Abutters to Contest Front Street Solar

            Several abutters gathered for the June 7 Zoom meeting of the Marion Planning Board for the express purpose of attending a scheduled public hearing with applicant My Generation Solar, which applied for minor site plan review and a special permit for construction of a 610 square-foot, ground-mounted solar array in a Residence B zoning district at 8 Quails Crossing.

            The abutters were disappointed to learn that the public hearing would only be opened in order to continue it to the board’s next meeting on Monday, June 21. Planning Board Chair Will Saltonstall explained that, due to a mailing mishap, the abutters were not properly informed of the details of the case in a timely manner and that a continuance is appropriate.

            Prior to the meeting, the abutters in attendance had sent the Planning Board and the media an organized response, noting their intention to contest the special permit. The response said that abutters’ notices were not received within the 14 days of the public notice but as recently as two and three prior to the June 7 public hearing.

            The letter sent by abutter Susan E. Mattson of 571 Front Street read in part: “It has been contentious, beginning with the construction of the large space metal building, the clearing of the trees, and finally the proposed installation of ground mounted solar panels. The abutters knew nothing of this until we saw the Legal Notice in The Wanderer.” Ten photos including the metal building, houses on the abutting properties, and multiple views of the plantings intended to screen the project were attached to the email.

            Attempts made by abutters to engage the board in discussion were determined to be inside the subject matter of the case and were rebuffed. A further attempt to discuss process was allowed, and Saltonstall encouraged the abutters to submit any information including studies referenced in their response to the Planning Board for its consumption ahead of the June 21 continued public hearing.

            The Planning Board reorganized, and Saltonstall remains chairperson. The vice chair will be Eileen Marum, and Joe Rocha will be clerk. The two new members will be delegates to other committees, as Alanna Nelson will represent the Planning Board to Marion’s Community Preservation Committee and Jonathan Henry will represent the board to the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District. Marum made the nomination, citing Henry’s prior experience with SRPEDD. “It will give us more power with SRPEDD,” she said, pointing out that board member Norm Hills already represents the Select Board to SRPEDD.

            In other business, the board voted to approve payment of $4,096.83 to Beals & Thomas for its review of a subdivision project.

            Per Hills’ request, the board’s next agenda will include peer review information due May 28 and rules and regulations for board discussion.

            Marum pointed out an error on Page 10 of SRPEDD’s annual report in which a photograph of the Osprey Marsh Landing trail was listed as being in Mattapoisett. The Sippican Lands Trust Osprey Marsh trail is in Planting Island Cove in Marion. Marum pointed out that Stanley Bradford built the path and that Jim Bride of the Sippican Lands Trust made sure construction included handicapped access. Marum told the board that Town Planner Gil Hilario said he would contact SRPEDD about the error.

            The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, June 21, at 7:00 pm.

Marion Planning Board

By Mick Colageo

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