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Task Force Members Present: Susan Murphy, Hingham Planning Board; John Riley, Selectmen; Ben Wilcox, HDIC; Alan Perrault, Harbor Development Committee; Peter Fee, Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach; Katy Lacy, Town Planner.
The Committee voted to approve the Minutes of October 14, 2009.
Brief Update on Geese Management Discussion
Katy Lacy reported that, following up from the last meeting, she had talked with the Police Chief and he agreed to let the Animal Control Officer assist the Task Force in investigating and potentially overseeing a goose eradication program. Officer Leslie Badger expressed interest, and agreed to look into options for the type of goose eradication services similar to those provided by “Goosebusters” where a specially trained dog is used to chase the geese away, ultimately causing them to permanently relocate.
In addition, Ms. Lacy reported that, based on her initial review, it appeared that funds for the goose eradication process could be provided through the Town’s Waterways Account. Per MGL 40, Section 5G, 50% of all boat excise taxes, and 100% of mooring fees get deposited into a single Municipal Waterways Improvement Fund. This money can be used for “(1) maintenance, dredging, cleaning and improvement of harbors, inland waters and great ponds of the commonwealth, (2) the public access thereto, (3) the breakwaters, retaining walls, piers, wharves and moorings thereof, and (4) law enforcement and fire prevention.” In Hingham, the tradition has been to transfer a certain amount of money from the Waterways Account to a dedicated “Dredging” account, with the remainder left in the general “Waterways” account. Currently, the dedicated “Dredging” Account holds $649,749, and the Waterways Account has $136,443.
Ms. Murphy asked if there were other updates from the various groups represented on the Task Force. Nick Amdur reported that it was his understanding that there was still approximately $40,000 in the CPC account established to create a bridge from Whitney Wharf to the Town Pier that could perhaps be used towards the design or construction of some other form of bridge to connect these areas and cross the Town Brook in a safer fashion than the current sidewalk.
7:20 Update on Recent Meeting with DCR re: Modification of CLE Scope to include Full Conditions Survey
Katy Lacy and John Riley reported that they had a productive meeting with Ken Corson and meeting Kevin Mooney of DCR. Basically Kevin Mooney was able to walk through the water-side challenges related to each of the possible marina locations suggested earlier by John Riley, including cost, environmental/permitting issues etc. Kevin indicated that the Town can modify their current contract with CLE (the dredging folks) at no cost (because there is extra state money on the table) to include a “full conditions survey” of each of the possible marina locations that would point out the environmental, cost, and other constraints. This study would be done in a few months. The Town could then combine this with the land-side goals and constraints identified through our planning process, and hopefully end up with a credible and informed study of alternative locations for a proposed marina that could go to the public with a lot of the questions and concerns addressed.
Ms. Murphy asked whether this scope could include a clear delineation of the property lines, and everyone agrees that this would be a very valuable outcome of this project.
7:30 Discussion of Existing Zoning in Inner Harbor and Potential Amendments
Ms. Murphy lead off this discussion by outlining the process set forth by statute for amending the Zoning By-law, and alerting the group that the deadline for by-law amendments to be submitted to the Selectmen for consideration in the 2010 Town Warrant was December 1. Currently, the Harbor area includes three privately-owned parcels which are zoned “Waterfront Business, and the rest is zoned Official and Open Space (with the exception of the Mobile Station site, which has not yet been re-zoned from Waterfront Business to Official and Open Space). Ms. Lacy then reviewed the existing zoning for the site, including use restrictions, dimensional requirements, special provisions and parking regulations applicable to the area. In summary, the existing zoning is very restrictive. One of the challenges with changing the zoning requirements for this area, however, is that there is land zoned Official and Open Space all around Town, and it would be difficult to make sure that a change in this area would not have unintended consequences elsewhere. Ms. Murphy suggested that one approach to addressing the Harbor would be to create an Overlay District which applied only to the Harbor area, and would include both the WBD and Official and Open space parcels. The process for creating an Overlay Zone is to 1) identify the area, 2) articulate the purpose of the district and 3) delineate the use, dimensional and any other requirements for such district. Katy explained that the creation of an Overlay Zone would not preclude any of the other underlying restrictions on the land.
8:00 Discussion of Proposed Harbor Regulations (Harbormaster)
Ken Corson was unavailable due to other Police Work. This agenda item was postponed to the next meeting.
The next meeting of the Harbor Task Force is Wednesday, November 4 at 7:00 PM