With the end of the year fast approaching, the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen on December 12 handled a variety of agenda items – some of which should help the town now and in the coming years.
Town Administrator Michael Gagne told the selectmen that their fellow member Jordan Collyer, who was not in attendance on this night, had been attending meetings held by the Massachusetts Community Compact Program.
Gagne explained that the program, an initiative of the Governor Baker/Polito Administration, enhances the ability of the governor’s office to work more closely and directly with cities and towns. Issues such as grant writing, best practices, and developing working strategies such as master planning are some of the areas the Community Compact Program focuses on with representatives from communities.
Joining the compact would enable the Town to receive grants reserved specifically for compact communities, like sister towns Rochester and Marion.
Gagne discussed the need for updating zoning bylaws, one aspect of master planning, saying it had been 17 years since the Town updated the document.
Gagne said in order to move forward with the compact and take advantage of the resources available therein, the selectmen needed to approve it. He told the selectmen, “I think this is the shot in the arm for ideas. We need to be on top of zoning and planning.”
Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain has been reviewing zoning bylaws and uncovering deficiencies, and a motion was made and carried by Selectmen Tyler Macallister and Paul Silva.
Also related to the future of the town, Gagne reported on his field trip to the Mashpee Dog Park. He shared how well crafted the park was, including areas for young dogs to be segregated from older animals, water stations, benches, and pea gravel surfaces. Another notable feature of the Mashpee facility was a training area.
According to Gagne, he would be working with Bob Field of Field Engineering to overlay the Mashpee park onto the available space owned by the Town adjacent to the police station.
Silva asked how much land he thought the park might need, and Gagne estimated it to be about two acres while pointing out that the Town owns 40 acres in that area. Gagne will return with the next steps towards planning after conferring with Field and Highway Superintendent Barry Denham regarding drainage and retention ponds.
Continuing on the theme of enriching, enhancing, and improving the Mattapoisett lifestyle, Gagne said that he and Bonne DeSousa had been looking into bike share programs. He said such programs allow people to rent bikes from stand-alone bike share locations for as little as $1 an hour.
DeSousa said the vendor supplies the bikes and the frame that holds them in place, and is fully responsible without any liability on the part of the Town. She added that the Southcoast Bike Alliance was looking to put a program together in the local area.
The main objective, Gagne said, would be to “get bikes down at Shipyard Park for boaters.” He said visitors arriving by boat could use the bikes to travel around the community, frequenting shops and restaurants.
“It’s a new idea that needs to be thought through,” DeSousa explained as she noted that bikes could only be rented by people 18 years of age or older, and the issue of providing helmets needed to be considered.
On the theme of saving the residents money off their electric bills, there was good news to be shared.
Gagne said the Energy Aggregation Program was up for renewal in January and that the new proposal will allow participants to save three cents per kilowatt-hour over Eversource’s rate.
“Over the past two years of the program, the twenty-three communities who have participated have saved eight million dollars,” Gagne said, adding that the full program details would be posted on the Town’s website.
Earlier in the evening, the selectmen recognized the nearly two decades of dedicated volunteerism by Josephine Pannell. Macallister said she has been a member of the Mattapoisett Historical Commission for 19 years. Pannell was presented with a plaque in honor of her service to the community and to commemorate her 90th birthday.
A new restaurant will open at Ropewalk in January. That was the news as Mike Sudofsky came before the selectmen seeking an alcohol beverage and common victualler’s license.
Sudofsky said that hours of operation would be 7:00 am to 7:00 pm, and that the new venue would serve breakfast and lunch. He added that during the summer months, dinner may be served Thursday through Saturday until 9:00 pm. Sudofsky’s request was approved.
The selectmen also approved a long list of licenses for various businesses throughout the community, but Silva paused first before moving on to another topic.
One of the businesses granted an all-alcohol and common victualler’s license was the Lebanese Kitchen.
“I wanted to give them just thirty more days,” Silva said, but he had been advised that he could not do so legally. Silva said the restaurant had been granted permits over a year ago, but had failed to open as scheduled.
“They are holding a license,” Silva said. He asked that the proprietors be asked to attend the first selectmen’s meeting in January to explain to the board “what’s going on,” he demanded.
For another business in town, Silva had praise. He said he was very satisfied with the efforts made by the owners of the Hillside Motel in maintaining a business model in line with instructions they received last year. Gagne concurred and said he was working closely with the establishment and that the police department was also satisfied.
Gagne also expressed his deep appreciation to all the people and the businesses that had come together and worked so hard to make the Holiday in the Park event a success.
Town Hall will close on December 22 at 11:30 am and re-open on December 26.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for January 2 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen
By Marilou Newell