Propane Business on Track

            There is a successful conclusion in sight for Papa’s Real Estate, LLC’s propane storage business planned for Luce Avenue, but before the Marion Planning Board votes to approve the application filed by Dena Xifaras there are still some technical matters to resolve.

            During its July 19 meeting, the Planning Board’s peer-review engineering consultant, Beals and Thomas, sent a July 13 letter to the applicant, its engineer, and to the board.

            Xifaras, a Mattapoisett resident who will run the business with her husband, Michael Papadakis, told the board that her civil engineer is working diligently and is intent to make sure all stormwater is handled onsite and is compliant with Town of Marion requests.

            Citing minimal use, the applicant is seeking waivers from the requested environmental assessment, the request that gravel be placed around the catch basins (citing engineering advice against), and Xifaras said they can re-dig with an excavator to show soil samples are consistent with their report.

            “Our engineer has indicated he would be happy to meet, if appropriate,” Xifaras told the board.

            Planning Board Chairman Will Saltonstall noted that the board had already voted to waive an environmental assessment. “We have a set of rules, but they don’t always apply to projects,” he said. “My inclination would be to ask (the applicant) to request the waivers and then we will look at them, … push that back to our review engineer before the next meeting, and then we can respond.”

            Saltonstall characterized the peer review as “engineering talk” that would not be easily digested by board members, including himself. The board voted to continue the case to August 2 at 7:15 pm.

            Also continued was the public hearing for a special permit applied for by Sherman Briggs and Hamblin Homes, Inc. for the construction of 28 townhouses at Spring and Mill Streets.

            Correspondence from Open Space Acquisition Commission Chair John Rockwell addressed stormwater management, and one dated July 15 from Steven Poole, the applicant’s engineer, indicated that the developer hopes to have drainage matters solved this week.

            The case was continued to August 2 at 7:05 pm.

            Along with Beals and Thomas, the board voted to designate Field Engineering and Dartmouth-based SITEC (recently acquired by Boston-based Civil & Environmental Consultants) as the three peer-review engineering firms for Marion Planning Board cases for the next three years.

            The challenge, said Saltonstall, is the variety in the firms’ hourly rate schedules. “They’re pretty diverse from junior person, administrator, all the way up to senior level. It’s hard to evaluate,” he said.

            Planning Board member Norm Hills was pleased to report that G.A.F. Engineering’s review of Marion’s Subdivision Rules and Regulations resulted in a positive report.

            “G.A.F. said our rules and regulations are in pretty good shape,” said Hills, nothing eight pages of comments, none of which he considers major. “It’s one of the things that’s been bothering me for years is, ‘Are we adequate?’ And the answer is, ‘Yes, we are,’ and these changes will make us up-to-date.”

            Before the Planning Board officially votes its approval of the prescribed changes, a public hearing will be set up to invite public reaction. That will not be on the August 2 agenda.

            The board voted to pay the Plymouth County Registry of Deeds $77 for a recording expense and $20 to the state Citizen Planner Training Collaborative (CPTC) Workshop for reimbursement for board member Eileen Marum’s participation.

            Dr. Ed Hoffer, chair of the Marion Board of Health, sat in on Monday night’s Planning Board meeting to offer requested feedback on the board’s discussion about a potential return to in-person meetings.

            Hoffer articulated concern over the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases and cited two positive cases over the weekend in Marion. “Whether it’s the Delta variant or people being too casual, it’s all speculation,” said Hoffer, who did not know if the new cases are people who have been vaccinated. “It would be interesting to know,” said Hills.

            Acknowledging the Town House lacks the floor space for distancing protocols, it was learned that the Music Hall is booked on potential Planning Board meeting nights until after October 18. Town Planner Gil Hilario suggested Sippican School as an in-person alternative be considered.

            It was decided that, for the time being, the Planning Board will remain a Zoom conference. The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, August 2, at 7:00 pm.

Marion Planning Board

By Mick Colageo

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