The Wanderer - Mobile Edition


Conservation Restriction Will Ensure Water Protection

Marion Board of Selectmen

By Jean Perry

The Marion Board of Selectmen on June 20 approved a conservation restriction for an approximately 165-acre property off Wolf Island Road that will protect even more of the Mattapoisett River Valley drinking water supply for many years to come.

Town Meeting back in May had approved spending $20,000 towards the acquisition of the land, but the majority of the funding was provided by a state drinking water protection grant for which Marion Water & Sewer Superintendent Rob Zora had applied.

Alan Decker from the Buzzards Bay Coalition said the land, which straddles the Mattapoisett and Rochester town lines, would provide for up to four additional source wells for the Town of Marion within one four-acre area allotted for the purpose.

The closing on the property purchase is set for next week, and the Towns of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, as well as the Town of Rochester, are all working towards the permanent conservation restriction of the property for the perpetual preservation of drinking water.

The land would be open to the public for passive recreational use.

Before voting to allow the conservation restriction process to begin, Selectman Norm Hills pointed out the language in the paperwork that assigns maintenance of the property to the Town of Marion, so the other two selectmen should be conscious of the maintenance costs the Town would incur.

In other matters, Town Administrator Paul Dawson told the selectmen that efforts on behalf of the Town to find an alternative non-monetary solution to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineer's 'mitigation fee' for the unpermitted construction of a "seawall" near Sprague's Cove have failed.

Town counsel, in a letter to the board, stated that he had sought alternatives to the $33,500 mitigation fee - essentially a fine - but he concluded that any legal attempts to appeal the decision in court would be unsuccessful for the Town.

"Any attempt to litigate this would be ultimately unsuccessful," said Dawson.

Town counsel also sought to offer up partial payment in lieu of the full amount, which was also unsuccessful.

"I understand, it's a bit of a pill to swallow," said Dawson to the board. "We have really worked hard to come up with a different alternative. I don't see one and I don't think one is likely."

Town Meeting had already approved the expenditure of the funds in May. The board voted to approve the payment of the fine.

The selectmen also discussed two additional "Little Free Libraries" that need permanent homes in town. The Elizabeth Taber Library acquired two more Little Free Libraries, in addition to the one currently standing at the Marion Music Hall.

Hills suggested a number of locations, including Silvershell Beach, the new community center, and Old Landing. Chairman Jody Dickerson charged Hills with meeting with Library Director Libby O'Neill to assist in finding the two Little Free Libraries homes.

"It would be great if we could make more of them," said Selectman Steve Gonsalves.

The public hearing for Shea Doonan's aquaculture permit application was continued until September 19 at the request of the applicant.

The next meeting of the Marion Board of Selectmen is scheduled for July 11 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Police Station.

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