Solar Project at Landfill Moving Forward

After a moment of silence in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings, the Marion Board of Selectmen opened their meeting on Tuesday evening with a full agenda.

First up was an appointment with the Marion Energy Management Committee for a review of a draft Request for Proposal for a community solar garden to be located on the town landfill.

EMC members Bill Saltonstall, David Pierce, Eileen Marum and Jennifer Francis presented to the board. Although the solar overlay area at the town landfill consists of approximately fifty acres, the level plateau at the top of the landfill, consisting of approximately 2.4 acres, is being put out to bid to contractors to put a solar installation on the dump.

“There are financial advantages to the town and this will move us ahead … we will have a short article on the warrant at town meeting asking to approve the RFP to get bids,” said Saltonstall. “We think it’s a good site. It’s fenced in and the only shade is a sliver shadow from the cell tower for only a short time daily.”

Town Administrator Paul Dawson said that the EMC “has worked tirelessly and have been very prepared, knowledgeable in the industry and standards and has done an all-around professional job in getting the town up and running in solar development.”

Selectman Jon Henry noted that the town’s AAA bond rating reflects how the town is run and that work done by the EMC helps to show how the town is organized and forward thinking.

Next up, the board discussed the applications for appointment to the Town House Building Committee. There were twelve applicants. Shaun Cormier, facilities manager for the town, culled through the applications and recommended five of them. The idea was to keep the committee manageable. After discussion, the BOS determined that seven would be a good number for the committee, given that some members may not be able to make every meeting.

In the end, the following committee members were voted in by the BOS: Robert Raymond, Bill Saltonstall, Priscilla Ditchfield, Evelyn Crocker, Wayne Mattson, Meg Steinberg and Jon Henry (representing the BOS). It was noted that Henry had over four decades of experience in the building industry, including a major stint as a member of the Army Corps of Engineers. The board thanked all the applicants for their interest in serving the town.

The board discussed a recommendation by Council on Aging Director Susan Schwager regarding guidelines in awarding the Boston Post Cane, which is awarded annually to the town’s oldest resident. Schwager listed three requirements for the award including: 1) the individual must be a year-round resident of Marion; 2) he/she must have lived in Marion for at least five years; and 3) if in a nursing facility, the individual must have the ability to move back into the Marion community.

The board discussed the request and, after much dialog concerning those in the local nursing facility who often come from other towns, agreed to the guidelines suggested by Schwager.

Various credit memorandums, bond anticipation notes and agreements with the Massachusetts Water Pollution Abatement Trust were also discussed and approved.

Cumberland Farms (North), formerly known as Christy’s, applied for a common victualler permit to offer food on a seasonal basis at the now vacant store/gas station at the intersection of Spring Street and Route 6. The facility is across the street from the Cumberland Farms next to Eastern Bank on the other side of Route 6. No gas will be available at the facility.

The BOS approved the victualler permit with the condition that all permits are fully compliant, as verified with the Marion Fire Chief.

Dawson gave an update on the Roadway Improvement Project and said that construction had begun at the intersection of Water and South Streets and that the work in that area should be done by or before Memorial Day. After that project is completed, Ryder Lane will follow.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry


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