Multi-family developments are progressing in Marion, where the Select Board heard the case of Matt Zucker’s Route 6 Cottages development during its September 8 meeting.
Zucker’s re-zoning request from Residence D (which he can build by-right) to Residence E, he asserts, will allow him to build the multi-family development that he believes the townspeople need and want. To prove his intentions, Zucker paid $50,000 to fund a Weston & Samson study and agreed to a deed restriction capping the number of units at 48.
“It’s a huge investment for us in the town…. We want to work as a team on this,” said Zucker.
The Select Board’s consensus is to put Zucker’s request onto the warrant for the October 19 Special Town Meeting, and its members will make that recommendation official when they vote to close the warrant.
Zucker explained his intent is for an over-55 village with market amenities like walking trails. His project began its vetting process with the Marion Planning Board in the spring and remains in process. “We think we put together a … vastly sup plan. There are not many 30-acre sites left that are on the waterfront.”
Based on the constructions of 12 units at a time, Zucker anticipates a three-year buildup.
Residence E multi-family housing projects require the developer’s choice of 10-percent subsidized housing or the option to make a cash donation to the Marion Affordable Housing Trust.
“We’ll comply with the bylaw … [We] haven’t made that final call yet,” said Zucker.
Peter Turowski and Dave Davignon have redesigned the units, and Zucker cited Master Plan and housing choices that measure between 2,000 and 2,500 square feet in floor space. Zucker said the revised plan gives more variety to the units and would be situated so that residents can almost see between adjacent houses.
“We’re trying to create a sense of community,” he said, acknowledging that establishing a connection to town sewer is at the forefront of infrastructural matters.
In answer to Select Board Chairman Norm Hills’ observation that the dead-end roadway will require a turnaround for a fire engine, Zucker said the designers are “already looking at options.” Hills also noted his expectation that a lot of glass on the exterior of the units will drive up heating costs.
Select Board member Randy Parker, in his first meeting back since a health-related absence, asked Zucker about the existing house near the powerline, and Zucker said it may have to come down.
Referencing “great interest this summer with effects from climate change,” Planning Board member Eileen Marum encouraged Zucker to consider the ramifications of electric heating, cooking, or cooling as opposed to fossil fuel.
Marum also asked about plans to ease traffic’s exit onto Route 6; Zucker said his group is studying the matter and would have full report within two weeks.
As Town Administrator Jay McGrail explained, the Select Board decides if the re-zoning should be on the warrant for the Special Town Meeting. If so, there will be an opportunity for a Planning Board to hold a public hearing to address the zoning matter. That hearing would not vet the project itself, a process that Zucker would take up with the Planning Board by applying for a special permit.
McGrail asked Zucker and his attorneys to attend the Special Town Meeting to answer any questions from the public. Masks will be required at Town Meeting; there will be no Zoom option.
In his Town Administrator’s Report, McGrail told the Select Board that the first trucks had begun hauling away the remaining sludge from the wastewater treatment plant lagoon and would be at it for at least two weeks with three truckloads per day last week and six per day this week. Methuen Construction will then oversee final grading with the goal of mid to late October for the liner installation, a final step that must be finished before any winter weather.
In other encouraging news, McGrail reported that the Seaport Economic Council was to announce on September 9 a $300,000 award to move forward the new marine center at Island Wharf. Marion representatives were to present the project before Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Representative William Straus.
The award puts the town in a position to apply for the next round of construction funding in six to eight months.
The Select Board voted to accept the Town Administrator’s FY22 goals; McGrail will post them at marionma.gov.
A Water/Sewer Commissioners meeting will be held on Thursday, September 30, at 4:00 pm. Representatives from Weston & Sampson will attend.
McGrail reported working with Facilities Manager Shawn Cormier on ADA-accessible walkways and other potential grant-funded projects for Silvershell Beach. In the wake of Town Planner Gil Hilario’s departure, McGrail is now functioning as Marion’s grant writer. Dan Dowd, a resident who is blind, is working with Cormier and McGrail on planning.
In filling Hilario’s vacancy with Doug Guey-Lee, Marion has created a new position. Rather than a planner/grant writer, Guey-Lee will be a planner/conservation agent. He also has experience with grant writing. McGrail noted that Marion had been one of, if not the last, of the municipalities in Massachusetts without a conservation agent. Guey-Lee starts on October 4.
McGrail has discussed a per-diem consultant on grant writing similarly to the arrangement the Town of Rochester has.
On Monday, September 20, annual hydrant flushing will begin. The town is seeking snowplow and sanding contractors. The deadline to apply is October 15.
Tangi Thomas and Pamela Cook were appointed to the Fireworks Committee for one-year terms. Both have children and experience in fundraising. Cook is a fundraising professional. The committee now has three total members.
Jenny Babcock, co-chair of the Plymouth County Suicide Prevention Coalition, appeared in accordance with the county’s request that all Plymouth County towns declare September 10 Suicide Prevention Day. “We just want to end the stigma of suicide and mental illness,” said Babcock, who noted that Marion’s will be the ninth proclamation this month. Any lost survivors of suicides were asked to light a candle to display it at 8:00 pm in their window to recognize September 10 as World Suicide Prevention Day.
In accordance with the allowances per 2020 census figures, Town Clerk Lissa Magauran requested that the Select Board allow Marion to remain a single-precinct election town. According to the 2020 census, Marion’s population is 5,347. The threshold necessitating the creation of a second voting precinct is 6,200. Magauran estimates 1,000-1,500 for average voter turnout in Marion.
The town constable was to post the October 19 Spring Town Meeting at five locations, including Taber Library, the Police Station, the Cushing Community Center, and the Town House.
The DPW requested to declare a large quantity of failed water meters as surplus property so the town can sell them for their scrap-metal value. McGrail said the approval would allow the town to dispense of the meters without taking on the chore of disassembling them.
Parker said the meters can be sold as No. 1 brass and that “a good purchaser will give us a dumpster to fill.”
McGrail also reported that the town dispensed of several vehicles in the first week of September.
In a 6:15 pm hearing, the board voted Ansel’s Cafe an entertainment license. According to proprietor Liz Carter, Ansel’s is a “very small, low-key kind of place.” The establishment recently acquired a liquor license and is now planning some live acoustic music to help bring in customers. There is some outdoor seating during the spring and summer seasons, and Ansel’s is considering a jazz brunch feature.
In a bookkeeping measure, the Select Board gave its final approval of an alcohol license to Brew Fish restaurant.
The board voted to accept a $100 donation from Janine Lake to the Marion Fire and EMS.
A Water/Sewer commitment for $615.21 was approved.
Waterman publicly thanked Harbormaster Isaac Perry and Associate Harbormaster Adam Murphy for their work in helping a boater escape danger.
The next meeting of the Marion Select Board is scheduled for Tuesday, September 21, at 6:00 pm.
Marion Select Board
By Mick Colageo