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ConCom Approves Boating Group’s Plans

Posted in: Bourne News, Top Stories
Dec 5, 2008 - 12:04:27 PM

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BOURNE- Bourne Community Boating received a unanimous go-ahead from the Bourne Conservation Commission last night. ConCom approved the non-profit sailing group’s request to build two sheds, place two seasonal portable toilets, and use the parking lot it sublets from the corporation that owns the Mashnee Island Grill.
No testimony was taken, since the hearing on the matter was closed on November 6. Instead, ConCom members reviewed possible draft orders on the matter and approved “Option B.”
That option included two special conditions. The first was that any structures be removable, but securely fashioned in a manner approved by the town’s building inspector. The second condition was that the structures be immediately removed from the site if and when a hurricane warning is issued by the National Weather Service.
Just prior to ConCom’s vote on the issue, William C. Henchy, attorney for the Mashnee Association, Inc., which opposes the use of the parking lot and contends that the land is a coastal dune and should be protected as such, asked to speak for the record.
He argued that several members of the board had missed at least one meeting, and thus were in violation of a ruling in Mullen v. the Planning Board of Brewster, a court decision that Mr. Henchy said prevented those who did so from voting on the project.
ConCom Vice Chairman Robert M. Gray said he believed that the Mullen rule did not apply to ConCom proceedings.
All of the commission members present then proceeded to vote on the matter, including Mr. Gray, Robert Palumbo, M. Peter Holmes, John D. Fiske, and Susan J. Weston.
ConCom members anticipate that the matter will be appealed, particularly given Mr. Henchy’s objections.
Conspicuously absent from the proceedings was Chairman Bruce A. MacDonald, who had driven from his new home in Newton to take part in the meeting.
After the hearings were over, Mr. Gray said that Mr. MacDonald had come with a letter of resignation from the commission already prepared, and had intended to share it with the board at the end of the evening.
Instead, before the start of the meeting, Town Administrator Thomas M. Guerino delivered to ConCom members a copy of a memorandum from Town Counsel Robert S. Troy stating that counsel believed that Mr. MacDonald had vacated his position on board when he moved out of the town of Bourne.
Rather than sit on the board, and call any vote into question, Mr. MacDonald went home.
ConCom members said they thought that, after Mr. MacDonald had served 14 years on the board, he should have sat on these last hearings, delivered  his letter of resignation, and said a few words, just as he had intended.
They were still not sure, they said, whether or not ConCom membership required Bourne residency.
In an allied matter, Mr. Henchy withdrew the Mashnee Association’s separate request for a determination that the land off Leeward Road used by both Bourne Community Boating and the Mashnee Island Grill should be seen as a coastal dune, making it subject to all state and local wetlands law.
Mr. Henchy said he withdrew the matter so that it could be refiled and served on J. Ford O’Connor, attorney for the owner of the property in question. Mashnee Village Inc. is the owner of record of that property, which is leased by both the grill and the boating club.
Mr. Henchy said he hoped that action would persuade the property owner, who had refused access onto the property, to allow his client access to the land in order to take core samples. He also said he hoped to be able to use those samples to provide a complete picture of the character of the land to ConCom members.