Friday, September 11, 2009

Beach Alliance meeting

Another meeting of the Merrimack River Beach Alliance and more obstacles to beach nourishment (but not dredging).

As I alluded to in my last week's story in the Current, some of the property owners are not anxious to sign the easements. Some of them were at the meeting this morning. Maybe as many as have signed the easement documents (which would be 8 out of "about" 26 property owners).

Also seems that at least a couple of the owners are not in the state and one is in Thailand.

State Sen. Bruce Tarr (who represents Newbury but not Newburyport), and who chairs the group, tried to tone down the anxiety but of course I'm going to ramp it up.

The deadline for having everything ready to go for the nourishment has now shifted slightly from Oct. 1 to Oct. 5, or thereabouts.

I asked Tarr and PITA President Ron Barrett after the meeting about the potential for retribution and such for anyone who dares to not sign the easement. Both expressed surprised at such a notion.

Well ... since I've seen nasty comments on the Daily News website from someone on PI about the very same Ron Barrett (and which the DN caught and deleted), and since I remember a Newbury health agent telling me that people threw dog poop at her house after dogs were banned from the beach, I'm not betting against anything.

The two things you don't mess with: people's homes and people's dogs (not necessarily in that order).

Anyway, DCR and whoever else (PI Foundation seems likely to be there) scheduled two meetings for Tuesday and Thursday next week, 5-7 p.m. at PITA Hall, to go over things with the reluctant property owners in question.

These informational meetings were previously held at the home of PI Foundation member Bob Connors, who is not one of the property owners who needs to sign an easement.

Barrett had suggested a few meetings ago that these sessions be held at PITA Hall, and I guess someone finally figured out that maybe he was right.

DCR counsel Gary Davis kept saying he would continue to treat the owners with respect - and if just one of them refuses to sign, the nourishment project is off.

The dredging would go on and the sand would be dumped offshore.

Too bad Newburyport can't get any of it because you all know who's going to foot the bill for trucking sand onto that beach. DCR and ... hey, Newburyport taxpayers!

But if the nourishment is halted for Salisbury and Newbury, there would be no point in dumping sand on the Newburyport beach, the Army Corps of Engineers man said.

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