BOS seeks guidance to help solve Rez issues

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Selectmen are hoping that a combination of Town Counsel Paul DeRensis, the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission (MAPC), and Town Planner Tim Richard will be able to clear the foggy haze of access, use and liability issues at the town-owned Reservoir Pond.

In a marathon, three-and-a-half-hour selectmen’s meeting on Tuesday night that dealt with traffic hearings and the use of the reservoir, selectmen agreed to pay nearly $19,000 out of one of their mitigation accounts to MAPC to conduct an independent study of water quality and other environmental impacts from the potential use of the pond as a recreational resource. They also intend to hold several public hearings to “allow all stakeholders to express their ideas on current and future issues” pertaining to Reservoir Pond.

The MAPC will develop a summary of potential impacts and uses of the pond and report back to selectmen, hopefully in time for the May 2016 town meeting. Selectmen Chairman John Connolly said he would like to see a plan before town meeting so that action can be taken prior to next summer.

Selectman Victor Del Vecchio said hopefully DeRensis can identify the responsibilities and roles of the BOS, the Conservation Commission, and the state if Reservoir Pond is indeed deemed by state officials as a “Great Pond.”

“I said this a year and a half ago: We need a short-term and a long-term solution,” said Del Vecchio. “We still need a long-term solution.”

Several residents have taken to social media to voice their frustrations over a perceived lack of access at Reservoir Pond and a disparity between allowed uses for abutters and non-abutters. Boaters are unhappy with the lack of a quality boat launch as well as the current prohibition on motorized watercraft for those who do not own property on the pond.

Selectmen believe the MAPC will conduct a thorough and independent study and provide concrete recommendations to the board in light of varied interests who have sent messages to selectmen through print and social media.

“We need guidance from the MAPC as well as from town counsel,” said Selectman Kevin Feeney. “We need to know what our liabilities are.”

“We need to know what the town can do and what it can’t do,” added Connolly.

George Comeau, a Canton resident who serves on various town boards and committees, asked for more resident and selectmen input into the Reservoir Pond Advisory Committee, which was established in 2013 to come up with a long-term use plan for the pond.

See this week’s Canton Citizen for more highlights from the August 25 selectmen’s meeting. Not a subscriber? Click here to order your subscription today.

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