The Wanderer - Mobile Edition
A Tale of Two Covers
Sometimes the best-laid plans get foiled in a way that turns out to be a lot of fun. This past week, we spent hours at the Rochester Country Fair taking photos and video as well as having a great time - the plan was to feature the fair on this week's cover. A no-brainer, right?
Then serendipity manifested in the form of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile at Ned's Point Lighthouse, essentially shaking the foundation of our well thought-out cover plan. We have great photos of the fair and awesome photos of the Wienermobile - whatever were we to do? This is the kind of problem we love to have, an overabundance of wonderful photos.
Feeling a bit beside ourselves in agony to choose one cover photo, we went and posted the possible covers for this week on Facebook for our readers to ultimately decide. (If you're not already a fan, you can check us out at www.facebook.com/wanderer.)
The overwhelming choice was the Wienermobile, but we still wanted to showcase the fair. There were some compelling comments for both cases, which is why we love our Facebook fans and value your input!
After reading all the comments and continuing to vacillate back and forth between the two cover options, we came up with a new solution: two editions of The Wanderer! That's right, the edition of The Wanderer you are looking at has a doppelganger with a different cover! Be sure to check out both covers with the Wienermobile and the Rochester Country Fair, and thank you to everyone who commented on Facebook!
Hey, Mattapoisett! Got Ketchup?
By Jean Perry
Those enjoying the afternoon at Ned's Point Lighthouse on Sunday, August 17 did a double take when they suddenly saw a sight they were not expecting to see - a giant wiener on wheels parked alongside Ned's Point Lighthouse. It was not just any wiener on wheels: It was the famous Oscar Mayer Wienermobile, on location taking some promotional photographs from Mattapoisett's most iconic setting.
Mattapoisett resident Denise Mello was just driving up to Ned's Point to enjoy a dinnertime picnic around 6:30 pm that day when she spotted the Wienermobile parked in front of the lighthouse, with several people taking a series of photos of the Wienermobile from different angles.
"Oh! How cool! Look at that!" was Mello's initial reaction upon catching her first glimpse of the unexpected sight. She said, at first, that she just sat down to enjoy her dinner and did not give much thought to the peculiar sighting at the lighthouse. Then, she said, she thought she had a good chance of getting a few good photos of the Wienermobile, so she ran home, grabbed her camera, and returned to Ned's Point and starting clicking away.
"They were just taking pictures," said Mello. "They told me that they were shooting a commercial." More specifically, they were shooting a time-lapse film of the Wienermobile by the lighthouse as dusk set in, which apparently the company is doing in several locations across the country.
Word must have spread that the Wienermobile was in town because soon, Mello said, more people started driving into the Ned's Point parking lot to get a peek at the celebrity of sorts that was passing through, maybe snapping a few selfies by the giant hotdog by the sea.
Alexandra Longo of Oscar Mayer told The Wanderer that the commercial is part of a larger project involving Kraft Foods Marketing, the parent company for Oscar Mayer.
Rochester Grange Keeps Tradition Alive
By Jean Perry
Ask why Susan LaFleur does what she does, year after year, to organize the Annual Rochester Grange Fair and you'll get a humorous and also heartfelt mixed response.
At first, she'll tell you that it is because she is insane on some level - volunteering countless hours of time, even months before the Grange Fair festivities formally began on Friday, August 15, filling out all the paperwork with the State Department of Agriculture, designing the fair booklets, and all the time it takes setting up for the event.
And then, all joking aside, LaFleur, the Rochester Grange and Grange Fair secretary, will tell you why she really donates so much of her time and energy to coordinate one of the events that seems to dwindle every year across the state and across the country.
"It's tradition," said LaFleur on Saturday, August 16, minutes before participants in the Grange Fair would arrive to find out if their flower arrangement or gigantic zucchini won first prize in their respective competitions. "There are very few granges that are still doing them."
Every year, the members of the Rochester Grange and their friends bring forth their prize-winning tomatoes, squashes, eggplants, baked goods, handicrafts, you name it - all things country - in hopes that theirs will win first prize. Although, in many cases the prize does not exceed three dollars, they still get a pretty first, second, or third-place ribbon - plus bragging rights for having the most perfect green bell pepper in the town.
The Grange Country Fair tradition began 104 years ago, when LaFleur said granges were popular around the country and people flocked to the grange fairs to display the fruits of their labor, to socialize, and to gather as a community.
"Way back then the Grange was very agricultural. Now, it's a lot more ... it does everything in the community sense," said LaFleur. "They used the fair as a way to show off their crops to the world."
LaFleur said the grange fairs were a lot like the Rochester Country Fair of our own time, with horse pulling and cattle and sheep shows.
This year, according to Rochester Grange Assistant Steward Beth Gonneville, entries were a bit down from previous years, and people that normally enter simply did not this year. After all, it was an uncommonly late spring season this year, which delayed the planting of many a garden in Rochester.
"One girl said she had to plant twice this year," said Gonneville, "so the vegetables weren't ready in time."
Others just did not see the results as spectacular as in past seasons when it came to garden vegetables.
"Every year is different," said Gonneville.
But every August, the Rochester Grange Fair goes on as scheduled, and the Grange Hall is filled once again with baskets and rows of vegetables. Walking around, you could catch a whiff of that first-place set of green bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes just sitting there in their glory with their blue and red and white ribbons lovingly laid across them. You could almost taste that first-place juicy tomato, and imagine how great it would feel to chop up those perfect cucumbers and toss them into your salad.
It takes a lot of work for the grangers to set-up for the big day, and LaFleur said help is hard to find. The membership at the Grange is simply diminishing over time. And by Friday when participants arrive with their entries, LaFleur's head is spinning.
"You get frustrated," said LaFleur, "but at the same time, you just don't want to see them end."
Thank goodness for the Boy Scouts of Troop #31, said LaFleur, who come earlier before the event to set up the wooden stands and tables, and then take them down afterwards.
"Without them, we would be doomed," said LaFleur. "If they didn't come and do the heavy stuff, then we'd be in trouble."
Herb LaFleur, husband to Sue LaFleur, said he is also in it for the tradition. He went on to list his different roles at the Grange, such as treasurer, business agent, fair chairman, and former Grange Master. Do not forget general deputy of the Massachusetts State Grange, too.
"Oh, stop boasting," Mrs. LaFleur said to Mr. LaFleur, chuckling and adding, "We're just a little group of folks hanging out."
The spirit of tradition, like that of the LaFleurs, is what keeps the Rochester Grange Fair going year after year. And how long will Sue LaFleur remain secretary of the Rochester Grange?
"Basically, till I die," laughed LaFleur. "Nobody wants the job!"
To learn more about the Grange and why you should become involved, visit the National Grange website at www.nationalgrange.org.
Storm Rocks the Boats in Mattapoisett Harbor
By Jean Perry
Away from the coast, the windy rain storm that blew into the Southcoast on Wednesday, August 13, might not have seemed too powerful. At Mattapoisett Harbor, however, boats bounced and bobbed while others crashed into three- to six-foot waves and suffered extensive damage that required some heavy-duty assistance from local businesses and Mattapoisett's harbormaster and assistant harbormasters.
Mattapoisett Harbor, said Harbormaster Jill Simmons in a follow-up interview, was in a precarious situation on Wednesday when strong winds blew in from the southeast and hit the harbor head on. What made this the perfect storm for Mattapoisett Harbor in particular? The harbor has a rather wide opening, which welcomed the high winds and occasional gusts that reached as high as 40 miles per hour. In addition, the harbor faces southeast, the exact direction from which the storm came.
"The waves were moving up in force," said Simmons. "It got pretty lumpy in here."
The winner - or loser - for worst damage as a result of the storm was a big 37-foot trawler that started sinking and had to be raised out of the water Thursday, the day after the storm. Simmons said she thinks it was a total loss.
"It's enough to make you cry, I'll tell you that," said Simmons about the sinking boat. "It was a real beauty."
The damage did not stop there and, according to Simmons, another smaller vessel succumbed to the pounding waves and a number of other boats slammed into the skiff base and were broken up pretty badly.
Mattapoisett Harbor was full of boats moored for the season, but now, just a few days after the storm, Simmons said that only about half of those boats still remain in the water.
Simmons recalled a previous storm earlier in the year when the storm surge completely tore off the dinghy ramp, but damage to boats was at a minimum, simply because during that time of year there were not as many boats in the water.
"It happens periodically around here," said Simmons, "and it doesn't have to be a very strong storm for it to get crazy here."
Preserving Mattapoisett Roots
By Renae Reints
"It's an old tree. Older than you and me," wrote Richard Morgado, a Mattapoisett resident. His words continue to tell of a hollow tree on his property, held up by the thick vines that encircle it. This old tree - a playground in Morgado's youth - still stands on Dexter Lane as a memorial to its own age and history.
Morgado's story is one of ten collected so far by the Mattapoisett Tree Committee. These accounts, written and submitted by Mattapoisett residents, tell of the aged and beloved trees in their town.
An exhibit in the Mattapoisett Free Public Library displays these anecdotes, along with photographs and other visuals, including a beautiful oil painting by Priscilla Hathaway depicting the English Linden tree of her personal story.
While the exhibit at the library will only be on display for two weeks, the Tree Committee will continue to share people's stories at Town Hall in the future. As more stories are submitted, the committee plans to rotate them on a display next their Tree City USA plaque.
Tree Committee Chairman Sandy Hering is delighted with the townspeople's response to their project. She hopes to have another dozen stories submitted by the end of the year.
"There are a lot of stories that people have and if we don't record them, all of a sudden they're going to be gone," she said, "No one will know who planted that tree, or why was it planted, or what kind of activities used to occur underneath it. Some of the stories are really quite fun."
Hering cited one of her favorite experiences from this project - when Mattapoisett resident Howard Tinkham brought the Tree Committee a cover of Presto Press depicting a drawing of the posting tree on his property on Long Plain Road.
Presto Press, founded in 1954, was a weekly publication that ran in the Tri-Town for nearly forty years. This piece of local history showing a drawing of the posting tree, where the town warrant used to be hung, is a treasure to both Tinkham and the Tree Committee.
"He had it lovingly framed and it's beautifully hanging in his house right now," said Hering of Tinkham's Presto Press cover. The posting tree died and was removed long ago, but it is memorialized in the Presto Press drawing.
"We're trying to make sure that people appreciate the beauty of the trees that are here right now, because once they're chopped down, it takes so many years to regain that shade and that beauty that that tree represented to our town," said Hering.
By collecting cherished stories in the Tree Committee's latest community service project, Hering hopes the committee will be able to preserve this appreciation for the town's trees. Once they've collected enough stories, the Tree Committee may compile them into a small book to be printed by Bristol Community College.
Along with this project, the Tree Committee is actively protecting Mattapoisett's trees by working alongside the Highway Department on the road reconstruction of Main Street, Water Street, Beacon Street, and, eventually, Marion Road to Route 6.
"The Tree Committee has been doing a tree assessment of every tree on this route and what we hope to do is to identify the trees that are must-save trees," explained Hering, "We hope that the work will preserve the best of the trees and new trees can be planted so that future generations enjoy a shady street."
Trees provide more than just a shady street, and Hering illuminated the value of a green town by pointing out both the environmental and the economic benefits.
On the environmental side, trees mitigate some of the world's global warming issues, they secure soil during storms, and their evapotranspiration process helps cool the planet.
On the economic side, Hering said, "It's been proven that tree-lined streets are most desirable when people go to purchase houses and decide where they want to live," so planting and preserving trees in part maintains the town's economic value.
Some trees provide more than just environmental and economic benefits though - they can be sentimental and historical. As seen through the stories displayed in the Tree Committee's project, many Mattapoisett residents feel strong connections to the trees they played on in their youth.
Some stories preserve a culture of an older time - Howard Tinkham submitted a story about a tree on the west side of the Mattapoisett River, which is bent to point towards a favorable crossing to the east side of the river. This tree is evidence of how early nomadic Native Americans created a trail system by bending oak saplings to point towards destinations. What seems like just an oddly twisted tree actually has a meaningful history behind it.
Mary Worden of Ocean View Avenue summed up well the sentiment behind trees in her story about two Japanese Pines when she quoted American writer Joyce Kilmer: "I think that I shall never see ... a poem as lovely as a tree..."
If you have a story to share, you may submit it to Town Hall, attention Tree Committee, 16 Main Street, Mattapoisett, MA 02739.
Local Woman Fighting for a Cause
By Jean Perry
Mattapoisett's Shannon Leary is literally fighting for a cause. Leary has accepted a challenge to "knockout cancer" and is putting up her dukes during a months-long fundraising effort to raise funds for Dana Farber and the Jimmy Fund.
This year at the 2014 Belles of the Brawl, Leary will represent Mattapoisett in the ring as she throws punches on behalf of those battling cancer, hoping to raise a minimum of $4,000 to make the endeavor a success. So far, she has raised $3,100 and she is hoping her hometown of Mattapoisett will help her kick butt to surpass her fundraising goal.
The fundraiser is organized by Haymakers for Hope, which gives everyday people the chance to train and compete in an amateur charity boxing match on October 2 at Club Royale in Boston. The participants have no prior boxing experience and are assigned a local gym to train intensively for the event during the weeks leading up to the big day.
"I've always been an athlete," said Leary. She regularly participates in local events such as the Mattapoisett Road Race and Triathlon. "I always like to try something new, athletically."
Leary said she recently lost a dear friend to cancer, so this fundraiser is particularly close to her heart. "It's really an experience for me," said Leary about learning to box and raising awareness of the fight against cancer. "It's like a roller-coaster and I've only just started last week."
Boxing - this is quite out of her realm, said Leary, embarking on this four-month long life-changing journey.
"What I have learned the past few months boxing is that you have to really, really, really commit to boxing. You can't just do it when the mood strikes you," said Leary. "Boxing is not like skiing or tennis; it is not something you can do once a year, on vacation, or on a weekend off." Boxing, Leary said, even at this amateur level, requires "dedication, discipline and guts."
Leary used to be a math teacher "many lifetimes ago," teaching students how to tell time and, now, even a 30-second period of time messes with her mind while she is training for when she steps into the ring.
"Try punching with all-out speed and power on a bag for 30 seconds and you'll know what I am talking about," said Leary. She will have to contend with that, along with someone trying to punch her in the face while punching back, or course.
Leary said she finds the fundraiser both worthwhile and intriguing to her.
"Additionally, I wanted to show my seven and eight year-old sons that their mom is their mom, and is also an athlete," said Leary. "As with those battling cancer, I want my boys to understand part of life is striving to set and work toward achieving goals and in both cases the process requires hard work."
Love, determination, persistence, and belief are the characteristics of a person who is battling cancer in their life, said Leary - and this is her way of honoring those who are "fighting the biggest fight of their lives."
"I would like you to join me and become a part of something bigger than any of us and hopefully 'knockout' cancer!
If you would like to support Shannon Leary fight for those battling cancer, you can visit her fundraising website at https://www.crowdrise.com/ShannonLearyh4hbelles2014.
You can purchase tickets to the event and the proceeds of the tickets go directly into Leary's fundraising account.
The Belles of the Brawl II is October 2 at 7:30 pm at Club Royale, located at 279 Tremont Street in Boston.
Due Diligence Before Approval
Rochester Conservation Commission
By Jean Perry
A continued hearing to demolish an existing cottage to make way for a larger single-family dwelling was again continued, after the engineer for Gloria Doviak of 356 Snows Pond Road lacked some important details the Rochester Conservation Commission needed before approving the Notice of Intent, which includes a new sewage disposal system and site grading within the 100-foot buffer zone.
Some concerned abutters also turned out for the public meeting on August 19 to ask questions and underscore their concerns over the proposed work disturbing the wetlands on the property.
Katherine Hansen recalled that when she filed with ConCom years ago to raze and rebuild on her property, she was required to maintain the same footprint as the pre-existing house and she wondered why Doviak could be allowed to increase the square footage of her new construction.
"I'm just confused as to what the guidelines are, building in the buffer zone" said Hansen. "How can they do it, in land that basically doesn't dry out?" Hansen later explained that she was not trying to challenge the decision, just seeking clarification.
Conservation Agent Laurell Farinon, unable to recall the details of Hansen's project, told Hansen that she would look at her file, but Farinon thought she recalled that the property might have had a more significant slope toward the resource area than on Doviak's.
Some details Farinon requested be included in a revised site plan for the next meeting were the location of a small outhouse to the east, the 100-year flood plain location, the location of an existing dock, and establishing the wetlands delineation on the plan.
A letter from the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program confirmed no adverse impacts to protected wildlife.
Some of the septic system concerns will have to be approved by the Board of Health, as well. The matter was continued until September 2.
The commission also continued the public meeting for a Request for Determination for Harris Real Estate Boston, LLC to raze the existing structure at 45 Kings Highway and remove the septic system after the Planning Board requested that one of the main buildings on the lot be removed in order to comply with zoning bylaws.
Brian Grady of GAF Engineering, who also represented Doviak, lacked other important details regarding the septic tank removal the commission needs in order to make a determination.
Farinon recommended Grady provide a detailed summary to the commission since the application called for the removal of the old tank, yet Grady was describing the crushing, filling, and abandonment of the old septic tank.
The site plan calls for the addition of topsoil, seeding, and the eventual removal of the driveway to convert the property into a more natural setting. The matter was also continued until September 2.
In other matters, the commission issued negative determinations, meaning no NOIs are required, for three other RDAs - two of them after-the-fact filings and one for the Town of Rochester.
"I didn't know there was such a thing as a buffer zone," admitted Robert Tavares of 62 Sarah Sherman Road, after having repaved his driveway within the buffer zone without filing with the ConCom.
The ConCom issued a friendly reminder to all residents of Rochester that you must file with the commission before doing any work inside the 100-foot wetlands buffer zone.
Gordon Sylvia of 681 Walnut Plain Road, after receiving a cease and desist order from Farinon, filed the following day for permission to resume clearing overgrown debris and vegetation to build a storage structure near a slope towards the wetlands. He also plans to spread gravel to stabilize the area.
Anticipating the grand opening of its newest conservation property, Doggetts Brook, the commission issued a negative determination for the restoration of some areas disturbed by illegal ATV use and to also remove a small amount of brush in order to maintain access to a small portion of the trail that encroaches on the wetlands.
The next meeting of the Rochester Conservation Commission is September 2 at 7:00 pm at Town Hall.
Brief Agenda, Weighty Issues
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell
Brad Saunders, representing the Bay Club, was once again before the Mattapoisett Planning Board to continue his efforts in making changes to the zoning bylaws. As previously presented to the board, Saunders has drafted changes that would allow some general business-zoned locations to be used for cluster sub-divisions and some light industrial areas to be re-zoned as open space. During the last meeting of the board that was held on July 21, Saunders made his presentation of the changes he and his partners would like to put before voters during fall town meeting. On this night, he wanted to know what steps to take next.
Chairman Tom Tucker gave Saunders a form to complete so that a public hearing could be scheduled and posted as required by law. Tucker said, "The Planning Board isn't suggesting these changes; you are, so you'll be presenting these at town meeting."
The public meeting for these proposed bylaw changes will be scheduled for September 15 during the next regular Planning Board meeting (Labor Day holiday negates an earlier meeting). The public is encouraged to participate in the vetting of the suggested changes.
Also on the agenda was a continuation of the hearing with Michael Solimando for the sub-division on Appaloosa Lane. Their engineering representative was a no-show, which caused Tucker to comment, "This is a game. I'm getting tired of it." GAF Engineering was expected to provide updated plans for storm water management and drainage along with other information that showed forward movement on what has become a very long, wet road that is still incomplete.
Abutters in attendance expressed frustration and wondered if the board could rescind the Form C approval issued for the sub-division now, rather than give the applicant more time to do nothing. Although board members said they could, they preferred to give the applicant additional time to come forward with positive progress. It was further noted that Highway Superintendent Barry Denham was now involved, trying to work with GAF and the town engineering team for a long-term solution that would benefit everyone. Tucker said, however, that if they failed to demonstrate progress by the next meeting, he would entertain a rescission motion.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is September 15 in the town hall conference room.
Master Plan Gains Traction
Marion Planning Board
By Camden Gaspar
The Marion Planning Board continued discussion August 18 on the proposed town Master Plan. The stated goal of the Master Plan is to provide a framework for how Marion can become a sustainable community in the future by creating a plan of action that addresses the interdependence of economic, environmental, and social issues, allowing the town to grow and prosper without diminishing the natural and cultural resources on which the town depends.
"The point of having the Master Plan is to create a process where the town's boards, subcommittees, and taxpayers can work together to determine the feasibility of future projects for the town," board member Jerry "Rico" Ferrari explained. "It's important to have a documented process showing the town's goals and outlining how we will accomplish them."
Ferrari continued, "It also makes it easier for the town to apply for grants and funding from the state. They want to know how the money is being used, so it helps to have a detailed plan to show them and makes it more likely that our requests for funding will be granted."
Ferrari and board member Norman Mills, along with Marion resident Marilyn Whalley, a retired town planner, have taken the lead on constructing the plan. Ferrari and Mills are acting as a Planning Board subcommittee in charge of the development of the Master Plan.
Ferrari started the discussion by noting that the website for the Master Plan must be revamped as a first step. The website will act as a repository of information for the town's government, as well as the public, regarding the goals and processes of the plan.
A key component in the development of the Master Plan is the inclusion of other town boards, committees, and citizens.
"The Master Plan committee should include one member of [every board] or selectmen appointed committee that governs any aspect of town government. We should also include a citizen at large," Whalley suggested in a document presented to the Planning Board. "The objective ... is to allow all aspects of Marion's citizenry an equal opportunity to weigh in on the goals and action items that will be established."
The representatives from each town board and committee that are involved with the Master Plan's creation will be called the Master Plan Advisory Committee.
To that end, Ferrari said that the website will be essential when it comes to community outreach and encouraging involvement. The board also discussed soliciting written comments and even surveys to gauge the public's sentiment on the various items in the Master Plan. Citizen feedback is critical because it will help the Master Plan committee make decisions about the objectives and action items in every segment of the plan.
The feedback gained from the citizens and town officials in the planning process will help the committee streamline the Master Plan and keep the cost of designing it down. The average cost for the creation of the Master Plan is estimated to range from $50,000 - $150,000 based on the costs other towns have incurred in the creation of their own Master Plans. Whalley pointed out that the bigger the plan, the more expensive and time-consuming it will be to create and implement.
It will be imperative for the board to have all of the funding committed for the project before they contact a professional planning agency to help develop the plan. This will allow the board to control the timeline and keep the committee intact and focused on execution. The Southeastern Regional Planning & Economic Development District (SRPEDD), in conjunction with the Master Plan committee, will help create the timeline and general planning for the Master Plan to ensure that its creation stays on time and within the budget.
The last item discussed was the hiring of a part-time planner, whose sole job would be to gather the relevant data for the planning agency and keep the Master Plan committee on task.
"The tasks involved in a Master Plan are much too time-consuming for a volunteer board. A part-time planner will be needed in addition to SRPEDD," Whalley said.
The next steps in this process will be for the Planning Board to complete a financial plan for the Master Plan and solicit the funding from the Finance Committee. After that, the board will notify the Board of Selectmen and Town Administrator of their intention to develop a Master Plan and express their interest in having community members participate as an advisory committee to Master Plan committee. Letters of invitation to the town departments, committees, and boards will be sent to solicit a representative from each to act as a member of the at-large Master Plan Advisory Committee.
Lastly, the Planning Board Master Plan subcommittee will appoint two members of the board to work under them, reviewing all of the relevant bylaws before any work gets done on the Master Plan. They will also work with the part-time planner, should one be hired.
The next Planning Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, September 2 at 5:00 pm at the Marion Town House.
ConCom and MOSAC Visit Grassi Bog
Marion Conservation Commission
By Jean Perry
Two new aluminum gangways are going in at Grassi Bog to provide trail access for hikers after the Marion Conservation Commission on August 13 approved the Marion Open Spaces Acquisition Commission's request - but it did not go through without a little harsh criticism about MOSAC and the Grassi Bog property from one commission member.
Before opening the public hearing for the Request for Determination to install the gangways, the commission briefly touched upon a MOSAC memorandum sent to the commission in response to a memo dated June 11, 2014 that ConCom sent MOSAC regarding damage to seven of the eight water control structures at the wetlands site off Route 6.
The June 11 memo to MOSAC requested an investigation into the root cause of the damage that some ConCom members observed on May 24, stating its concern that "something is not correct," as written in the memo.
"Within months of the modification," the memo reads, "[water control structures] have been effectively destroyed by one storm event." The memo continues, "Either the design is not sufficient for the expected rainfall events or the modifications are not per plan."
In response, MOSAC Chairman John Rockwell sent their memo explaining that the Natural Resources Conservation Program - the federal program that funded and designed the project - is looking into the issues. Rockwell wrote that, in addition to the significant water flow due to the five and a half-inch rainstorm back in March, "the structures were the recipient of flood waters suddenly released from 50 acres of several upstream cranberry bog reservoirs."
"It's kind of a mess," said Conservation Commission member Stephen Gonsalves. "My question is: If they can't even get this right, how do they expect to take over Sprague's Cove?"
Gonsalves said it did not make sense to him to "fix something that's not broken" while the focus should be on "fixing what's in the backyard."
"This is a mess," said Gonsalves. "I don't know what we've accomplished."
ConCom Chairman Lawrence Dorman stated that Gonsalves' sentiments were not necessarily those of the commission, and Gonsalves confirmed that it was just his opinion.
In a follow-up phone interview, Rockwell explained that since the NRCP plan was implemented, the water management structures would often fail, requiring constant upkeep while the intention was to devise a system that required no management.
"It was just a constant problem," said Rockwell. He said during the March rainstorm event, the 50 acres of floodwater from the bogs upstream overloaded the eight-acre storage pond. "He (the owner of the upstream bogs) let it all go," said Rockwell. "
And 50 acres of floodwater does not fit into eight, as Rockwell put it.
"It's just a pretty big problem for us now," he added. "We had an unexpected occurrence of events."
MOSAC will have to file with the Conservation Commission once the NCRP devises a new water management plan.
Jeff Oakes of MOSAC appeared before the commission for the RDA to install the gangways, which received a Negative 3 determination, meaning the project may proceed and no further action under the Wetlands Protection Act is required.
In other matters, the commission gave a Negative 2 and 3 determination for a RDA for fellow commission member Jeffrey Doubrava to remove phragmites in a beach above the high tide line.
Doubrava said two years ago he had no phrags on his property and now he has roughly 200. He said he plans to use an herbicide in early September, treat the plants again two weeks later, and then remove and properly dispose of them.
Doubrava said he did not need a license to apply the herbicide as long as he remained within his own property.
"Ah, so you can have your phragmites and eradicate them too," said Gonsalves.
A Notice of Intent for Thomas Stemberg of 114 Point Road was again continued until September 10. Stemberg seeks to demolish the existing structure on the property, construct a single-family dwelling, as well as a pool, pool house, tennis court, driveway, and walkways.
The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is August 27 at 7:00 pm in the Marion Town House.
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