Town to Seek National Register Status

Marion is a town steeped in history with iconic historical buildings important to the town, which is why Town Planner Gil Hilario wants to investigate the possibility of getting some of these buildings officially recognized for their historical significance.

Hilario said he would be consulting with the Marion Historical Commission about advancing towards placing any eligible historic, town-owned buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

“I was surprised there are no town-owned buildings on the Historic Register,” said Hilario. “To me, that’s really important for preservation.”

Buildings such as the Town House (originally Tabor Academy) and the Elizabeth Taber Library, built in 1876 and 1872 respectively, if added to the National Register, could open up the town for grants for rehabilitation work, which is only available to municipalities and nonprofit organizations.

Once the town’s Historic Commission prepares an inventory of recommended buildings, the process begins with contacting the Massachusetts Historical Commission (MHC), which administers the National Register program in the state. The MHC then reviews each property’s eligibility and whether it meets specific criteria, such as association with significant events or persons in the past.

Sites listed in the National Register of Historic Places are automatically added to the State Register of Historic Places, as well. The State Register serves as a guide when determining whether a state funded or permitted or licensed project would affect or harm the historical nature of the building.

Hilario said he would be attending a meeting of the Marion Historical Commission to discuss the details.

Also during the February 20 meeting of the Marion Planning Board, the board continued the public hearing for Carolyn Martin’s Special Permit application for a pier at 282 Delano Road.

David Davignon of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates, Inc. said the 4-foot wide, 175-foot long aluminum gangway would lead to a 10- by 20-foot float. All work would be performed via barge.

The water depth would be 3.2 feet at low tide and 7.2 feet at high tide, which is significant, Davignon said.

“In most pier projects we do in Mattapoisett and Marion there’s very shallow water,” said Davignon. “In this case, we actually have a decent level of water.”

Davignon said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers issued the project a permit back on November 28, and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Waterways Division is waiting to issue its permit until the Planning Board and the Marion Conservation Commission issue their approvals.

The Marion Harbormaster’s Office told the Planning Board that it had no concerns with the project.

Planning Board Chairman Eileen Marum suggested approving the pier project contingent upon Conservation Commission approval, but Planning Board member Norm Hills preferred to continue the hearing until the Conservation Commission issues the Order of Conditions.

“Other than that, I think it’s a complete package,” Hills said.

In other matters, Hilario said a road safety audit of Route 6 conducted in January is not complete, and a draft report would be released to the town “shortly.”

The road safety audit, Hilario said, preceded the Route 6 corridor study slated to begin in the spring, which will take about 18 months to complete.

“I think we’re making small steps toward addressing [road safety] problems,” Hilario said.

The next meeting of the Marion Planning Board is scheduled for March 5 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Planning Board

By Jean Perry


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