also, some of the information is displayed visually on specified layers in the town GIS mapping system. All of these things may be used for reference but ultimately the determination is made by the Rockport Conservation Commission if something is regulated.
Some minor stream cleaning can be done without a formal filing as long as the work adheres to the Town's brook clearing guidelines. However, no stream cleaning can take place without first notifying the Conservation Agent. All stream cleaning that will not be done by hand will require a filing with the Commission.
Most landscaping within 100 feet of a wetland, other than maintaining existing vegetation (mowing, trimming, etc.), would require some sort of filing. The Commission recommends that you consider planting native vegetation within 100 feet of a wetland and that only organic pesticides and herbicides are used.
The permitting process, barring any obstacles, will take at least eight weeks before an applicant may start work. The applicant is required to present the proposed project at one of the Commission's public hearings.
Generally, your first public hearing is continued until the next scheduled meeting, pending a site visit (the Commission usually conducts a site visit on the Saturday following the first hearing). The second public hearing is used to discuss the findings of the site visit. If the Commission finds no issues from the first hearing or the site visit, the public hearing is then considered closed. No further information may be presented to the Commission after the public hearing has been closed.
The Commission has 21 days to make a decision and usually discusses a DRAFT Permit/Order of Conditions (OC) at its next meeting. Finding no major issues with the DRAFT OC, the Commission will sign it at the meeting and it will be sent to the applicant within the following days via certified mail. The date of issuance begins the state's 10-business day appeal period. Once the appeal period has ended and no appeal of the permit has been made, the applicant must record the OC with the Registry of Deeds in Salem (there is a recording fee of approximately $75 at the Registry). Then other "Pre-Construction" orders must be fulfilled before work may begin.
In order for the Commission to make an accurate and fair determination of the proposal, it is best to have a registered land surveyor, licensed engineer, or wetland scientist draw up the plans for the project. Most of them are very familiar with the guidelines given in the Act and regulations established under the Act. They can give you accurate advice on what can and cannot be done and produce a plan for the local and state review process. For your convenience, the Commission has a list of wetland scientists on its website under Reports.
Any site where work is being done which is subject to this section shall display a sign, of not less than two square feet or more than 3 square feet bearing the words "Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection File Number 62-...(and the associated number issued by the Department of Environmental Protection).
The abutters' notification is required under the state and local wetlands laws to allow neighbors to comment on projects that may impact them. Information about the project (including the application and plan(s) of proposed work) may be viewed during regular business hours at the Town Clerk's Office (main level of Rockport Town Hall - 34 Broadway) and at the Conservation Commission Office (Rockport Town Hall Annex - 26 Broadway). Attending the public hearing for the project and speaking during the public comment section is the best way to make your concerns known to the Conservation Commission.
If you are unable to attend the hearing, written comments may be sent to the Commission:
Your comments, if sent in time for the meeting, will likely be read at the hearing, but whenever sent, will be made part of the record.
Violators of any provision of the Act or the Rockport Wetlands Bylaw may be issued a fine of not more than $300 per day, per the Town of Rockport Wetlands By-law. In addition, restoration of damaged wetlands will be required, which can be quite costly.
That all depends on what you propose to do and how close you are to a wetland. A Request for Determination of Applicability (RFD or RDA) is used for small projects where the applicant requests that the Commission determine if the Wetlands Protection Act/Rockport Wetlands By-law is applicable to the area and/or the activity proposed.
Simple projects with proper protective measures (siltation barriers) will have little if any impact on a wetland resource area and are typically taken care of using a RDA.
A Notice of Intent (NOI) is used for larger projects (septic system repairs, house construction, activities within wetlands, etc.) where the likelihood of impacting the wetland is greater. An NOI is more detailed than an RDA and involves one or more public hearings.
An Abbreviated Notice of Resource Delineation (ANRAD) is used to confirm a wetland boundary which, in turn, establishes the Commission's jurisdiction.
Still not sure which application to use? Contact the Conservation Office:
The Commission generally meets on the first and third Wednesdays of the month and lists the meeting dates on the homepage. Complete applications must be submitted to the Conservation Commission Office by noon at least two weeks prior to the meeting to be placed on an agenda. New applications are placed on the agenda in the order in which they are received. Applications will not be placed on an agenda unless they contain sufficient information to evaluate the potential impacts on the associated resource areas. Guidelines for each application form are available on the website.
Wetlands are protected under state law (the MA Wetlands Protection Act and its regulations) and/or under the local by-law (the Town of Rockport Wetlands By-law and its regulations). Any work taking place within 100 feet of a wetland (e.g. beach, coastal bank, stream, marsh, vernal pool, etc.) requires prior review and approval to ensure that no adverse impact will occur in these areas. Rivers and perennial streams are protected by state law to 200 feet from the mean annual high water mark. This is called the Riverfront Area and there is a maximum of 10% disturbance in the outer 100 to 200 feet, and in most circumstances, no additional disturbance is allowed beyond this.
Please note: This disturbance is the maximum allowed in extreme cases and is not considered a right of the applicant.
All wetlands - including small seasonal wetlands - are very important filter areas that help clean and purify stormwater, surface water, and drainage areas prior to surface water re-entering critical resource areas such as rivers, streams, and drinking water sources. In addition, some small seasonal wetlands are Vernal Pools and are home to many salamanders, wood frogs, insects, fairy shrimp, and other species that cannot exist without these vernal pools.
Each project is reviewed on a case-by-case basis according to the specifics of the site and the proposed construction processes. Your neighbor may be farther from the wetlands than you are; a person may be within 100 feet of a bordering vegetated wetland while a neighbor on the same street is within 200 feet of a river, which has different requirements. One person's addition or deck may only require a sono tube or pile foundation while another may require a full foundation, involving more soil disturbance. Cumulative impacts are also taken into account when permitting a project. The Commission needs to review each project separately in order to condition it properly so that no adverse impact on resource areas will occur.
Wetland protection laws don't just protect wetlands…They also protect people and human interests! This is a fact that often gets lost in the wetlands permitting process… wetlands' function is to protect and preserve many things that people care about. Wetland resources work for all of us by functioning to protect the following "statutory interests":
The Conservation Agent is available to assist you in determining the presence and type of wetlands on a lot. The Agent can determine the appropriate application to be filed with the Commission and provide general guidance in developing a proposal to be submitted. In addition, there is a "Citizen's Inquiry" session at the beginning of each meeting where residents may bring minor questions or concerns to the Commission. If you have a more complex issue, please contact the Conservation Office and arrange to be placed on the agenda of a Conservation Commission meeting. The Commission and its agent are not equipped to provide formal planning, design, engineering, surveying, or wetland delineation services.
Millbrook Park, 13 Millbrook Park, Rockport, MA offers 80 units of state and federal subsidized housing for low-income seniors. For the application package, visit the Rockport Housing Authority page or call 978-546-3181.
Harborlight Community Partners owns and manages Pigeon Cove Ledges located at 13 Curtis Street, Rockport, MA. This property offers 30 1-bedroom apartments, four of which are handicapped accessible, for fixed-income elders. For the application package, visit the Senior Housing page or call 978-546-7410.
Harborlight Community Partners also owns and manages Rockport High School Apartments located at 4 Broadway, Rockport, MA. This property offers 31 units, fixed income elderly housing property. For the application package, visit the Senior Housing page or call 978-546-7482.
There are several factors that go into the determination of your real estate tax bill:
The result is the amount of the real estate tax levy for the Town. Under Proposition 2½, this levy is limited to:
Once the year's levy is established, the tax rate is determined by dividing the levy by the total assessed value of the Town's taxpayers' real estate. Therefore the change in the tax rate is determined by both the change in the levy and the change in the total assessed valuation. The resulting tax for your property is the product of its assessed value and the tax rate. In any year, the change in your property's assessment may differ from that of the average property in town. If so, the % change in your tax bill will differ from that of the average property in town.
Free Cash is the operating budget surplus from the prior year, which is available to be spent in the current year. Local receipts for car excise taxes, fees, or interest on investments, for example, which are higher than budgeted contribute to Free Cash. Expenditures for salaries, benefits, materials, and contracts that are lower than budgeted also go into Free Cash at year-end.
Free Cash is not available for new appropriations until the amount has been certified by the state as part of its annual procedure of reviewing and approving all the Town's year-end reports. This usually occurs in October and the money is then available at the Annual Town Meeting in April.
Because Free Cash varies greatly from year to year it is not considered a stable recurring funding source. It is the policy of the Finance Committee to use Free Cash for one-time expenses that can be deferred, such as purchases of vehicles and capital equipment, rather than for recurring expenses such as labor.
Proposition 2½ is a Massachusetts law that limits the dollar amount by which a community can increase its property taxes each year. The limitation is 2.5% over the prior year's tax limit, plus an amount for "new growth" - a figure provided by the Board of Assessors, based on actual new construction.
Towns can raise taxes above Proposition 2½ level by passing a General Override, which permanently increases the levy limit, or a Debt Exclusion, which exempts a specific long-term debt issue from the limit, but ends when that debt is paid off.
Please see the Division of Local Services website for their publication "Levy Limits: A Primer on Proposition 2½".
The Division of Local Services (DLS) provides a lot of the information which finance committees find useful. They now have a Municipal Finance Knowledge database with, for example, a Glossary of financial terms and a primer on Proposition 2½.
Massachusetts communities are permitted by M.G.L. Chapter 40, Section 5B, to set aside money each year to be held in a Stabilization Fund in order to provide for emergencies and unforeseen expenses. The funds can be used for any lawful municipal purpose, but a 2/3 vote of the Town Meeting is required to make an appropriate from the fund.
Rating agencies such as Standard and Poors look at the Town's reserves, and especially the Stabilization Fund, in setting the Town's bond rating, which in turn determines the rate at which Rockport can borrow money.
The Rockport Finance Committee has set a goal for the Stabilization Fund of 5% of the annual operating budget, or over $1 million. The fund was successfully increased to $728,834 by June 30, 2002, but was tapped by $350,000 to balance the FY '03 budget.
Town of Rockport
Yes, or you may have an operable stand for larger boats.
Yes, there is a waiting list posted to the left of this page. We encourage you to get on the list as soon as possible by submitting an email request to the Granite Pier Committee.
Refer to the contract signed for seasonal changes.
No, contracts may not be assigned to others nor can you sublet your space to others.
Space is limited, please email the Granite Pier Committee a written request.
File an application with the Town Clerk and pay a $20 fee. Thereafter; a fee of $30 every three years to remain on the waiting list; this fee is collected every three years via a letter to the applicant).
From the Harbor Department or Harbor Advisory Committee.
The Town can use anywhere from 500,000 gallons a day (mostly in the winter months) and up to 1,300,000 gallons a day (mostly around July 4th). The average over a one-year period is around 620,000 gallons a day.
The DPW can supply you with as-built drawings to show where most connections are at your property line.
Cemetery lots can be purchased through the DPW office. Lots are available for Locust Grove and Beech Grove Cemeteries.
No, we can not do work on private property and as such, you would need to contact a local plumber. The DPW would be happy to assist by supplying you with as-built drawings that show where most connections are at the property line.
The Town is responsible for leaks outside of your property. Call the DPW at 978-546-3525 to report leaks. After DPW office hours, you can call the Rockport Police Department at 978-546-3445 and they will contact the water foreman.
Yes it is, you can contact the DPW main office to set up an appointment.
There are a variety of different factors that are taken into consideration when water restrictions are imposed; the amount of water left in our supply system being the most important. We then look at the water consumption rate, the time of year, and current and future weather predictions. Water consumption increases dramatically in the summer due to increased population, watering lawns, gardening, and car washing. The Town has a total of 195 million gallons in our reservoirs without using our emergency or backup supplies. The Town will use anywhere from 210 to 270 million gallons of water a year, depending on restrictions and weather.
Yes, sewage is treated by an anaerobic method (micro-organisms), solids are screened and settled, and clear liquid is discharged to the ocean.
The Town has two main water reservoirs and multiple emergency and backup water supply options. The two main supplies are Carlson's Quarry (85 Million gallons) and Cape Pond (110 Million gallons).
It flows partially by gravity and partially by pumping stations to the Sewage Treatment Plant on Pleasant Street.
FOG are Fats, Oils, and Grease. It builds up in sewer pipes as food products are improperly disposed of:
When FOG gets into the sewer lines, it can cause blockages and backups. This can cause damage to your home or business, and potentially cause problems for your neighbors. No matter the scale, FOG build-up is a public health concern.
A Geographic Information System (GIS) allows professional cartographers and novices alike to view, understand, question, interpret, and visualize data in many ways that reveal relationships, patterns, and trends in the form of maps, globes, reports, and charts. GIS helps users answer questions and solve problems by looking at data in a way that is quickly understood and easily shared. In a GIS, data is separated into various layers. This allows for layers to be combined on maps or in analysis as needed. For example, a simple street index map is very useful on its own, but by adding a single layer, such as voting precincts, and now you have a tool for identifying the voting precinct and location for any given street in Town, in an easy-to-use format.
Online mapping services provided through Google or Bing are extremely useful in their own respects. In fact, Rockport's own online GIS and other bigger online services are very similar. The key difference is that Rockport's GIS Division is tasked with updating data specific to Rockport. This is important because it gives the town control over the quality and accuracy of our own data. In most cases, Rockport's data will be more detailed than what is available from the other tools. The trade-off, however, is the other unique tools and applications such as real-time traffic data, and oblique aerial imagery.
The GIS data used in Rockport's GIS come from multiple sources. Some of the more prominent layers came from aerial photography obtained in 2011, for the City of Gloucester, then offered to the Town by the firm that collected the photography. These layers include building footprints, infrastructure such as hydrants and catch basins, driveways, parking lots, and roads. Other layers are produced by the Town and updated by the Town as needed, such as the assessing parcels, zoning, and additional public works infrastructure layers. Finally, there are many layers available through the Commonwealth of Massachusetts' Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) GIS Department, or MassGIS. These include layers such as certified vernal pools and other Natural Heritage program data, scanned NOAA nautical charts, statewide (lower resolution) aerial imagery, environmental monitoring data, conservation and open space data, coastal and marine features, census and demographic data, political boundaries and regulated areas, and more.
The town's GIS data is updated as needed and as appropriate, using the best available sources. Data from the aerial photography will be updated either periodically by the Town, or through future aerial photography projects and data purchases. Municipalities typically complete aerial photography projects on varying frequencies, but commonly cities and towns will conduct aerial photography projects on a 5 to 10-year interval depending on the rate of development in the community.
Hardcopy maps and data from Rockport's GIS Division are available at Town Hall, or online through the links provided on the GIS Division homepage.
"Standard Maps" are available to the public as hard copies based on the fee schedule itemized on the map order form. PDFs are always available, free of charge, for download. Visit the Map Catalog page for more information.
Those requesting digital GIS data are required to complete the data request form. This form includes a user agreement and disclaimer and must be digitally signed by the person or entity requesting the data. This request will include all publicly available data (see the GIS Data Dictionary/Metadata page) and will be provided as a CD, or a downloadable link.
Please note: The data provided is in ESRI GDB format. No clipping, format conversions, coordinate system reprojections, or analysis will be performed by the Town. No exceptions.
Stickers may be purchased on the Rockport MA website. You may purchase Resident Parking Stickers, Non-Resident Beach Stickers, and Pay-as-you-Throw (PAYT) stickers. You can pay for your stickers with a credit or debit card. You may also purchase Rockport stickers by mailing in your application to DPW Town of Rockport, 34 Broadway Rockport MA 01966, or dropping them off at the Town Hall DPW Office.
Fill out the online sticker application and click on the submit button. Once you have submitted the application, you will receive an email notification that your order has been received. Your order will then be processed and upon verification of your information, you will receive another email that notifies you that your order has been successfully processed and your stickers have been mailed. Usually, stickers will be mailed within a week of receipt of your application.
You can track your online order at the ePay website for City Hall Systems online.
If you require assistance ordering online, please call 978-546-3525 or email the Department of Public Works and we can arrange a time to assist you at the DPW Office.
If your address is missing from the drop-down menu, please email the Department of Public Works or call 9789-546-3525. This is not unusual if there are multiple addresses sharing one parcel ID. Your address must be a valid property address per the assessor's office.
Fill out the 2023/2024 Sticker Application form and mail it to the DPW office with supporting documents and payment. Your application will be entered online by DPW Staff and processed by City Hall Systems. This method may result in delays in processing. Visit the Stickers (Transfer Station, Resident Parking & Beach) page for more information.
Stickers are not available to be ordered over the phone. You can call City Hall Systems to update your payment method only at 508-381-5456.
Please email the Department of Public Works or call 978-546-3525.
Resident Parking Stickers will only be issued to vehicles registered to a Rockport property owner/taxpayer, or a renter with a year-round lease. If the address on the vehicle registration is not a Rockport address, a property tax bill, lease agreement, or adequate verification from your landlord will be needed to purchase stickers.
Please note: Lease agreements only yearly rentals qualify.
All temporary residents (less than 1-year renters), motel/hotel house guests, and non-residents may apply for beach stickers if they want to park in the designated beach parking areas. Non-resident Beach stickers are only valid for the Seaview Street Parking lot (with access to Cape Hedge Beach and Long Beach) and limited parking spaces on South Street. They do not allow you to park anywhere that "Resident (Sticker) Parking Only" signs are posted.
Rockport Transfer Station stickers will be issued to vehicles registered to a Rockport property owner/taxpayer, or a renter with a valid rental agreement. If the address on the vehicle registration is not a Rockport address, a property tax bill, lease agreement, or adequate verification from your landlord will be needed to purchase stickers. All Rockport household and business units are required to purchase separate Transfer Station stickers for each unit. If you own/manage multiple units and/or transport trash for additional dwellings, you must complete a separate application for each unit.
A non-resident business owner may apply for one parking sticker. The business owner may choose to have his/her manager have the parking sticker instead of him/herself.
Please note: Only one parking sticker will be issued to a business.
Family members of the owners of summer residences, including Long Beach, will not be issued a Parking Sticker unless their vehicle is registered in Rockport or they can show partial ownership of the property. Non-resident beach stickers may be purchased instead of a parking sticker.
Rockport Resident parking and Non-resident beach stickers will not be issued for any truck over one ton, construction equipment, or dump trucks.
No, you must purchase a PAYT Sticker to access the Transfer Station. All trash must be contained in PAYT bags prior to disposal into the solid waste trailers.
Yes, the vehicle of a business owner whose business is established in Rockport, who owns property or leases property in Rockport and can verify their status as a lessee, may be issued a Transfer Station sticker. All Rockport household and business units are required to purchase separate Transfer Station stickers for each unit. If you own/manage multiple units and/or transport trash for additional dwellings, you must complete a separate application for each unit.
If you are a resident of Rockport and are 65 years old or older when ordering, you qualify for the senior discounted pricing on the Resident Parking and PAYT stickers. Please note that senior status pricing will only apply to cars registered to the person claiming senior status. Any stickers purchased for vehicles registered to non-seniors must pay full rates.
Resident parking stickers are required for anyone wishing to park in the Resident lots/spaces around town. The Resident Lots are located next to Town Hall, on T-Wharf, and at the end of Seaview Street. The resident stickers are also good at many locations near downtown and the beaches, as well as town lots for parking bans.
Non-resident beach stickers are required for non-residents to park at the Seaview Street Parking lot with access to Cape Hedge Beach and Long Beach only. There is also limited parking on South Street. The Non-resident Beach Sticker does not allow you to park anywhere that "Resident (Sticker) Parking Only" signs are posted.
All Stickers are to be placed on the front windshield of your car. All Transfer Station and Resident Parking Stickers must be affixed to the inside of your car's front windshield with the adhesive supplied on the sticker. Resident Parking stickers and Transfer Station Stickers shall be placed in either the lower driver's side front windshield area or adjacent to the rearview mirror on the driver's side in order for the sticker(s) to be valid. Additionally, the previous year's sticker(s) need to be removed prior to affixing the new sticker. Stickers taped to a window are not valid.
Please note: Stickers are not transferable to other vehicles. A replacement sticker must be purchased if you later own a new vehicle.
The Transfer Station is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday from 7 am to 2:45 pm. It will be closed on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday. (Open Sundays in Summer Season) It will also close for the following holidays: January 1st, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Patriots' Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, July 4th, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day and the day after, and Christmas Day. Off-hour access is prohibited without the authorization of the Director of Public Works. Please see the homepage for holiday and inclement weather closures or call 978-546-3578. For more details, visit the Transfer Station Bulk Items, Mattresses & Textiles page.
The PAYT bags can be purchased at Market Basket, Cumberland Farms, Rockport Market, Shaw's (Gloucester), and Stop and Shop (Gloucester). The PAYT bags will not be sold online or by mail. The PAYT blue bags cost: $5 for a roll of ten 8-gallon-sized bags; $15 for a roll of ten 16-gallon-sized bags; $30 for a roll of ten 35-gallon-sized bags and $45 for a roll of ten 55-gallon-sized bags.
If you wish to dispose of Bulk items over 30 inches into the solid waste trailers or at the swap shop or have other specialty items such as TVs and Appliances that you would like to dispose of at the Transfer Station, you will need to purchase a Specialty/Bulk Item Coupon. If you have any questions about which items require a special coupon for disposal, please see the attendant at the Transfer Station. Checks and credit cards are accepted as payment at the Transfer Station.
White goods, such as refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, etc., and CRTs and televisions will be accepted at the Transfer Station for disposal. You must first purchase a Rockport Transfer Station Specialty/Bulk Item Coupon to dispose of the item. If you have any questions about the disposal of white goods or TVs/CRTs, please see the attendant at the Transfer Station.
Replacement stickers can be obtained online, by mail, or by phone from City Hall Systems. There is a charge of $10 for each replacement sticker. Stickers are non-transferable.
Download the Transfer Station Regulations - Effective April 1, 2018 (PDF).
Call 978-546-3578 or email email Department of Public Works with questions.
Stormwater runoff water from rain, hail, and melting snow. It finds its way into the Town's drainage system, including catch basins and drainage swales, and eventually drains to a body of water such as a wetland, pond, stream, or ocean. Many of Rockport's stormwater outfalls drain directly into the ocean.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated that certain communities must file for a permit under the Phase II National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program. This mandate by the EPA is authorized under the Clean Water Act. The goal of this program is to eliminate point source pollution discharging into our waterways. Under the NPDES program, Rockport's drainage system is considered a Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System (MS4). In 1990 Phase I required medium and large cities to obtain a permit to cover their stormwater discharges. Phase II began in 1999 and requires regulated small MS4s in urbanized areas, as well as small MS4s that are outside the urbanized area that are designated by the permitting authority, to obtain permit coverage for their stormwater discharges. Each regulated MS4 is required to develop and implement a stormwater management program to reduce the contamination of stormwater runoff and prohibit illicit discharges. The permit requires that Rockport create a Stormwater Management Plan. This plan must include the following components:
An illicit discharge is essentially any discharge into a stormwater drainage system that is not composed entirely of stormwater. There are exceptions to this including water from firefighting activities and discharges from facilities already covered by a NPDES permit, such as treated sanitary sewer flows from a wastewater treatment plant. It is a common misconception that stormwater drainage flows to a wastewater treatment plant. However, this is not the case. Stormwater drainage flows, generally through pipes, and eventually outfalls to a wetland, river, stream, lake, pond, or directly to the ocean. Most stormwater flows receive minimal treatment, if any. Treatment for stormwater can include various methods of attempting to remove sediment materials and in some cases oils from water before it reaches a discharge. Illicit discharges can include cross-connections between sanitary sewer systems or private septic systems and the stormwater system, known or unknown, as well as anything that is dumped on the road or directly into a catch basin that includes materials other than stormwater.
A main component of the Town's Stormwater Management Plan is Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination (IDDE). The goal of an IDDE program is not necessarily punishment, but elimination of the illicit discharge. Many illicit discharges exist without the knowledge of the responsible party, and the Town can work with that party to eliminate the discharge. Sometimes illicit discharge isn't due to one party but to multiple individuals repeatedly and hopefully unknowingly doing something they shouldn't do. An example of this would include improper disposal of pet waste. Often a person walking their dog either doesn't clean up after it, or properly bags their dog's waste, but then drops it in a catch basin rather than waiting to find a trash barrel. Now the stormwater system is contaminated not only with dog waste but also with plastic bags. Many catch basins are therefore marked in some way to warn people not to dump anything in them. In Rockport, this is generally done in one of two ways. Newer catch basin grates may have "No Dumping" stamped in the cast iron grate. Catch basins without the newer style grate often are painted nearby with a stencil that reads "Dump No Waste - Drains to Ocean".
Some of the most basic types of municipal good housekeeping conducted in Rockport in relation to stormwater include street sweeping and catch basin cleaning. Over the course of the winter, sand is used on roads to improve driving conditions during storms. By summer, much of this sand has found its way into the catch basins. The DPW Highway Division sweeps the streets to pick up as much of this sand as possible before it reaches the catch basins. Later, catch basins are cleaned periodically to remove built-up sediments. This allows the catch basin sump to properly remove future sediments from stormwater flows. Sediments and winter sand removed from the drainage system therefore do not get discharged at the stormwater outfall.
Stormwater is water runoff gathered from rain, thunderstorms, and even melting snow. Stormwater which runs off impervious surfaces, such as rooftops, driveways, and roadways, and does not soak into the ground, enters directly into storm drains and ultimately ends up in our water bodies.
As stormwater flows, it accumulates whatever is in the street - trash, oil, waste, fertilizer, pesticides, chemicals, and other potential pollutants. That polluted runoff (stormwater pollution) flows across the street, down storm drain inlets, through stormwater pipes, to places where the pipes empty directly - without filtration or cleaning, into our water bodies. In Rockport, there are more than 150 potential outfalls.
Polluted runoff causes beach closures, kills aquatic life, and threatens our drinking water sources. In Massachusetts, stormwater runoff and discharges from stormwater drain pipes are the largest contributors to water quality problems in our rivers, streams, and marine waters. It is far less costly to prevent pollution to water bodies than it is to clean them up after the fact. Keeping stormwater clean not only benefits our neighborhood and community, but the entire network of water bodies and land.
Common individual behaviors have the potential to generate stormwater pollution - littering, disposing of pet waste, applying lawn chemicals, washing vehicles, changing motor oil, and disposing of leftover paint and household chemicals. It takes individual change to control such pollution. It is important to understand the significance of limiting pollution that ultimately drains, untreated, directly into our water.
The following are additional methods to prevent stormwater pollution:
There are several ways to contact the Harbormasters:
Mooring Applications can be obtained at the Town Clerk's office at Town Hall, 34 Broadway. After the application is filled out and returned to the Town Clerk with the necessary fee, the application is submitted into the system.
The Pier is run by a Town Committee; The Granite Pier Committee. Please email Patric Herlihy for any questions regarding Granite Pier or Boat storage.
Town Phone Number: 978-546-5000, ext. 40115
Granite Pier launching ramp.
No. There is a $500 fine for tampering or removing fishing gear. The gear belongs to a fisherman and should be retrieved by them regardless of the condition of the lobster pot or buoy.
Granite Pier launching ramp, Lobby Lolly Cove, north end of Back Beach are the best areas.
The Harbormaster Office is on T-Wharf (brick building on the right) on Thursday nights 7 pm to 8:30 pm or by appointment.
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The Town of Rockport offers the following benefits to benefit eligible active employees, and/or retirees:
Town Office hours are:
As often as needed.
Email Human Resources - No phone calls.
Job and Volunteer Opportunities
Fill out an application for employment and email it to Human Resources or in person at 34 Broadway Rockport, MA 01966.
Yes. All residents must feed the meters no matter where they are.
Yes and no. All vehicles that use the resident parking areas must have a resident sticker even if they have a handicap placard. This is a State Law, not a Rockport Law.
No. Each car must have its own sticker that matches the registration number of that car.
Sergeant William Budrow can be reached at 978-546-1212, ext. 110.
During court hours you would go to the Gloucester District Court, which is temporarily located at 1 Lowell Street, Peabody, MA 01960. They can be reached at 978-283-2620. If the court is closed you can obtain the information you need at the Rockport Police Station on 168 Main Street, Rockport, MA.
An application for a firearms license can be obtained at the Rockport Police Department or on the forms page of the Rockport Police site. For further information, contact the Firearms Division at 978-546-1212 ext. 168. Forms and further information can be obtained from the Criminal History Systems Board.
All requests for police reports on open cases where charges have been filed are referred to the district attorney's office at the courthouse. On closed cases, you will be directed to the on-duty court prosecutor at the police station.
Yes, the are available to you by filling out a record request form and submitting it to the Rockport Police Department. You can also obtain a free copy of your vehicle crash report by visiting www.crashdocs.org.
You can pick one up at any police department or download it from the Rockport Police Department's form section. Accident reporting forms as well as other Registry of Motor Vehicle forms can be downloaded from the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
As of September 2014, Massachusetts residents over the age of 18, can now purchase and carry pepper spray without first having to obtain a firearms identification card.
Rockport Police cases are heard at the Gloucester District Court. Du to renovations, the court is temporarily located to Peabody District Court at 1 Lowell Street, Peabody, MA. They can be reached at 978-283-2620.
978-546-1212. For emergencies, dial 911.
Community Policing is not a program, a unit, or a specialized division within a police department. Implementation of the Community Policing philosophy encourages law enforcement and community residents to work together to address the problems of crime, fear of crime, and factors that detract from the overall quality of life in their communities. Community Policing challenges police departments to develop a new vision for the future of their department and to translate this vision into action.
No. The only information that will be provided will be the operator's information, vehicle information, insurance company, any injured parties, and any witnesses. You will not be given a copy of the other operator's statement.
No. A hearing must be requested within 20 days of receipt of the citation to dispute any infraction. A hearing may be requested by checking box #2 on the back of the citation and following the instructions listed.
Payments on parking tickets may be made by mailing a check or money order to the address on the front of the parking ticket. Payment may also be made in person at the Treasurer's Office located at Town Hall, 34 Broadway. Payments cannot be accepted at the Rockport Police Station. Please be sure to keep a receipt of any payment made.
To appeal a parking ticket it must be in writing to the Parking Clerk at 34 Broadway, Rockport, MA 01966. Please visit the Parking Clerk page for more information.
A request for information on sex offenders form can be picked up at the Rockport Police Department. For further information contact Officer David LoConte at 978-546-1212, ext. 155. Also additional information can be obtained from the Sex Offender Registry Board.
No. The Rockport Police will not respond to any email requests. Sex offender information will be disseminated in accordance with the Sex Offender Law.
Information is available on the Governor's Highway Safety Bureau website.
Domestic or family violence is the abuse of power and control. It is a pattern of behavior used by one person to control another through force or threats.
A restraining order is a court order that can provide protection from physical or sexual harm caused by force, or threat of harm from a family or household member.
The original (1995) Rockport Guide to Public Paths and Town Landings booklet is no longer in print. We have a new (2021) edition of the Trail Guide (Blue Book 2nd edition) (PDF).
It is illegal to have in your possession for a period longer than is necessary for immediate measuring any lobster.
Mass General Law: 130 Marine Fish and Fisheries
View MA Legislature for more information.
A lobster has to be 3 1/4 inches long and must be measured with a regulation lobster gauge. The lobster must be measured from the rear of the eye socket along a line parallel to the center line of the body shell to the rear end of the body shell.
Each diver taking lobsters must have obtained a lobster license from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. A dive flag must have the diver's permit number displayed on the flag and dive tanks that he is diving with. The driver's permit must be available at all times.
No person shall take or attempt to take with the aid and use of a boat any lobsters or edible crabs by pot, traps, or other contrivances designed or adapted to the taking of lobsters or edible crabs without first displaying the buoy colors used by him in accordance with his license by painting the color or colors (a) on each side of the hull or upon panels attached to each side of the hull, or (b) upon both sides of a single panel which is attached to the boat on top of the bow, or by mounting a buoy, not less than 11 inches in length, and 4 inches in diameter, with his color scheme thereon, in an upright position at least 6 inches above the boat. See Chapter 130 Section 38A.
No- a group of divers may utilize one flag per group. Individual divers are required to be within 100 ft of the flag when at or near the surface of the water.
No. No fishing for lobsters one-half hour after sunset until one-half hour before sunrise. Diving at night is allowed but lobsters may not be taken. (Many scuba divers enjoy night diving)
There are no open clam flats in the Town of Rockport. The Town is under an Administrative Closure per the State of Massachusetts.
To obtain a Certified Copy of a Birth, Marriage or Death Certificate:
Fill out the Vital Records Request Form
Mail it with a self-addressed, stamped envelope and $10.00 for the first and $5.00 for each additional certified copy to:
Town Clerks Office
P.O. Box 429
Rockport MA 01966
Be sure to include the name and date of event for the record being requested.
If you need any other information, please call the Town Clerk’s office at 978-546-6894.
On the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts website.
In person at the Town Clerks office.
At the Registry of Motor Vehicles and other State registration points.
A couple wishing to be married in Massachusetts may file intentions in any City or Town Hall in Massachusetts.
To apply for a marriage license:
Please call the office with any questions 978-546-6894.
You can register to vote in Massachusetts if you are:
You can pre-register to vote in Massachusetts if you are:
You may pre-register to vote by submitting a voter registration form. You can submit it online, by mail, or in person. You'll receive confirmation of your pre-registration by mail. When you turn 18 you will be added to the voter list.
Voting on Election Day takes place at the following locations:
Election Day Voting Hours: 7 am to 8 pm
The fiscal year is the Town's accounting year. The fiscal year straddles a calendar year - it runs from July 1st of the current year until June 30th of the next year. For example, Fiscal Year 2016 would be July 1st, 2015 to June 30th, 2016.
Rockport bills for taxes on a semi-annual basis (twice per year) within the fiscal year.
The first half of taxes (covers July 1st to December 31st) are typically due in the late fall/early winter. The 1st half taxes cannot be issued until the Commonwealth of Massachusetts has certified the tax rate for the Town.
The 2nd half taxes (covers January 1st to June 30th) are always due and payable by May 1st of the same fiscal year, i.e. 1st half taxes could be due December 21st, and your 2nd half taxes are due on May 1st.
The Treasurer/Collector's office has no legal authority to change mailing addresses on bills. You must contact the following departments to change your mailing address:
Please be advised that all payments are based on the date they are received and not on the post date upon the envelope.
If you are paying Town bills via ePay or eCheck, please be aware that your funds are not transferred electronically by your bank to the Town's bank. Your bank cuts a paper check and mails it to the address you provide when setting up the payment. Please make sure you allow adequate time for mailing; payments are posted as of receipt in the Treasurer/Collector's Office; post date is not accepted.
Please consider making payments via City Hall Systems. Your payments are recorded in real-time and are updated in the Town's financial system.
Mail your real estate tax payment to: