Shellfish Fines To Increase

            During the September 24 meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen, Natural Resource Officers Kathy Massey and deputy Marc Folco came before the board to discuss increasing shellfish fines.

            Massey said that updating fines was long overdue, and she and Folco presented a new schedule. Going from $50 to $100 are fines associated with: fishing without a permit, shellfishing more than once a week per species, the taking of shellfish out of season, failure to provide name, badge, or permit to enforcement officers, fraudulently obtaining a permit, taking of shellfish by scuba diving or snorkeling, failure to use proper measuring receptacle while shellfishing and exceeding the limit of eel traps. Anyone caught shellfishing without a permit will also be required to pay for the actual permit, in addition to the $100 fine.

            Shellfishing permits for residents are $25 and non-residents $35.

            Other fines increased by a vote of the selectmen were taking shellfish from closed areas increased from $200 to $250, and selling shellfish on a family permit from $75 to $300.

            Also discussed was the mandating of wire baskets that will measure a legal peck and the opening of scallop season on October 15.

            Earlier in the evening, Alan Decker of the Buzzards Bay Coalition and Mike Huguenin of the Mattapoisett Land Trust brought forward documents that would provide conservation restrictions on land the MLT is about to acquire, property known as Pine Island Pond. With the addition of this 120+ parcel, the MLT will hold some 400 acres spanning from Route 6 to the water’s edge on Angelica Avenue.

            Decker asked that the selectmen’s signature on the agreement that would grant permanent conservation restriction on lands he described as habitat rich salt marshes, forested wetlands, and forested uplands.

            Selectman Tyler Macallister said the acquisition was “fantastic” for the town and asked about possible use of a paper road known as Old Slough Road. The road had been part of early discussions on the necessity of preserving the area not only for historical and recreational purposes, but also for public safety.

             Town Administrator Michael Gagne said that considerable discussion on the possibility of using that road in the event of emergencies or if sea level rise were to cut off Point Connett had taken place and the idea was viable. Decker and Huguenin explained that there remains a piece of private property yet to be acquired, but thought that would be possible in the future by either obtaining permission from the property owner for a right of way or moving the road onto MLT property.

            Also approved was the conservation restrictions for parcels associated with MLT’s Brandt Island Cove District, 39 acres along Mattapoisett Neck Road currently owned by the BBC. It was discussed that there are contiguous lots owned by the town in the area also in need of conservation restrictions. Decker was asked to research options for protecting those parcels as well as obtaining information on ownership of several others lots in the area.

            In his report, Gagne said he has been working closely with the Town of Acushnet on a joint partnership for the development of affordable rental units for veterans. He said that the former Russell’s Library in Acushnet is being considered for 13 units. Gagne noted that in July the governor’s office announced $1.89 billion in grant money for the development of affordable housing, grant money that this project will be seeking.

            “There are a significant number of homeless veterans,” Gagne said with a hush.

            Gagne also reported that sewer work along Industrial Drive is well underway, and that grant monies for the redevelopment of Industrial Drive were still pending. He noted that $1.5 million was being sought between a Mass Works Grant and Federal Economic Assistance Grant, and another $400,000 from a grant known was PARC.

            A second Special Town Meeting was set by the selectmen to allow voters to consider zoning bylaw amendments that would allow the industrial cultivation of marijuana and marijuana products for recreational and medical purposes in the Mattapoisett Business Park. The Special Town Meeting was set for November 4 at 6:30 pm in Old Rochester Regional High School auditorium. The selectmen also closed the warrant for this town meeting.

            Gagne also said that the Fall Special Town Meeting is scheduled for October 21 at 6:30 pm in Old Rochester Regional High School auditorium

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen is scheduled for October 8 at 6:30 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Board of Selectmen

By Marilou Newell

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