In spite of photographic evidence and eyewitness testimony that Yard Boss, a local landscape company, is taking water from the Mattapoisett River, neither Fairhaven nor Mattapoisett seem legally able to stop them.
Mattapoisett Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold told the commissioners on October 26 that the latest photograph, which was displayed on the conference room’s video screen, had been taken in the last few days. The evidence was given to Vincent Furtado, Department of Public Works Superintendent for Fairhaven, she said.
The photograph showed a Yard Boss truck taking water directly from the Mattapoisett River on property owned by Fairhaven at the corner of River Road.
Furtado is a member of the Mattapoisett River Valley Water Protection Advisory Committee, a multi-town group primarily tasked with overseeing the river valley’s health.
In an effort to put regulations in place to protect the water source, the MRVWPAC has written a set of fresh water bylaws, Leidhold said. These proposed bylaws will need to pass town meeting votes by residents of towns dependent on the drinking water source: Mattapoisett, Rochester, Marion, and Fairhaven.
Leidhold said that until such time as the bylaws are passed or Fairhaven, who owns the property, finds a way to stop Yard Boss from taking water without permission, nothing can be done.
Chairman Bob Rogers said, “Without a mechanism to fine them, there isn’t much we can do.” He continued, “We don’t have bylaws…. We need a water withdrawal restriction…. Other than shaming them in the press, we can’t do much,” he stated.
But commission member Michael King thought, “Fairhaven could probably put a no trespassing on them.”
“This is their busy time of the year running around hydro-seeding before winter,” said Rogers. Concluding discussion on the topic, he said, “They are shameless.”
In other business, the commission issued two Certificates of Compliance. One was issued to Annmarie Lewis, 19 Winnatuxett Beach Road. The other was issued to Andrew Taylor, 14 Channel Street.
Orders for standard conditions were issued for a small single-story addition and front porch addition to Dwight Smith, 6 Windward Way, with a Negative 3 determination (no Notice of Intent filing required). Also receiving a Negative 3 determination was William Sylvia, 41 Cove Street, for the construction of a shed.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for November 23 at 6:30 pm. This will be the only meeting of the commission during the month of November due to Special Town Meeting on November 9 at 6:30 pm at the ORRHS auditorium and Veteran’s Day celebrations on November 11.
By Marilou Newell