Bylaw Updates Aiming at March

            The Marion Planning Board reviewed what Chairman Norm Hills described as “another batch of bylaw changes” when it met remotely via Zoom on Monday night.

            Board member Andrew Daniel anticipates problems enforcing Section 230-6.2 on Signs, which on election days would authorize town employees to remove political signs inside of the required 150-foot setback. He didn’t consider the regulation to be realistic.

            Most of the rest of the freshly changed bylaws, which have been corrected or updated for consistency by the Codification Committee (a subcommittee of the Planning Board), were met with brief discussions for clarity. Two new bylaws that were introduced on Monday night were requested by the town clerk.

            Hills instructed the Planning Board to decide on whether to wait or vote on bylaws that are finished. They opted to wait, see more of the bylaw updates and then hold a more substantial discussion.

            The completion, said Hills, is something the board could “maybe shoot for some time in March.” Board member Eileen Marum agreed.

            “The next meeting, we have to meet in person.” said Daniel.

            Hills helped the Board of Health craft a letter that will go out to the state Department of Environmental Protection in response to the contentious Title 5 septic regulations currently open to public comment.

            “This has generated a lot of consternation to say the least, and a lot of towns are responding to this. … The cape is up in arms, I’m sure,” said Hills, noting that municipalities on the other side of the bridges will be first in line for enforcement of a requirement to upgrade private septic systems to include denitrification technology.

            Last year, the Marion Board of Health introduced a new bylaw requiring such an upgrade in the case of any new septic installation.

            Marum noted that UMass Dartmouth held a public hearing on the issue Tuesday night and will hold another hearing on January 30 that she plans to attend.

            Daniel publicly thanked Hills for writing the letter and sending it. “The state has lost its mind, to be honest with you,” he said, adding recommendation that Hills write the state a letter about the new energy code that he says kicked in on January 1.

            Hills credited the Board of Health for writing the letter, only noting that, “The last sentence is mine.”

            The final paragraph of the letter reads: “Forcing homeowners to spend tens of thousands of dollars on nitrogen-reducing septic systems would be inappropriate if the largest source of nitrogen is from storm water run-off, lawns, golf courses and not Title V septic systems. Unfunded mandates have to stop.”

            In other business, the board also reviewed its 2022 Annual Report, which was swiftly met with approval across the board. “I thought it was well done,” said Marum, and members Daniel and Alanna Nelson quickly agreed. The board voted to approve and submit the report.

            The board’s FY24 Budget of $82,670 includes $78,520 in full-time wages. The rest is filed under various expenses.

            The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board was not scheduled upon adjournment.

Marion Planning Board

By Mick Colageo

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