Open Space and Land Grants on Agenda

The Buzzards Bay Coalition has accumulated close to $4.5 million from various funding sources to assist in the acquisition of land known as Nasketucket, 400 acres of farm fields and woodlands, and Mattapoisett River Valley, just over 200 acres, reported Brendan Annette of the coalition. Annette was before the board to have them sign new applications and to request letters that are required to be signed by this town commission by state mandate. The coalition has been working for over 10 years to secure some of these parcels and continues in its tireless efforts to protect land from development and give it to the towns for open space, conserved lands, and recreational activities for the public. From the coalition’s Facebook page we find details on this land and why it is critical to the town:

“Spanning the towns of Fairhaven and Mattapoisett, Nasketucket Bay contains some of Buzzards Bay’s healthiest water and extensive wildlife habitat. To protect Nasketucket Bay’s health, the Buzzards Bay Coalition is working to conserve nearly 400 acres of land vulnerable to development.

Specifically, the land conservation project will: Protect 197 acres of forests, coastal wetlands and waterfront, opening these areas to the public for outdoor recreation; prevent development of 201 acres of active farmland through conservation restrictions; link the Phoenix/Mattapoisett Bike Path with the Nasketucket Bay State Reservation; connect the Austin Pond Conservation Area along the Nasketucket River with the Mariner Youth Soccer fields, the Nasketucket Woods Conservation Area, and the proposed nature trails behind the East Fairhaven School; maintain extraordinary views of Nasketucket Bay, its natural shoreline, and historic rural landscape; secure wildlife habitat for a variety of plant and animal species, including state and federally protected species like box turtles and roseate terns.”

The Mattapoisett River Valley parcels are needed to help ensure the clean drinking water supply in this area but to date, the Coalition has not been successful in doing so. However, undeterred by funding shortfalls ($2.5 million still needs to be sourced) and volumes of paperwork, Annette said he was submitting new applications. Board members agreed to sign all necessary forms and draft the letters required by the state for the application process to continue.

Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold reminded the public that the open space questionnaire is still available on the town’s website and will be remain up for public comment until the end of July. She urged the public to use this forum to give voice to their desires about the future of Mattapoisett’s open spaces.

These projects tie into a much larger overall assessment of land use in Mattapoisett and the future complexion of the community into perpetuity.

In other business:

A request for determination of applicability by Ron & Danielle Bick, 37 Silver Shell Avenue, to build a 10-by-14-foot shed received permission to move forward with no conservation issues raised.

Bob Field from Field Engineering came before the board with a request for determination of applicability for Cindy Penberton, 7 Pine Island Rd., to clear vegetation within the 100-foot buffer zone to create a yard area for a single family dwelling. It was noted by Field that the existing structure on the property is slated to be demolished on Wednesday, which neighbors applauded as an improvement to an eyesore they have lived with for over 10 years. Standard conditions were imposed on the clearing and approval was granted.

Also receiving approval – some with necessary conditions and some without – were Robert and Cathleen Wheeler, 13 North Rd., to erect a prefab 4-by-8-foot shed adjacent to the house; Philip Spillane, 9 Oliver St., for a 14-by-26-foot addition built on sono-tube footings; and James Neeley, 0 Rock Street, to construct a single family dwelling.

Lastly, a request for a certificate of compliance by Alan Ewing Engineering, for 8 Creek St., was approved.

Chair Peter Newton accepted a letter of resignation letter from Ken Dawicki citing a conflict in scheduling. This departure leaves a vacancy on the Conservation Commission. This vacancy will be taken up by the Selectmen in the coming weeks. Newton told the public that anyone interested in assisting the town by being considered for the open slot should send a letter to Town Administrator Michael Gagne.

After approving the minutes from the previous meeting the evening’s meeting ended with beautiful summer breezes freshening the humid air.

by Marilou Newell

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