Scituate: Annual Town Meeting focuses on seawall repair – Damon property purchase

Scituate held their annual town meeting Monday night, staying up until the wee hours to vote on all the warrant articles.

Town meeting voted in a $62.6 million fiscal 2015 operating budget.

They also voted yes on a contentious community preservation article that allocates $784,000 to purchase the 37.7 acre Damon Memorial Preserve, under the care and custody of the conservation commission, for open space in perpetuity.

But some people like resident Laurie Winthrop, believe the land could be used instead for town athletic fields.

“Seven hundred eighty four thousand dollars is way too much money to spend, to be given restrictions by the owners. If they are donating the space to us, then maybe I would understand a little more. But, they want to sell it to us and give us restrictions. We already have plenty of walking trails in the West End, that I don’t hear anyone say they are using. We are in desperate need of fields; ways to keep our children busy. The thought of more in the woods for our teenagers to hang in, just makes me cringe!” she said.

Town meeting also voted in favor of adopting state standards for regulations of medical marijuana dispensaries, and voted yes for a citizen petition article sponsored by the Scituate Coastal Coalition, to borrow $500,000 to repair or reconstruct the town’s seawalls.

Coalition Chairman David Ball spoke on behalf of the article and said, “Earlier tonight, you voted in favor of $300,000 for foreshore protection repairs. The town will also add another $200,000 from an override passed a couple of years ago. By passing this article, you will add another $500,000 to that amount. Like roads, bridges and schools, seawalls and other forms of foreshore protection require periodic maintenance and reinvestment. If we wait until a seawall completely fails, it is very costly to rebuild. It is far more prudent to adequately fund a responsible maintenance program, before that happens.”

Town meeting convened until one in the morning, to get through all the articles on the warrant.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.