2006-03-23 / News

Conservation Commission reviews trails, boating facilities

By Michaela Kennedy

At its March 14 meeting, the Conservation Commission discussed trails, residential boating facilities, and money for the annual Earth Day Shore Cleanup slated for April 22.

The commission also discussed putting the proposed highway barn at the former landfill site on a future agenda for informational purposes after a complaint from a resident of alleged wrongdoing.

In a non-agenda item, Sav Rebecchi of Sail Street requested to address the commission. Rebecchi complained that Conservation Commission Chairman Christopher Powell wrote a letter confirming the commission's approval of the north end highway barn site. "You took it upon yourself to write that letter, and you put them (the current commission members) on the hook for this information," he said. The letter in question was on the agenda.

Powell said that he wrote a letter to the state Department of Environmental Management, at the request of the Town Administrator Bruce Keiser, reaffirming the commission's support of the landfill closure and public works facility. Powell said that he had met with Keiser for a review of the commission's history and responsibilities, and Keiser had asked Powell for a statement on commission stationery on the board's position concerning the site for the public works facility.

He read the letter aloud, which included the following statement: "The Conservation Commission made a decision when the decision was originally made, based on our review and research. This commission is on record as supporting that site."

Rebecchi went on to accuse Powell of "usurping authority" and of being a "NIMBY," an abbreviation for "not in my back yard."

"I object to you taking your own agenda," he said, referring to Taylor Point as a site that was not supported by the commission.

"I object to that," Powell replied.

After the meeting, Keiser acknowledged his request to Powell. Keiser also said that the request for information from the commission was information that already existed in the minutes of the board's meetings.

Commissioner Carol Trocki noted that it was difficult to make an informed decision as a new member, and suggested that the highway barn be put on the agenda for discussion.

The commission agreed to invite a speaker to a future meeting in order to update newer members on the background and engineering studies done on the highway barn project.

In other business, the commission reviewed notices from the state Coastal Resources Management Council for four residential boating facilities. Trocki noted that eelgrass grew in shallow water and needed a lot of sunlight. She said it was important to be careful to design a dock that met the criteria required for minimum impact to the eelgrass.

The commission again voiced its concern about the unfinished Trails Guide. Powell noted that the maps, which were expected to be finished last June, were still outstanding from an outside contractor.

In a discussion of the Hull Cove right-of-way, the commission agreed to draft a letter to the council requesting funding for the path to the cove. They also agreed to wait for Commissioner Tom Johnson's input, since he was liaison to the Harbor Management Commission, which is responsible for maintaining rights-of-way to the water, according to the town's state-mandated Community Comprehensive Plan.

In a discussion of trails and properties, Powell said he was asked by a resident if the proposed Greenway trail in the center of the island would be handicapped accessible.

The commission agreed to review whether the trail would be handicapped accessible and what the trail's surface would be.

Jennifer Talancy said that she did not think the commission should have to take full responsibility for the trail development and maintenance.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, $1,350 was in the Conservation Commission's budget. Powell said that some of that money would be spent in sponsoring the Earth Day Shoreline Cleanup on Saturday, April 22.

The Conservation Commission welcomed Patrick Driscoll, who is newly appointed to the board. The commission also acknowledged re-appointment of Commissioner Jennifer Talancy.

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