What appeared on paper as a simple and seemingly innocuous agenda item – the removal of two trees on Acushnet Road – inspired a discussion between Tree Warden Roland Cote and Mattapoisett Planning Board members Karen Field and Janice Robbins.
Cote appeared before the board with Kyle Barry of Eversource seeking permission to remove a Norway maple and a Linden tree located at 116 Acushnet Road. He said the two trees were problematic, given their entanglement with the utility wires. Cote also said Eversource had planted two replacement trees of a flowering variety on the lot owned by Diane Zartman.
Zartman was present and said she was in favor of removing the two trees, one of which dropped branches and debris over her driveway.
But Field and Robbins expressed concerns.
“Is this going to set a precedent?” Field asked Cote. Robbins shared her fear that the vast number of trees in town that are vying for canopy space with wires would eventually face similar fates.
But chairman of the Tree Committee Sandy Hering, representing both the committee and the Mattapoisett Land Trust, didn’t agree.
“Norway maples are invasive species,” she said. “Eversource is funding the planting of fourteen trees throughout the town,” Hering noted, saying that in this case the removal of these trees would actually add to the visual beauty of the area.
When Planning Board Chairman Tom Tucker called for a motion to permit the tree removals, only Gail Carlson, who made the motion, was in favor of it. The silence stretched for several uncomfortable moments.
Cote said, “The new trees are under these trees,” which prompted Robbins to say that their planning might have been “premature.”
Field said to Cote, “You know how I feel about trees,” adding that the trees are currently fully leafed out providing a nice green canopy. But in the end, she yielded and seconded the motion. The tree removals were approved.
Also during the meeting, Planning Board member Gail Carlson, a resident of Brandt Point Village, gave a brief update on incomplete work on Phase 1 of the subdivision that was to have been completed by June 1.
The punch list of pending items includes guardrails, turtle tunnels, landscaping, the installation of a mail kiosk, septic system test reports, and improper overhead street lighting. She said deep trenches along Narragansett Road, remnants from completed roadwork, were now filled with standing water.
Tucker asked Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain if she had received responses from developers Armand Cotelleso or Marc Marcus who were asked to attend the meeting and report on their progress. Crain said Cotelleso had not responded and that Marcus indicated he would be unavailable. Tucker directed Crain to send a certified letter requesting their presence at the next meeting.
In other matters, Tucker asked the board members to plan on completing bylaw revisions begun many seasons ago, specifically for signage, screening, and parking during the next meeting. Field asked about a marijuana bylaw, tree bylaw, and wind energy bylaw. “Let’s finish what we started first,” Tucker said with a grin.
Tucker also asked that the board members be prepared to begin revisions to the Master Plan, including developing a sub-committee comprised of residents from various neighborhoods, “…to get an idea of what residents want to see in a Master Plan.”
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for June 19 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell