By Mike Melanson
PLYMPTON — A house and trailers at a historic horse farm on Parsonage Road known as the Pina property face demolition.
The Board of Health was scheduled to vote on Thursday Sept. 18 to condemn the structures and the barn cellar, according to board Chairman Arthur Morin.
A three story antique wooden barn at 59 Parsonage Road burned to the ground on Aug. 25.
The health board has prepared a letter to send to the USDA, which holds the property, ordering them to make repairs, or tear down the house and the trailers, and fill the cellar hole of the barn, Morin said.
“It’s unsafe for the health of the general population,” he said.
Morin said the roof is leaking and the ceiling and the floor are collapsing. The place is open, and there is mold.
The letter would require the USDA to demolish the house and structures in 30 days, or make repairs to bring them up to code, he said.
The USDA would have seven days to respond. The town could demolish the structures after one year, Morin said.
Historical Commission Chairman Jon Wilhelmsen said demolition would not be in the spirit of what the town does with old buildings.
“We would find that approach to be short-sighted,” he said. “It’s completely against what the town has voted for in terms of demolition delay.”
Open Space Committee member Linda Leddy said the committee contacted the USDA eight or nine months ago to see if the property could be given to the town.
The US Fisheries and Wildlife Services has an option to acquire the property for use as a wildlife reserve, but had 14 days to make a decision as of Monday, she said.
Leddy said the committee and selectmen could put a proposal or plan together if Plympton gets the property.
Selectman John Henry said he agrees that there might be an opportunity, as long as no Plympton taxpayer dollars are used.
“The worst thing that can happen is this becomes the town’s problem,” he said.
Leddy said the committee wants to maintain a balance.
“Let’s see what happens in two weeks,” she said.
Selectmen Chairman Mark Russo, who chairs the Community Preservation Committee, said the town should do whatever can be done to get the property.
Russo said a public safety building could be built on the Route 58 side of the property.
The old house has a tremendous historical value, he said, and the property could be used for farming, community housing, and a recreation area.
Russo said the property would also offer access to the Winnetuxet River.
“I’m incredibly enthusiastic about getting that property, if it’s possible,” he said.
Town Coordinator Dale Pleau said the fire chief is also sending a letter to the USDA regarding the condition of the property.
Selectmen Monday voted, 3-0, to grant a transfer station permit to Brook Retreat, 55 Brook St., as long as there are no more than four residents there.
However, the board would reconsider the permit if there are five or more residents there.
Brook Retreat is a five- to nine-month residential spiritual retreat dedicated to helping addicts and alcoholics recover through the immediate and rigorous application of the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, although the retreat is not affiliated with AA.
Henry said that under state law, Brook Retreat is considered a single-family residence, and their trash is considered residential trash.
Henry said the applicants said they would either buy a $200 transfer station sticker, or go with a private hauler.
Morin said that as a single-family homeowner he does not want to pay for commercial trash going into the town dump, from Brook Retreat, Sysco or any other business in Plympton.
“It’s a business. They’re going to charge people to go there,” he said.
Russo said he believes that Brook Retreat should be able to get a transfer station sticker if there are four or fewer residents, but he might not agree if there are five or more residents.
“It does get sticky. That’s separate,” he said.
Selectmen Monday voted to approve a request by the Friends of the Plympton Parks to display a sign no larger than four-feet by eight-feet in front of the Town House between the library and Town House.
Wilhelmsen, with the Friends, said the group plans to kick off a fund-raising campaign on Oct. 4, and needs to raise $36,000 for a boardwalk to link Churchill’s Park off Main Street with the Cato’s Ridge conservation area.
He said people will be able to buy and inscribe the planks to be used for the boardwalk, for $50 per plank.
The fund-raiser sign will resemble a thermometer and track progress toward the fund-raiser goal, and be displayed from Oct. 5 to no later than Dec. 31, Wilhelmsen said.
He said the sign would drive people to parks website, www.plymptonparks.org
Selectmen Monday voted to permit Russo and Pleau to sign an application for a state Community Innovation Challenge grant.
Pleau said a number of fire departments in the area are seeking the grants to purchase Lucas 2 chest compression systems, including Plympton.
“These machines cost $13,500 a piece, so hopefully we get the grant for it,” he said.
In a specifications sheet, a paramedic and field supervisor is quoted as saying, “If I had one arm, and could only grab one thing to take into the house, it would be LUCAS.”
Selectmen Monday voted, 2-0, to ahead with plans for Collins Civil Engineering Group to conduct percolation tests on a Maple Street property, one of three properties identified as possible sites for a public safety building.
The town is also considering a property on Center Street and also the Town House complex.
Pleau said the testing would take place on Oct. 4, starting at 7:30 a.m.
Town Meeting approved and funded a measure to evaluate all three properties.
Pleau said the tests would cost from $3,500 to $4,000.
Russo, an abutter, excused himself from deliberation.
Thompson and Henry voted for the measure.
“I think we should do it because Town Meeting voted on it,” Thompson said.
Selectmen’s assistant hired
Selectmen voted, 3-0, to hire Kristen LeVangie as selectmen’s assistant.
LeVangie has worked in the private sector for a property management firm in Brookline for the past 10 years, Russo said.
“We will look forward to making her welcome and getting her up to speed as soon as possible,” he said.
Russo said attorney Peter Epstein, representing Plympton in license renewal negotiations with Comcast, met with Comcast manager Gerry Buckley last week.
According to Russo, Buckley indicated that he felt that Plympton’s request for origination points, or places from which live broadcasts could be made, is asking for too much.
Russo said he was frustrated and that Plympton should not get one bit less than Halifax did in that town’s pact with Comcast. Plympton, he said, needs accommodation for lack of origination points.
Russo said he hoped he would participate in a conference call with Epstein and Buckley by the end of the week.
Comcast, Russo said, might be obligated to keep the Halifax-Plympton studio open for Plympton if no agreement is signed.