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October 16, 2007
Regular Session 7:30 pm
Mr. Riley, Ms. Burns
Aquarion Water Company
Mr. Bingamann explained that the company has three levels of water use restrictions: the voluntary level the primary target of which is irrigation systems (implemented July 17); the odd/even water use restrictions which were implemented July 31; and the mandatory water use restrictions which were implemented on August 30. Rainfall was down significantly, even in September. The Water Supply Committee has been working with Aquarion to come up with an irrigation system by-law that would require "smart irrigation systems" that sense the moisture in the soil as well as the air.
Mr. Bingamann announced that, effective tomorrow, the outdoor water use ban would be lifted. This is due to the fact that the demand is down to about 3 million gallons per day and there has been some rainfall. He thanked the customers who had complied with the ban. Ms. Burns said that there had been calls from residents who were unaware of the ban. Signs are currently located throughout the town, however, a new system of signs has been discussed and other locations are being investigated. The water company also hopes that in the future those using private wells would put a sign indicating that they were, in fact, using private wells.
Mr. Riley asked about the supply for development in town. Mr. Bingamann explained that under the water balance plan any new development using in excess of 100,000 gallons per year has to save that amount of water. This can be done in a number of ways - retrofitting public buildings, fixing leaks in the water system or low flow devices. The DEP said to increase the supply in existing wells and developers can assist. The Town of Hull is interested in desalination plant. Aquarion has offered to partner with the Town of Hull on that project. There are about 525 summer residences in Hull other than that the number of households is constant.
The Board noted that Accord Pond is lower than people have seen it for years. Mr. Bingamann said that at present Accord Pond is about 30% full instead of 50-60% full. Given normal precipitation and snowfall, it is expected that this will come back.
Town Ball Fields
Mr. Hoffman advised that the certificate of occupancy for the field house has been issued. One of the concerns has been that due to the water ban it will be difficult to have the turf in good shape. Everything but the field surfaces is fine. The field surfaces will not be accepted until April 15. Mr. Soule said the fields had just been reseeded but that by the end of October the irrigation system will be blown out. It is felt that in the long term a well may be the way to go. Hingham Youth Football, Little League and the Sports Partnership may opt to drill the well. The plan is to not use the fields in any way this fall. Currently border collies are being used to keep the geese off the field. The lights have been tested, certified, etc. All the football and little league storage will be going into the field house in November. Baseball playing season starts around the last week of April. Bare Cove Park Committee will be erecting signs for the park in the area.
Voted - Since the Board has obtained a certification and report of its engineer that the Town Ball Fields Work has been completed, except for minor punch list items that the Board has delivered to Back River and to which Back River has agreed to duly perform (the "Punch List').
Now therefore, the Board hereby certifies that it has accepted the Town Ball Fields Work as being completed in accordance with all applicable plan and specifications within the meaning of and pursuant to the Development Agreement.
Beal Street Corridor Plan
Mr. Dirk explained that the Town had contract with Vanasse & Associates to look at the Beal Street Corridor traffic patterns as they currently exist and as they project them to be in ten years. The posted speed along both Beal and Fort Hill Streets is 30 mph. The traffic travels somewhere about 50 mph on Beal Street and about 45 mph on Fort Hill. The pedestrian facilities in the area are lacking. There is no sidewalk between New Bridge Street and the commuter rail facility. There are extensive bicycle facilities in Bare Cove Park and Great Esker but the roadways leading to those parks are not bicycle friendly. There are delays in attempting to get out of the side streets and the turning movements currently on the roadway indicate commuter traffic trying to avoid the lights on Route 3A.
Improvements are planned f or north end of Beal Street in combination with the redevelopment of the Hingham Shipyard. Short-term improvements along the corridor include signs and pavement markings for the roadway and striping of crosswalks as well as signs warning of pedestrian walkways near New Bridge Street. Long-term improvements would include widening of the pavement to accommodate bicycle travel, creation of a standard T intersection at New Bridge Street and construction of a sidewalk to the commuter rail station.
Mr. Dirk said that the Beal/West/North intersection should be reconfigured to narrow down West Street and provide left and right turn lanes on North Street. The intersection as it currently exists would meet the warrants for traffic signals. The reconfigured intersection would not. Cashman is expected to do the work at the intersection in early November. Ms. Murphy and Mr. Healey both spoke in favor of including the raised crosswalk immediately. There should not be any noise associated with these structures. . Area residents have expressed concern with the current situation and requested various improvements. Ms. Burns said that she felt the wisest thing would to be to try the recommended plan and see what happens. The effect of the proposed changes for the West/Beal/North intersection is not known at this point. Try it and then see what happens. Mr. Dirk said the key is flexibility by making the necessary geometric changes.
Mr. Cosgrove expressed frustration with the lack of crosswalks along North Street. Ms. Burns noted that one of the issues of putting in a crosswalk without proper sight lines is that it invites problems. Ms. Sneath said the reconstruction of the South Street/Fort Hill intersection took traffic off South Street and redirected it onto West Street and North Street. Ms. Corey suggested that one way to slow traffic down is to make North Street as challenging as South Street. If there are raised crosswalks people may say Route 3A is the better commuter route.
Mr. Mallard asked why the Board has not considered a bypass road. Ms. Burns said there are two developments going in off Beal Street and, theoretically, the roadway could be connected from Squirrel Hill through to Fort Hill Street. The bypass road would come out behind Hillside Terrace and then out to Bare Cove Park Drive. The Town has worked very hard with the residents of Hillside Terrace to mitigate the results of the DPW. Ms. Burns noted that it seems entirely possible that a bypass road might adversely affect the residents of that area.
Mr. Dirk said that the section of Beal Street north of Fottler Road is 42 feet in width. One suggestion for that area is 12 ' travel lanes and striped bicycle lanes. The long term improvement would be to physically narrow down the road by lessening the pavement, either with a planted median down the center or narrowing down the sides with planting strips. Either alternative would provide sidewalks on both sides of the street. Members of the Planning Board weighed in on the alternative with the center median as long as it would be possible to separate the sidewalk from the travel lane with a grass strip. Ms. Murphy suggested that it was necessary to consider that there is a certain volume of traffic that travels down West Street and onto Weymouth that does not have another option.
The Board took the recommendations under advisement.
Voted - to grant a temporary liquor license to Hingham Nursery School, for a fundraiser on November 3, 2007.
Voted - to grant a temporary liquor license to Hingham Community Center, for their annual Cabaret Show on January 31, February 1, and February 2, 2008.
Voted - to grant request for counsel as submitted by the Board of Appeals.
Voted - to appoint Cynthia Wilkins to the Hingham 375th Anniversary Committee.
Selectmen/Town Administrator's Reports
Ms. Burns commented that there is no end to the amount of people needed for the 375th Anniversary Committee. The first meeting is scheduled for October 25th. Mr. Cristello reported that he would be attending a meeting Thursday morning with Ms. Tully and Mr. McCourt at District 5 to discuss the rotary. At a recent meeting with members of the Harbor Development Committee there was some discussion about the interesting plan for what could be done by turning this into a T intersection. That change would allow space for a park at the harbor.
Ms. Burns attended the Affordable Housing Trust Committee meeting. The Committee will be submitting two applications to the CPC - one to fund the trust and a second to take over the loan fund. There will also be a joint CPC application from library, historical society, town clerk and school department to study all the historical documents in the possession of the five groups and to determine what it would take to catalog all the documents in one place. There is no catalog at all of these items. Obviously this would be a huge project. The proposal for this year would be to fund a study and that would set things up for years to come.
Mr. Riley said that a couple of requests had been received that the Board look into the feasibility of moving the rock located right near the street at the Center. He suggested that it be moved back behind the sidewalk into the green area. Mr. Riled also reported that he had attended the first meeting of the underground wire task force yesterday. The committee zeroed in on a section of North Street between Settles Glass and the harbor. Initial figures for removal of the poles and relocation of the wires are being sought from Verizon and the Light Plant.
Meeting adjourned 9:45 pm.
Betty Foley, Clerk