Morse Bros. gravel removal plans – Plympton-Halifax Express
Halifax councilors met in person on the evening of June 14. there was a public hearing to remove the land from the morse brothers blueberry property. Councilor Alex Meade said: “I remember most of the residents’ concerns were about the road itself and dust control. Since then, we’ve had questions about runoff from trucks, so hydraulic leaks are things like that. I don’t know if you plan on putting in some sort of sump filters.” “We’d certainly be willing to talk about that,” the Morse brothers’ representative said.
meade said he would like to have a clear definition of what the expectations are for road condition and dust control. the spokesperson said the soil removal was necessary because the current layout is not conducive to new ways of growing blueberries. “The things we are talking about make sense for blueberry production. if we change the property to the new form, now it becomes the highest and best use for that property… there are good things for the village, there are good things for the farmer… at the end of the day, we just want to coexist”, continued.
they showed maps of the property to residents present at the hearing and said they were also available on mass mapper in zone 2. residents discussed their concerns, including home depreciation and child safety. One resident said they already dealt with the issues in September and October, but said that was just part of the blueberry business. he said, however, that this was different and would cause disruption for years. Another resident said that he is concerned about the environmental impact of the properties surrounding the in question, including the walking trails that lead to the burrage. another resident asked that the official adjoining list be expanded to include more properties. someone else expressed concern about the ability of first responders to reach homes given heavy truck traffic that was described as an “earthquake.”
The councilors agreed to visit the site and then review the project in early August. “I don’t think we’re at a point on this bill to vote either way,” said Chairman of the Voters, Ashley Disesa.
Monponsett pond treatments
council members also spoke with the morse brothers to discuss treatments for monponsett ponds. they said three weeks ago they completed renovations on a 9 ½ acre property that included new plantings that required irrigation from the west monponsett pond. they said they were notified that day that the pond had received a sonar treatment. while there is research on the effects of such treatment on mature plants, there is no research on the effects on newly planted vegetation. they said it was of “great concern” that they were not notified. they said they received considerable notice from the city manager in the past. current acting city manager ed thorne said he would share information he received from the department of environmental protection (dep) regarding the effects on immature plantings. the councilors also said they would not go ahead with a second treatment on the west pond at this time. A spokesman for the Morse brothers said they had some plants that were growing as they should and some that weren’t. “The umass cranberry station is very involved, the cape cod cranberry growers association, they’re all monitoring it with us,” he said. he continued, “we’re talking about an infected food product and we’re talking about a systemic herbicide.”
Fire Chief Search
Council members discussed the search for a new fire chief by speaking remotely with the person hired to conduct the search. they discussed the best way to form a search committee. Councilman Jonathan Selig said he was slated to be on that committee, as were Police Chief Joao Chaves, the interim fire chief, the interim town manager and one or two yet-to-be-named citizens. a former councilman, a department head and the administrative assistant for the fire department were being considered for the general citizen vacancy. the company contracted to conduct the search will do the initial screening before submitting applicants to the search committee for review.
Regarding the general citizen talent pool forms, Selig said the company that did the search said that person didn’t have to be a firefighter or first responder. they said it would be better to have someone from another walk of life to fill out the committee. selig said his recommendation would be that the administrative assistant for the fire department be appointed to the committee. both selig and disesa said they would like to see candace kniffen as she was a former councilwoman. Meade said, “I’m not a big fan of the administrative assistant picking her boss.” councilors voted to have kniffen and current library director jean gallant appointed to the search committee.
monitoring of municipal beaches
the cacique joao chaves met with the council members to talk about the crowd of residents and non-residents on the city’s beaches, specifically the one on 4th avenue. “There was a lot of going back and forth on social media, some things I wasn’t very happy with, which let me know what was being said… I thought about having a platform where residents can see the video, sort of know what we’re dealing with to solve this problem, look for ideas to try to mitigate this problem before it gets worse,” Chaves said. he said the signage on the beach is terrible. “Some of these solutions, if the people decide to do it, are going to cost them some money,” he added. he recommended a person stationed on the beach to monitor usage. he pointed out that young people are always looking for work during the summer. they are also considering an officer on a ship.
Chaves said they have issued several parking tickets. a proposal was made to the councilors to increase that rate. An official at the meeting made the distinction that the beach is open to the general public, though parking is limited to Halifax residents. the councilors asked that the appropriate departments create a plan to deal with the problem and then submit it to them for approval.
reorganization of the city council
Building Maintenance Director Scott Sr. spoke to councilors about the plan to reorganize the offices at City Hall so that the most frequently visited by the public are on the first floor. Maternity said several departments were upset with the plan for various reasons. some of the problems include large filing cabinets being stored on the second floor. Mother asked that the building committee be involved in the plan. selig said she would also like to see the department heads meet. she said that she wanted people to feel that her opinions matter. “A mix of construction, personally, I don’t feel like it’s high on my priority list,” Selig said. disesa said it would also be better to wait until they have a new permanent city manager.
fire department discussion
Jeffrey Cuozzo, interim fire chief, met with the board regarding hiring. “Right now, we have 26 firefighters… we average over the years 31.” Cuozzo said one of his firefighters is waiting and therefore in a more administrative role at the moment. Also, covid and other illnesses have put firefighters out of commission at times. “That being said, we have shifts to fill,” he told the council members. the interim contract doesn’t allow cuozzo to hire, so selig asked how they could amend that. Cuozzo said there was no need to contractually make a change as councilors could make final approval. the councilors gave him the necessary go-ahead to go ahead with the hiring of up to five firefighters on call.
beautification committee appointment
council members met with colby silva about her application to the beautification committee. she told council members that she has lived in the city for 10 years and that she would like to help make the city more beautiful. She said that she and her children have been picking up trash for years. she was appointed for a one-year term.
use of city property
Council members approved the use of the city park for a boy scout bottle drive on Saturday, July 9, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. m. to 1 p.m. m. they also received a request for the use of town lanes for a bike ride from the harbor to the bay on Saturday, September 17. disesa said that the event has not been held in the last two years due to covid. this year would mark the 20th anniversary of the charity event being held in the city. both police and firefighters had previously signed off the event. councilors agreed to hold off on final approval until the July meeting to iron out some details.
waste management contract
selig said he would like to see a committee formed to find a long-term solution to what he called “our garbage problem.” They agreed to move further discussion on the matter to their July meeting.
selig made a motion to name linda cole interim treasurer/collector. She said, “In talking to all the different departments (accounting, treasury…it came to the conclusion that we need someone to fill the gap, especially on a regulatory basis), she said. She added that she wouldn’t like to see the new person who will become the permanent treasurer be overwhelmed by a backlog of paperwork.
increased police presence at elementary school
Selig said, “Given things today, we thought it would be nice to have a little more police presence at our elementary school.” he said they were looking for ways to do it without sacrificing patrols in other parts of the city. Selig said they were considering splitting the position between the school and police departments. Chaves said the department still needs to review its budget before making any decisions. the councilors agreed to discuss the idea further at a meeting in July.