Cumberland Traffic Concerns Addressed

With the recent closing of a Marion Cumberland Farms gas station and retail store, the Cumberland Farms directly across Route 6 has doubled its sales and traffic, according to the Marion Planning Board.

“I’m concerned that someone may be injured or killed entering or exiting the property,” said board member Steve Gonsalves. “It’s an accident waiting to happen,” he said. Mr. Gonsalves said that he witnessed cars waiting in line for gasoline and that there was one cashier waiting on multiple customers purchasing gas and groceries at the store. “It’s the only game in town now,” he said. “It was scary to see someone pull out in front of a stream of oncoming traffic,” said Mr. Gonsalves.

The board discussed the issue and asked the public, via the broadcast on ORCTV, to be patient and be aware of other vehicles entering and exiting.

“Be patient and avoid high traffic hours and get your gas in the evening or at times other than right before work or right after,” said board member Tom Magauran.

The board reviewed the scope of the proposal for the consulting account for the Cumberland Farms project which totals $4500. The monies are for Field Engineering, hired by the Town of Marion, to oversee and check on developments during the construction of the new two-story facility.

Field Engineering represents the town in overseeing that what was proposed in the plan actually happens and works with the contractors to quickly resolve any issues arising during the construction. The representative for the town, Ken Motta, will visually inspect work being done and report back to the town. All of the funds in the account were provided by Cumberland Farms.

In other business, the board discussed the Marion project proposed by the Buzzards Bay Habitat for Humanity (BBAHH) which will be located at 185 Wareham Road. The Planning Board appointed board member Sherman Briggs to represent the board at meetings pertaining to the project.

Board members discussed the original lot size of 5,000 square feet, which was approved at Marion town meeting. “We should have caught it, but we didn’t,” said Mr. Magauran. “The lot is too small for a family.”

The board agreed to bring the issue to the spring town meeting and request a lot size no smaller than 15,000 square feet. “This will allow a family to put up a swing set and have room outside to play,” said Mr. Magauran.

In other business, Mr. Magauran discussed ideas to bring before the town meetings in both the spring and fall. “We need to look at what the Planning Board’s purpose is,” said Mr. Magauran, who asked board members to come up with a number of principles to eliminate some of the procedures that many residents go through to get a variance or approval in the use of their property.

Mr. Magauran said that the passage of the 1999 up zoning by-laws created a burden for many town residents who live on non-conforming lots. “85 to 90 percent of areas in Marion are now non-conforming,” said Mr. Magauran. “The mechanism isn’t the issue, it’s about what is reasonable for the area,” said Mr. Magauran. The board agreed to look into the idea.
Member John Sweeney brought up the issue of accessory apartments and said that he recently read an article about families whose children couldn’t afford a home of their own and moved in with parents, who agreed to split expenses if they could live in an in-law apartment built onto the home.

“I’m interested in this area and think that there are quite a few people in this situation,” said Mr. Sweeney. The current by-law allows for an in-law apartment of 850 square feet. “That’s too small… it should be around 1200 square feet… I want to work on this issue,” he said. The board said that sewer tie-ins would complicate the in-law apartment issue, but that they would take it up for discussion at a future meeting. Mr. Magauran said that he believed the affordable housing statutes listed a minimum of 1300 square feet for a livable unit housing a small family.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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