Plympton Board of Selectmen met Monday, May 22, and gave the results of Town Counsel Greg Corbo’s opinion as to who has the authority to site the well in the new, proposed town complex. The well will serve the police station, the new fire station, and the library. It will not serve the Town House, which has its own well in the basement of the building.
Plympton selectmen, the Board of Health, and Jon Wilhelmsen of the Town Properties Committee met earlier in May to discuss siting the well for DEP approval and there was some question as to where the final authority lay. At the request of Selectman Chairman Christine Joy and Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy, Plympton sought the advice of Town Counsel to properly delineate the roles and responsibilities associated with siting the well at the new Town Complex.
Dennehy pointed out that it does not include the well at the Town House, whose issues the Board of Health is working on with the Department of Environmental Protection; it only includes the new well that will serve the Town Complex.
Corbo’s letter to the board in part states that the authority to site the well belongs to the Town Properties Committee as representatives of the Board of Selectmen. The new well, a small public water system, serving the fire station and library, will need to be approved by the DEP, but the siting for the well rests with the Board of Selectmen and/or its designees, and also noted that the Board of Health does not have the authority to override the decisions of the Board of Selectmen.
Responding to Joy’s question as to whether the ruling is clear, Selectman Traynor said, “Absolutely. I think it is about as clear as you can get.”
In other business, selectmen appointed Sean Fitzgerald as a part-time police officer as recommended by Chief Matt Ahl. They also approved the use of the Deborah Sampson Meeting Room for a cooking demonstration with samples, for June 8, at 6 p.m., approximately 20 people will be attending. The Board of Health has already granted their approval. It will be put on by the Plympoton Public Library, featuring Chef Thomas Mottl of RTC Network, Pawtucket, RI.
Under correspondence, Russo read a letter to the board from Nancy Denman on Ring Road, concerning the MBTA Housing Mandate forced on Massachusetts cities and towns. She went on to say that she was at the meeting at the library where State Senator Susan Moran was asked by Russo what Moran could do to support small towns in their quest to retain control over their character and community. Denman said that she felt Moran’s answer was “disappointing.” Denman asked Russo to communicate with other towns in similar situations and form a united front to fight the mandate.
Russo responded to Denman’s letter by saying that “I think it’s deeply challenging that the attorney general has opined that we put ourselves in legal peril if we don’t move forward.” One of the good things, he continued, is that the next step will have to be approved by town meeting. Any action taken between now and June 1 could potentially leave Plympton in peril without accomplishing anything. “The tenor of that letter, I totally agree with.” Russo furthered that the purpose of this legislation is excellent, encouraging more use of the MBTA, but it is not in tune with the times. It is absolutely blind to the unusual situation – that of small towns.
Traynor responded that he agreed with Russo’s remarks, but he wanted to be careful in Plympton’s response. Traynor noted that there is a meeting being put together with representatives from the towns. “I think we should go forward and make our concerns known, and I think that based on what I saw, it felt like everybody’s coming from the same place – that it’s unfair and doesn’t really help because small towns, really don’t have – especially like Plympton – we really don’t have the acreage.” Traynor said that he just wants to be cautious as we go forward.
Joy said that all the selectmen have expressed their support for affordable housing but it needs to be in a manner consistent with the town that we can support with the services that we offer.
Raves – Traynor shared with his board that Jackie Freitas asked to give a shout-out to the Silver Lake Regional High School graduate signs that are popping up on Plympton lawns. Also a rave to the townspeople’s response to the Pay as you Throw program. “Really, we have not had any major pushback – not even minor pushback – so a rave to the townspeople, the highway department, the transfer station …” Final comment – poor showing at the polls. He said he was disappointed that with over 2,000 registered voters we couldn’t get at least 10 percent.