Frigate Replacement Stirs Controversy

The revival of the property at the old Frigate Restaurant on Route 6 in Marion was discussed at the Marion Planning Board’s meeting on Monday evening.

The property was acquired by Arnold Johnson of Johnson Family Investments of 806 Mill Street c/o Mill Street c/o GAF Engineering/Anthi Frangiadis Associates.

Johnson addressed the Board and said the project would include a produce market and an ice cream window, with picnic tables to the rear of the property for consumers.

Abutters attended and weighed in with opinions regarding the ice cream window, which is part of the proposed project. The property abuts the rear of Old Sheepfield Road, part of the Old Knoll development. Abutters include those from the Old Knoll area and those abutting on Route 6.

At issue was a conflict of interest between the Marion town engineering firm, Field Engineering, and the fact that Johnson is the Chairman of the Rochester Planning Board. Field Engineering also represents the town of Rochester.

“To avoid any sense of impropriety, and to make sure that everything is as it should be,” Marion Planning Board Chairman Pat McArdle said, “we will look to town counsel to provide an opinion on all the issues involved in the project.”

The Board agreed to hire another firm, but have them look at the report by Field Engineering to reduce the overall cost of determining storm water runoff, water drainage, traffic flow and parking at the site. Using common sense, McArdle said that most of the report could be used, unbiased, due to the actuarial nature of the existing report.

Board member Ted North brought up a number of questions regarding the bylaw and asked to have town counsel respond to the questions. At issue was whether the Zoning Board of Appeals contemplated the fact that food would be consumed outside the building at picnic tables behind the establishment.

An issue raised by an attendee was that the size of the building, if it didn’t succeed as a produce market, was perfect for a convenience store, such as Tedeschi’s, to move right in and occupy the site. Many abutters attended the meeting and spoke against the ice cream window portion of the site plan.

In other news, the Board agreed to the send the map for the solar overlay project which was approved at Town Meeting last month. The Board approved to have the project given to GAF Engineering c/o Bill Madden. No estimate has been received as yet. The Board voted to give GAF the project to estimate the cost.

A public hearing was held for a Special Permit for Will Saltonstall, Allens Point LLC at 380 Wareham Street c/o Saltonstall Architects to allow construction of an addition to an existing structure. The setback, according to town bylaws, is 50 feet and the requested setback is 32.6 feet. The applicant cited various abutters, whose setbacks have been approved by the Board at much less than what was requested. The Board closed the hearing and took it under advisement.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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