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Press Release Developer Ordered to Stop Illegal Shoreline Work in Rockport

Defendant Was Illegally Raising Seawall in Pigeon Cove Harbor
For immediate release:
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection

Media Contact for Developer Ordered to Stop Illegal Shoreline Work in Rockport

Alex Bradley

BostonA developer and his company have been ordered to stop illegally filling and altering protected wetland resource areas and tidelands at their property on Pigeon Cove Harbor in Rockport, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

The AG’s Office filed a civil complaint in Essex Superior Court against Michael Rauseo and his company, the Landing Group, Inc., alleging that he illegally altered wetlands and tidelands by drilling holes in and pouring concrete on a granite seawall to raise its height. Judge Thomas Drechsler granted a preliminary injunction prohibiting Rauseo from illegally working in wetlands and tidelands on the property.

“Our shorelines are critical natural resources,” said AG Healey. “We were pleased to work with the town of Rockport and our state partners to protect Pigeon Cove Harbor.” 

The AG’s Office alleges that Rauseo is in violation of the state’s Wetlands Protection Act and Waterways Act along with multiple orders from the Town of Rockport and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to cease those violations.

“The rules are in place to ensure there are no adverse impacts to the environment or to the neighboring properties,” said MassDEP Commissioner Martin Suuberg. “The Court Order enforces requirements everyone must follow.”

According to the AG’s complaint, MassDEP denied two applications from Rauseo to redevelop the site because the work did not comply with the Wetlands Protection Act. The AG’s Office also alleges that Rauseo’s own applications identify the areas proposed for redevelopment as wetland resource areas and tidelands. According to the AG’s Office, Rauseo knowingly performed the illegal work after receiving the permit denials and multiple enforcement orders from the Rockport Conservation Commission and MassDEP ordering him to stop work.

The AG’s complaint alleges that despite receiving four orders and notices from the Town of Rockport and MassDEP, Rauseo continued the illegal work and raised the seawall height by approximately 16 inches.

The AG’s complaint also alleges that Rauseo was performing the illegal wetland and tideland work in spite of ongoing litigation with MassDEP and the Town of Rockport regarding his use of tidelands at the site.

“Pigeon Cove Harbor is a precious resource, and work that affects it needs to be done properly and in a way that protects the environment,” said State Senator Bruce Tarr of Gloucester.

“The Town is pleased that the Court has recognized the importance of stopping work at this site without the appropriate permits being issued,” said Rockport Town Administrator Mitchell Vieira. “We are appreciative of the work that the Attorney General's Office and DEP have done to stop this illegal work.”

In addition to the preliminary injunction, the AG’s Office is seeking a permanent injunction in accordance with the terms of the preliminary injunction, as well as civil penalties, for the violations.

This case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Louis Dundin of AG Healey’s Environmental Protection Division with assistance from Environmental Analyst Jill Provencal, Deputy Regional Director Rachel Freed, and Regional Director Eric Worrall of MassDEP’s Northeast Regional Office, Ben Lynch, Director of MassDEP’s Waterways Program, and Heidi Zisch, Jennifer Davis, Betsy Kimball, and Sam Bennett of MassDEP’s Office of General Counsel.


Media Contact for Developer Ordered to Stop Illegal Shoreline Work in Rockport

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection 

MassDEP ensures clean air, land and water. We oversee the safe management and recycling of solid and hazardous wastes. We ensure the timely cleanup of hazardous waste sites and spills. And we work to preserve the state's wetlands and coastal resources.