Link back to department page
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, Ken Corson Acting Harbormaster.
Review Minutes of November 4
It was moved, seconded, and SO VOTED to approve the minutes of November 4, 2009.
Update on Improvements to Hingham Rotary
Selectmen John Riley reported that at this point the Project Needs Form has been submitted, and the project is listed on the TIP (the State’s list of pending public infrastructure projects ).
Additionally, it appears that the removal of the Hingham Rotary and associated changes and improvements to 3A will happen faster than originally anticipated. During a recent visit the Governor pledged 2.4 million dollars towards the effort . This amount of money is sufficient to cover the cost of proposed improvements at the North Street/Route 3A intersection.
Task Force Members asked what was proposed for the new open space that would be created along the waterfront where the Rotary is now located. Mr. Riley noted that it was still not completely clear who owned this area yet, and whether the state would give the Town an easement or simply deed it over to them.
Update on Goose Management-ACO
Leslie Badger, Hingham Animal Control Officer, stated that she has looked into the various alternatives for goose management. In summary, the method involving behavior modification training using a Border Collie seems to be the most effective. She has also checked the references of Judy Saint Pierre, who runs a local business providing this service, and found them to be very positive. She went on to say that the ideal time to proceed on this kind of operation is between February and April.
Task Force members briefly discussed the challenges associated with funding this program. Funds from the Waterways account can be used for this kind of activity, but even with an affirmative vote at Town meeting, the money would not be available until July 1. The group discussed again the possibility of creating some sort of “Friends of the Harbor” group. Mark Cullings, on behalf of the Farmer’s Market, noted that he would ask the Farmer’s Market board about the possibility of making some sort of donation.
Everyone agreed that it would be a good idea for all of the various parties involved (Bathing Beach, HDC, Selectmen) to vote in advance that they were in favor of pursuing a goose management program, so that if and when the funds did materialize they could be spent in a timely manner.
Update from Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach on meeting with the Farmers Market
Peter Fee, Trustees of the Hingham Bathing Beach, and Mark Cullings, Executive Director of the Hingham Farmer’s Market, noted that they had a meeting that day aimed at resolving some issues relative to the operation of the Farmer’s Market at the Bathing Beach, and clarifying the relationship between the two groups. At this point in time the Farmer’s Market is held in the Beach parking lot from May to October on Saturday mornings. The Bathing Beach currently receives no fee for the use of the premises for the market.
A particular problem that has emerged is the use of so much of the Beach parking by vendors and shoppers at the market, which can cause a lot of congestion on nice summer days when the tide is high and the beach is open. The Trustees suggested that the market could take place on a weekday evening, or even earlier on Saturday morning. The other issue was the sense that the Market had somehow grown too big, and did not include a sufficient ratio of produce vendors as compared to crafters. Both groups (Market and Trustees) were going to think about these issues and meet again for further discussion.
Discussion of Potential Zoning Amendments
Also related to the Farmer’s Market, Ms. Murphy noted that one of the zoning changes being discussed by the Planning Board was to address the fact that, at this time, events such as the Farmers Market and Touch a Truck were currently not identified as a permitted use in Official and Open Space or, for that matter, in any district. The Board is also going to look at the issue of allowing outdoor concessions in Official and Open Space, which currently occurs at Lynch Field although this is not now a permitted use.
Ms. Murphy and Mr. Riley discussed the pros and cons of pursuing a warrant article to create a Harbor Overlay District (which could also address the issue of the Farmer’s Market). Task Force member Alan Perrault encouraged the Planning Board to proceed with this article, saying that there was an unprecedented level of interest in some sort of changes aimed at protecting the scenic nature of the Harbor while also allowing for appropriate revenue generation from this valuable Town asset. Ms. Murphy responded that she would take this matter up with the Planning Board at their next meeting.
Mr. Riley noted that the Selectmen had recently met with the leadership from the Lincoln Sailing Center. One of the issues that emerged was the perceived lack of public access on Barnes Wharf. During the winter months the wharf is used for float and equipment storage, which makes it difficult for people to walk around. Additionally, the swing gate is closed, so while a pedestrian could walk around or climb over, access is limited. Sturt English, Executive Director of the Sailing Center, noted that this issue presented a challenge in that while they were fully aware that the wharf was Town property, they were concerned about visitor safety and wanted to make sure that equipment was not damaged. Mr. Riley directed that members of the Task Force, along with the Building Commissioner, visit the site to identify ways to allow for safe public access.
The next meeting of the Harbor Task Force is Thursday, December 3, 2009 at 7:00 PM.
The meeting was adjourned at 9:35 PM