The Plympton Board of Selectmen met virtually on Monday, August 9. They began with an update on the Carver Urban Renewal Project. Both Selectmen Chair Christine Joy and Selectman Mark Russo attended the most recent meeting for the project.
Joy said that her biggest takeaway from the meeting was that the project would entail a 24/7 operation. Joy also said that the Redevelopment Authority as well as the Department of Housing Authority would have control over the project. She said they are working on getting a consultant for the project and added, “At this point everything is really conceptual; they’ve got quite a bit of work to get where they want to go.”
Another noteworthy takeaway from the meeting was that if the height of the building was extended to 60 ft. there would be an additional 100 ft. setback added as well. “So that was good to hear,” Joy said. “I was very happy with the level of concern that they gave to Plympton residents,” she explained saying that she and Russo were both allowed to speak during the meeting. According to Joy, Plympton will be allowed to talk to the developer to stay abreast of the plans. Plympton will also be kept informed of future meeting dates.
Russo added, “I was very appreciative of how willing they were to listen.” He said he was particularly appreciative of their awareness of the effect the project would have on Plympton residents. Russo also said that he spoke to a Conservation Commission member who thought it might be possible to have a consultant to the developer hired for the abutting town to address issues like wastewater disposal and wetlands. He said he would look into the possibility.
Bridge projects: Ferguson and
Highway Superintendent Rob Firlotte was in attendance and provided an update on state bridge projects. Firlotte said that they were planning on doing some structural testing with the grant for the Ferguson Memorial Bridge on Route 58. He said they were thinking about a scheduled replacement in 5-7 years.
Regarding the Winnetuxet Bridge, Firlotte said that one change that they would like to make is to widen it a bit and to allow for some kind of sidewalk. All at the meeting agreed that they wouldn’t want to move away from a wooden bridge. They all agreed that they were happy that the State was open to their feedback. Selectman John Traynor said he was “afraid at some point in the process they’ll throw a switch and we’ll find ourself with a totally different bridge.” Firlotte noted that he didn’t expect to incur any costs on the project calling it “almost like a State gift.” He also said the work to the wooden bridge wouldn’t occur for several years.
Beer Garden Licenses
The Selectmen met with Mike Johnson and James Wright who own Brewery 44. They explained that they had approached Sauchuk Farm with the idea of doing a Beer Garden. Johnson and Wright explained that the concept has become quite popular recently. They described it as providing people a chance to sample a few beers while expanding upon their market base. Their intent would be to setup a pop-up tent area with two beers and a seltzer to sample during the hours of operation from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.. They were applying for 13 individual liquor licenses for every Saturday and Sunday up to but not including October 31.
Russo explained that he was concerned that a precedent not be set were the licenses to be issued. He also said that he would feel more comfortable issuing just a few licenses to ensure that no problems arose. Joy agreed with Russo. The Board voted to approve the first 4 licenses.
Covid cases increasing in town
Town Administrator Liz Dennehy was absent from Monday’s meeting so Joy provided her update. She said that Covid cases were starting to pop back up in town with three recorded since August 5. She noted that as of yet, there were no plans to change any of the protocols in place. She did, however, note that some towns are starting to issue mask mandates in public buildings. The plan will be to watch and see what develops over the next several weeks.
Town House WiFi
Joy also said that there was an inquiry out currently with Comcast to try and figure out a plan for establishing Wi-Fi at the Old Townhouse. For correspondence, the Selectmen approved the use of the town green for a wedding. “Good luck to the couple that wants to get married,” Russo said cheerily.
40 child increase at Dennett
Chair of the Plympton School Committee and Chair of the Town Properties Committee Jon Wilhelmsen gave a brief update on the schools saying that more would be known regarding safety protocols after the Silver Lake Regional School Committee meeting the following evening. He did note that there would be an extra 40 children in the Dennett this year as the outgoing class was small and the incoming class quite large. Regarding the new playground project, Wilhelmsen said the old playground had been removed and the hope was to have the new one installed in time for the start of school. Siding has been replaced on the side of the building facing the parking lot. The parking lot has also been redone.
Wilhelmsen also provided an update on the Town Properties Committee. He said they “need to take a little time and look at recreation because when we do the plan it impedes upon the existing ball fields.” He said that as part of Phase 2 the Committee plans to get an idea of what the costs are as well as how it will all fit together.
OCPC to help with truck traffic
Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) continues to pursue restrictions on heavy truck traffic on certain roads in Plympton. Dennehy is working with Kingston on how to alleviate it on Ring Rd. Russo noted that he would like to see this project moved along quickly.
North Plympton Cemetery
Traynor gave an update on a clean-up event that he had hoped to have at the North Plympton Cemetery. The plan was to have the Boy Scouts assist. He said he had a lawyer draw up a release for the 15 acres the cemetery sits on but told the Selectmen that the woman who owns the property refused to sign it. Traynor said he will be pushing the project off to the fall but noted he plans to take pictures to show how overgrown it has become.
Raves for COA
Traynor also praised the Council on Aging (COA) saying that more and more events were being held. He praised the leadership of both Director of Elder Affairs Colleen Thompson and Chair Nancy Butler and said that he believed the COA was finally becoming what the town had always hoped it would become.