Village Road Project Reaches Consensus

            In 2015-16, the Mattapoisett Select Board began what would be known as the “village streets” project, a grand plan to improve all the village roadways and sidewalks to improve safety and convenience for pedestrians and cyclists. On Tuesday night, a plan was finally agreed upon with consulting engineers VHB.

            As noted in their previous meeting, the clock was ticking down for the town to submit a plan for Massachusetts Department of Transportation to review, the main funding source for the multi-million-dollar project.

            The VHB team returned on this night to share further modifications that had been requested by the Select Board, and the board was ready to move forward.

            After airing concerns that trees left in place during construction on Main Street, Water Street, Marion Road and Beacon Street might suffer, the Select Board agreed to the elimination of approximately 17 trees and a planting plan for approximately 40 new trees.

            Sidewalks were discussed with member Jodi Bauer stressing the importance of having sidewalks on the southerly side of the design (along the waterfront) for the safety of pedestrians.

            Carlos DeSousa, a retired engineer, offered a suggestion that since the roads would be opened during construction, it might be an opportunity to have all utilities upgraded, placing them underground. He said this would not require the removal of trees. He also noted that utility poles are not only unsightly, they are old. The board was unanimous in its response that such a plan would be cost prohibitive but agreed to have VHB evaluate that possibility with MassDOT.

            In the end, the board voted to have “Plan 4” submitted with minor changes to locations for sidewalks and that VHB would attend a planned December 15 meeting with the state agency to review final questions and the design. Interested residents should contact the Select Board’s office.

            Earlier in the meeting, the board voted to approve updated policies for the town’s Senior Work-off (real estate tax) Abatement program and the Veterans’ Work-off Abatement program. The programs are designed to give seniors (over age 60) and veterans up to $750 in tax rebates for work performed for the town.

            Also accepted by vote were updated snow-plowing regulations for private roads. Roads must be in good repair and must be clear of vehicles and other obstacles, while shoulders may not contain mailboxes, plantings, cobblestones and such. Most importantly, the roadway must have been constructed in accordance with the Rules and Regulations of the Planning Board.

            The Select Board met with new Herring Inspector John Wilbur, who reported an approximate rise in herring numbers over 2022 of 20% or 1,700 fish. The total estimated fish count for 2023 was 4,000.

            Holiday in the Park 2023 was announced and planned for Saturday, December 9, from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm. The town is looking for a Christmas tree to decorate Shipyard Park during the event and the season. Anyone interested in donating a tree is asked to contact the Highway Department at 508-758-4181. The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Select Board was not announced at adjournment.

Mattapoisett Select Board

By Marilou Newell

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