Abutters were again heard from on Monday night at the Music Hall, where the Marion Select Board’s continued public hearing for the entertainment license sought by the Mary Celeste restaurant was reopened.
This time, the hearing was closed, and the Select Board members voted to award the license to applicant Mike Achilles, who once again insisted that he wishes to work with all concerned neighbors and cause no problems.
The approval comes with a 90-day review for renewal, at which point the Select Board will seek feedback and determine how to improve on a situation that all readily admitted cannot be truly judged without a tryout.
“It’s hard to define limits, but once you approve it’s not irrevocable,” said Select Board member John Waterman. “We have recourse if it’s not working out the way (we hope).”
Concerned about the decibel level of live music at the site, Ann Ziegler, 16 Cottage Street, asked Achilles, given the current success of the establishment, why it needs music that could drown out conversations.
While insisting music is meant to provide a backdrop and not compete with conversation, Achilles summarized four dimensions to his request. In addition to background music and a weekly one or two-piece, live acoustic set, he would like to offer dinner and a movie on the restaurant’s outdoor patio. “Our goal is that no sound leaves that patio,” he said. “The last thing is we want to have authors in, which would require a microphone.”
Ron Hegney, who also resides at 16 Cottage Street, asked if the license can be upgraded to something else including by a subsequent property owner. Select Board member Randy Parker said that the review period and any upgrade would require Select Board approval.
Ziegler asked that any approval be limited so it doesn’t become a bigger issue and reiterated her stance as preferring not to have live music next door.
Achilles explained that he has technology on site that that measures the duration and location of the sound and intends to use that equipment to ensure that no unwanted noise escapes the premises. “Part of this [is] you need to have faith,” said Achilles. “We have kept our word. Our business is in the community; the last thing we want is problems with our neighbors.”
Nonetheless, Achilles sought and received a license not limiting his schedule. While he insists he does not plan to expand on the frequency with which he has live music, he asked that the license not to be limited to a hard schedule so that he can avoid being drowned out by louder venues such as the bandstand at Island Wharf.
Citing the cost of live entertainment, Achilles said 9:00 pm is the latest the Mary Celeste will play music and not for more than two or three hours.
Abutter Tinker Saltonstall offered Achilles her support. “I’ve been impressed with Mike. I think he means what he says,” she said.
The Select Board intends to hold its 90-day review of the license at its meeting on Monday, October 18. Special Town Meeting is scheduled to be held on Tuesday, October 19.
Energy Management Committee Chair Christian Ingerslev approached the Select Board about the EMC’s consideration to rename itself to include a reference to its work on climate change. Citing the membership of climate expert Jennifer Francis, Ingerslev said, “We feel that perhaps climate is not having the attention that it has to have here in Marion.”
The Select Board will wait on the EMC’s meeting when it will discuss the response to its proposal from Select Board member Norm Hills. A September meeting to address the proposed change is anticipated.
The Select Board voted to approve a one-day license to serve alcohol on town-owned property for the August 28 Town Party from 4:00 pm to 10:00 pm at Silvershell Beach. The rain date is August 29.
The board voted to approve a one-day permit to serve alcohol on a beach along with a police detail to applicant Sharon Bartholemew, whose event will be held Sunday, August 1, from 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm on Sippican Beach.
In his Town Administrator’s Report, Jay McGrail provided an update on his FY21 goals including four key components: infrastructure, financial, contracts, and initiatives. Last year the Select Board prioritized subgoals under each of those headings.
McGrail said that, under infrastructure, the preliminary design for the water treatment plant at Creek Road has been completed. A Route 6 preliminary design anticipates an August 4 meeting, while the Town House and Annex restoration saw the front entrance opened on Tuesday. The air-conditioning and sprinkler projects are making progress, and the design of Marion’s new Department of Public Works building is 90-percent complete,
In summarizing the financial component, McGrail told the Select Board, “From where we were sitting at this table a year ago to where we are today, we’ve made huge strides.”
Initiatives include quarterly meetings of the Water and Sewer commissioners.
“We’ve completed some of [the goals and] made progress on all of them,” McGrail stated.
The next step, he said, is to talk through goals for FY22. Waterman said it is important to “keep a running list of all the long-term things that we don’t want to forget about.”
McGrail told the Select Board that Marion’s Special Town Meeting now has six warrant items, four generated in regard to bylaws, including an aquifer-protection-district bylaw, an article proposing a three-year term instead of one for the town moderator, and an article addressing litter.
The deadline to submit articles for the warrant is Tuesday, August 31. The Select Board will close the warrant on Tuesday, September 21, and McGrail is proposing Tuesday, October 19, for the Special Town Meeting.
Lauren Boucher was appointed to the Music Hall Advisory Committee. The associate member position remains open.
Michael and Judith Medeiros, 25 Quail’s Crossing Road, brought to the Select Board’s attention the unpleasant revelation of an overnight parking ban at Old Landing. Michael Medeiros said they have been residents for 45 years and boaters in Marion Harbor since 1998. He considered it an unfair burden to not be able to park for overnight for nighttime fishing expeditions.
Select Board member Randy Parker explained the ban. “We had people sleeping down there, camping in their cars over there…. It was a mess.” Nonetheless, McGrail and Parker indicated to Medeiros that they would work toward a solution.
The next meeting of the Marion Select Board is scheduled for Tuesday, August 3, at 6:00 pm.
Marion Select Board
By Mick Colageo