The October 21 meeting of the Mattapoisett Marine Advisory Board was yet another Town board that heard concerns and reasons from residents opposed to Daniel DaRosa’s application to build a 290-foot pier into Mattapoisett’s harbor. It was also a meeting called solely for the purpose of hearing from the public one more time as the board members put the finishing touches on their letter to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Coming before the MAB was Michael Huguenin and Peter Trow, two vocal opponents to the project.
Huguenin told the board he has gathered 180 signatures from residents who, like him, are opposed to this pier in this location. He impressed upon the board that time is of the essence, as Friday, October 24 is the deadline for comments directed to the DEP regarding the project. If comments are not received by that date, people will have forfeited their right to voice concerns in the future.
Huguenin pointed out that the sheer size of the proposed pier is the biggest issue he has with the pier, followed by the loss of recreational space, shellfishing, and catastrophic storm damage caused if the pier breaks up during severe weather. He said the Chapter 91 license being sought by DaRosa from the DEP safeguards the public’s right to protection of tidal areas.
Regarding the DEP process, Huguenin said that no public hearing is provided, so letters before the deadline date are critical. He said that he had just learned that the Planning Board does play a part in the process, but that typically in Mattapoisett the Planning Board only deals with matters on the land, not in or over the water. He planned to discuss this with Planning Board Chairman Tom Tucker immediately.
MAB member Carlos DaSousa said, “…The pier is in a prime recreation area … we rejected an aqua-culture project for this location to conserve it for public recreational purposes…” He also referred to the MAB waterfront management plan that was fully vetted and approved by the Board of Selectmen in 2012, again saying that where the pier is proposed is a recreational area.
DaSousa said the letter MAB sends to the DEP should include all the minutes of their meetings from the year-long process of crafting the management plan and the large public participation that helped in its writing, as well as all their concerns of the impact of such a large project in this location.
“Our goal is to update the drafted letter, submit it to Michael Gagne (town administrator) and the Conservation Commission and then send it to the DEP,” said Chairman Alan Gillis. He said that he had had a conversation with the selectmen and was told they, too, are sending a letter to the DEP.
Expanding on the theme of waterfront protections, Trow said, “A bylaw supersedes ConCom and the DEP…”
Gillis replied, “We’ve been requesting that too.”
DaSousa countered that, by establishing bylaws, the Town would be guaranteeing the construction of piers.
“…You are setting parameters where piers will get built,” said DaSousa. “I think the waterfront management plan should be the bylaw.”
By the end of the meeting, Gillis said they had sufficient additional information to complete their letter. The MAB voted unanimously on the tone and the text of their letter. A copy of the letter will be made to the public as part of the public record.
By Marilou Newell