Select Board concerned with Round Hill Beach parking

By Douglas McCulloch | Sep 12, 2017

Citing contradictory information, the Select Board on Monday delayed recommending that Town Meeting members approve an item related to the salt marsh restoration project at Round Hill Beach.

As the board voted on recommendations for items on the fall Town Meeting agenda, member Stanley Mickelson raised concerns with the Round Hill Beach proposal, which would split the ownership of the Round Hill Beach property between the Parks Board and the Conservation Commission, explained Town Administrator David Cressman.

The salt marsh restoration would be funded with federal and state grants. Officials are concerned that using those public funds would require the town to open beach parking to non-residents, Cressman said. Parking is currently restricted to Dartmouth residents who have a valid parking pass.

Mickelson said a recent conversation he had with State Representative Chris Markey (D-Dartmouth), who is also a lawyer, provided him with information contrary to what town and state officials reported at a recent meeting – that it can be guaranteed that parking at the beach will not be affected by the project.

“[Markey's] opinion is that there is no governmental agency that can guarantee the parking portion,” Mickelson said. “There’s no clear answers. I know there’s a lot of money involved, but there is a beach involved also. At this point I can’t vote in favor of this.”

Chair Frank Gracie also weighed in on the issue, noting his frustration in getting a straight answer on the question.

“None of us want to do the wrong thing; none of us want to dissolve reserved parking for town residents,” Gracie said. “We should be able to get a firm answer on this.”

The board decided to hold off on voting on a recommendation for Town Meeting members until more information can be learned during upcoming meetings on the project.

The Select Board voted to move forward with the permitting process for the project in July. The Parks Board, which owns the property, voted against the project in May.

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