On October 25, Town Administrator Mike Gagne informed the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen that Representative William Straus had been successful in pitching the idea of constructing a sidewalk along the south side of Route 6 from Brandt Island Road to Mattapoisett Neck Road.
Gagne said that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation surveyed the area to determine if there was sufficient space for sidewalks along the heavily traveled highway.
“Representative Straus has informed me that the DOT has earmarked $750,000 for the sidewalks,” Gagne announced during the board of selectmen’s public meeting that was held in the library conference room.
On the theme of improvements along Route 6, Gagne also said that a work group will be formed to study pedestrian safety and other issues in concert with town departments and SRPEDD.
Gagne invited Town Clerk Catherine Heuberger to the table to talk about early voting. She said, “On the first day, three hundred people voted.” She said that a record 5,000 people had registered to vote and that early voting should alleviate traffic backing up onto Route 6 from Old Hammondtown School where the polls will be located on November 8.
“I think it’s been excellent,” Heuberger said with a smile.
She then told the selectmen that her office had received an Early Voting Challenge Award presented to the town for its effort in providing extended voting hours on Wednesday evening and Saturday mornings. Early voting hours and days are: Monday, October 31, Tuesday, November 1, Thursday, October 27 & November 3, and Friday, October 28 & November 4 from 8:00 am until 4:00 pm and Wednesday, October 26 & November 2 from 8:00 am until 7:00 pm. Voters may also cast their ballot on Saturday, October 29 from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm. The award was given by Common Cause and the League of Women Voters along with other voter action organizations.
Also bearing good news were Jodi Bauer and Sandra Hering saying that Mattapoisett has once again received recognition in the form of a National Arbor Day Award. “It’s the eighth year in a row,” Hering said. She also said that the tree committee has been working closely with the highway department and recently planted new trees along Mechanics Street.
Resident Dan White asked Gagne if there is any new information regarding the closing of shell fishing in Mattapoisett.
Gagne reported that the algae problem has not abated and that all of Buzzards Bay, Mount Hope Bay and Vineyard Sound are closed. He said that published updates are available at town hall and on the town’s website.
“If you see anyone shell fishing and you don’t feel comfortable approaching them, call the police department or the selectmen’s office and we’ll get someone out there immediately,” Gagne stated. He said that while most people are complying, there had been two reported incidents of people harvesting shellfish in contaminated areas.
Also coming before the selectmen was Town Treasurer Brenda A. Herbeck, who presented bonds and BANs to the officials for their signature. These financial instruments will cover expenses associated with water main replacement along Route 6, water and well improvements, Phase 6 road repairs, and property acquisitions. The combined value of the bond and BANs (bond anticipation note) is approximately $2.6 million.
Things didn’t go so smoothly for Scott Boucher when he and property owners Zoey and John Boza learned that although Boucher may receive a permit to move his business to 58 Fairhaven Road, there was one more hurdle: the Zoning Board of Appeals.
In a continued hearing, Boucher returned to the selectmen with a site plan that had received approval from the building inspector and the blessing of the police department. But zoning bylaws prohibit car dealerships in that zone, making it necessary for Boucher to seek a special permit from the ZBA.
Property owner John Boza was clearly frustrated, “How long will that take?” Selectman Tyler Macallister said, “About three months.” Boza seemed flummoxed and angered by the process.
“Our hands are tied,” Macallister explained, “We don’t determine use of property. A special permit is required.”
The selectmen approved Boucher’s request for a Class II license to sell used cars contingent upon a positive ruling by the ZBA.
Gagne discussed library renovations that will begin in early November and asked the public to park at Shipyard Park if they didn’t have mobility issues. He said that parking near the library will be extremely limited during construction.
In the audience watching the wheels of local government turn was 12-year-old Paul McLaughlin. A member of Boy Scout Troop 53, the Scout is working on his government badge. Macallister, along with Selectman Paul Silva, wished him well in his endeavor.
Due to Election Day on November 8, the next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen was not scheduled but will be posted following public meeting regulations.
By Marilou Newell