Pier in Marion Harbor Approved

A special permit for a pier extending 253 feet into Marion Harbor at 203 Front Street was approved unanimously at the Marion Planning Board’s meeting on Tuesday evening.

A zoning bylaw change approved at the May 2011 Town Meeting led the way for the pier proposal by David and Linda Nielson. David Davignon addressed the Board and said that the design of the 4-foot wide pier required much detail due to an eel grass meadow which requires sunlight to survive.

The pier will begin at the lawn of the home, which currently has a vertical stone sea wall that was built many decades ago. The deck of the pier would allow sufficient sunlight to the eel grass meadow below.

The gangway will consist of two floats which will have chains and pilings at or above the pier itself in order to avoid pulling them out in the winter.

Chairman Jay Ryder asked about the floats, noting that he hadn’t heard about the possibility of leaving the floats in during the winter. Davignon said that the technology is new and gave two local examples of the same type of float that have been installed in other waterfront towns.

The project has undergone extensive review by the Army Corps of Engineers and Conservation Commission and has garnered approvals by the Marion Harbormaster and the Shellfish Officer.

“I called Mike Cormier [Harbormaster] and asked him about the length,” said Ryder. “He is OK with it, that’s what I needed to hear,” said Ryder.

Construction can begin on May 1 and must end by October 15. A barge with a crane on top will be situated in the harbor and can only work two hours prior to high tide and two hours after high tide to avoid stranding issues.

In other business, Pamela Marean, a grant writer hired by the Town of Marion, addressed the Board and asked about their priorities for grants. Marean said that she was asking all boards in the town to give guidance on their needs so that she can research grants available for projects.

A lively discussion followed, with members discussing the ‘master plan’ of the overlay district which starts on Route 6 and angles into the business area of the village along Front Street.

Marean spoke about the funding now available to towns to support the SouthCoast Rail corridor, which would bring commuter train service to New Bedford. Marean implied that Marion could see some growth in population because people tend to want to live near the commuter rail into Boston.

A public hearing was held to discuss the solar bylaw that is being proposed by the Marion Energy Management Committee in conjunction with the Marion Planning Board.

Jennifer Francis and Norm Hills represented the Committee and presented a comprehensive outline of residential solar requirements. Planning Board members spoke about the possibility of a solar garden at the town dump, which prompted much discussion.

Francis noted that as part of Marion becoming a ‘Green Community,’ solar is a vital part of the initiative and a public hearing should take place so residents can learn more about the bylaw and the benefits to the town.

The Board agreed to focus on two bylaws, one on solar and the other to update the current bylaw addressing wind power.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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