New Police Sergeant a Marion First

            The Town of Marion promoted a woman to the office of police sergeant for the first time, the Select Board voting to approve Alisha Crosby to a one-year probationary period effective June 27 as the town’s first-ever Marion Police sergeant during the board’s June 22 meeting at the Music Hall.

            “I appreciate the opportunity,” said Crosby, who was supported by the attendance of over a dozen officers including her presenter, Chief of Police Richard Nighelli, along with retired Chief of Police John Garcia and several family members.

            Nighelli called Crosby “a great addition to our command staff” and the “first female supervisor in the history of the Marion Police Department. Thanks to Officer Crosby’s work, there is no glass ceiling here. She shattered it.”

            At the affirming vote of the three-member Select Board, Town Administrator Jay McGrail led a standing ovation for Crosby, a 2010 Randolph Police Academy graduate who has 11 years as a full-time officer with the Marion Police Department and has served as liaison to Sippican School.

            Crosby’s community efforts have included a toy drive that brought over 1,000 toys to children during the last holiday season, along with work with foster children.

            The Select Board also approved officer Peter Bourgault’s promotion to permanent status with the Police Department. Bourgault just completed his probationary period that began on June 20, 2020, and recently received recognition for his leadership in a May 16 rescue mission of six passengers of an overturned vessel in the marina channel including three suffering from hypothermia.

            Tuesday’s was a lengthy Select Board meeting with substantial community interest in two cases involving food-and-drink establishments.

            In a 6:15 pm public hearing, Mike Achilles appeared before the board to advocate for an entertainment license for the Mary Celeste Neighborhood Lounge at 149 Front Street.

            Achilles, a resident at 7 Cottage Street for the past eight years, opened the Mary Celeste six months ago and now has 12 employees. Achilles said he has served over 4,000 customers, has listened to the concerns of neighbors from when he applied for a liquor license, and has not had a single complaint. He summarized his activities in knocking on doors to check and alluded to successful fundraisers for charitable causes.

            Achilles said he plans light jazz music inside and out, including small live acoustic sets, dinner and a movie on the patio, and visiting authors to discuss their books. With a capacity of 50 patrons indoors and 32 outside, Achilles said he anticipates only one event per week maximum, but alluding to logistical challenges, would like his entertainment license not to be strictly limited by that standard.

            He said his business should be afforded the same consideration that the town has given other village businesses including Kate’s Simple Eats, but several abutters and non-abutting citizens criticized the application as being too large a leap.

            Abutters said parking was supposed to be on the property but is already crowding the street, and others said that when the restaurant opens at 3:00 pm children are active on their skateboards and in potential danger of cars looking to park in the area.

            Achilles said the neighborhood presently has more noise than what the Mary Celeste would add and said sensors on the premises will help govern that, but he did not have an answer ready to Selectman Randy Parker’s question as to the present decibels setting.

            Selectman John Waterman suggested a three-month probationary period that would presumably end in September and allow abutters to revisit the matter and have their say. McGrail added that, in the interim people could reach out to his office and get that information to the board.

            Reiterating his intentions to work with the neighbors, Achilles said he is not against a probationary period but reminded the board that Kate’s Simple Eats was not required to operate on a probationary period. “I’m asking for fairness here … I’m okay with this, but I think there should be a standard,” he said.

            The public hearing was continued to July 20 at 6:15 pm.

            On May 4, the Select Board promised to talk about parking restrictions on River Road with residents concerned about the ramifications of the new business replacing Gilda’s at the mouth of River Road facing Route 6 near the Wareham town line.

            According to River Road resident Chris Collings, a member of Marion’s Planning Board, eight River Road residents representing six households were in attendance seeking protection against potential road blockages. The group also authored a petition hoping to leverage a result.

            Taking their turns, several spoke. Dick Gregory, 10 River Road, said it is unsafe for drivers turning right off Route 6 westbound onto River Road and it would take a couple hundred yards of parking restriction to avoid the critical delay turning off of the highway. He also noted that, in the past, there would occasionally be intoxicated people on his porch who could not find their cars and people urinating behind his house.

            Waterman explained that the new owners have to establish a parking plan that shows they can handle the building capacity but that he has yet to see it.

            The residents acknowledged that a no-parking law is not a solution because residents, guests, and vendor services need to access their properties.

            McGrail noted that, should the owners’ proposed parking plan not support the capacity of the building, then the Select Board could in turn limit the capacity of the building. Building Commissioner Scott Shippey has the right to approve the project.

            Another abutter suggested that the large rocks bordering the business lot obscure the view of motorists and alluded to a recent collision resulting in a fatality.

            The discussion did not require action on the part of the Select Board, which awaits a parking plan from the applicant.

            In a 6:30 pm continued public hearing, the Select Board voted to approve a special permit for Papa’s Real Estate, LLC to operate a propane storage business in a water protection district at 0 Luce Avenue, pending Planning Board approval.

            In other business, the board voted to approve the reappointment to boards and committees all members in good standing as of June 22. The board approved a request from MMR (Marion, Mattapoisett and Rochester) Hose Company for a decommissioned surplus fire engine to be used for training purposes. The board approved a $4,500 donation for the new walking path at the Cushing Community Center, the reappointment of DPW engineer Meghan Davis to the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Supply Protection Advisory Committee, and ratified the clerical union contract.

            Parker recused himself from the board’s action to approve the Sippican Lands Trust’s request for a one-day liquor license for its September 18 SLT Beer and Oyster Fest at Cushing Community Center with the stipulation of a police detail.

            The board also approved street closures for the July 5 Independence Day parade.

            In response to an email from Christian Pedulli regarding “no littering” signage, the board discussed the lack of a littering bylaw in Marion. There is a state law against tossing trash out of a car and also littering at the marina.

            Finally, the board discussed its July meeting schedule, which hinges on preparation to address the town’s agreements with the Old Rochester Regional School District and the ORCTV contract on July 13.

            The next regular meeting of the Select Board was not set at adjournment.

Marion Select Board

By Mick Colageo

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