Monday, June 15, 2009

PITA vs. Foundation

On Friday, I asked a member of the Plum Island Foundation why there needed to be 2 resident-based groups on little old Plum Island.

PITA, of course, is the Plum Island Taxpayers Association.

Bob Connors, the Foundation person, said that his group is dealing with a very narrow issue - the beach erosion - that is too big for just one group to handle.

Well apparently one group is enough to be present at meetings between the DCR and the 26 property owners that have to grant easements to have a pipe going across their property to deliver sand to the eroded portion of the beach.

Wait - I thought people did not own the beach? Ah, well, wrong again.

Anyway, there was a meeting of most of these 26 owners and the DCR general counsel and it was held at Connors' home. He admitted to me that he was not one of the 26 owners in question, but Ron Barrett, president of PITA, was pretty peeved that he (Barrett) had not been invited and that the meeting was held in a private home.

From the Daily News story I cited before:

PITA President Ron Barrett said he objected to holding alliance-related meetings in private homes and forcefully said it should not happen again.

Tarr said it was easier for Davis to bring the owners together than to hold 26 separate talks.

Barrett agreed, but said the group session should still be held in public buildings.

Tarr and Moak said they had no objection to meeting in public buildings, but the talks themselves should not necessarily be held in open session since they involved negotiations about private property.
On the surface, and from this exchange (which leaves out the part about Barrett being excluded), it would seem that Barrett was being petty. But if Connors was there, why not Barrett? Aside from the fact that it was Connors' home, of course.

What Victor Tine left out of his story - because he wasn't there when it happened - was Barrett walking around showing an aerial photo of erosion at the island center that was taken in 1973.

I do believe it was passed around after the meeting started - yes, it was, because Vincent Russo, a Newbury selectman, said, "It looks like deja vu all over again."

Oh - and I forgot, state Rep. Harriet Stanley was also at Friday's meeting. She also represents Newbury.

I don't think anyone from Sen. Steven Baddour's office was there, nor was there anyone from Congressman John Tierney's office present (someone was there at the last meeting I attended), but Fred Lucey was there representing our state Rep. Mike Costello.


Bubba said...

I think Ron and Bob should engage in a charity sumo wrestling match.

Bubba said...

Your easement reporting got me thinking. Since ocean front homes in Newbury own down the mean high tide mark, don't they need easements from Newbury owners (from the city line to 27th st) to place the pipes on the beach ? And similarly in Nbpt, with the erosion, the beach above the high tide mark is technically private property at this point.

Gillian Swart said...

I think the place where the 26 properties are is where the erosion is right up to or approaching the edge of the actual structures - the ACOE guy said the construction will "abutt the existing dune line in a westerly direction moving north."

There are 34 properties all told in the project, 8 of them owned by Newbury.

They need to "buttress the existing dune face by about 20 feet" and ... hey, I'm giving up my whole story!

I talked the the Army Corps today and they had little to offer up.

Bubba said...

Sure, but your earlier reporting suggested that easements were required to place the pipes on private property which is the case in some spots from the point to the area receiving the sand. As a follow-up, wouldn't beach nourishment trigger future Chapt 91 requirements since one could consider this filling tidelands ?

Gillian Swart said...

Yes, on the second question. They have to get a DEP permit.

I guess it would depend on where they place the pipe, wouldn't it? No one said exactly where the pipe will be placed on the Nbpt beach and since the 204 study is still "under review," it's not open to the public (meaning both of us).