Resident/business ‘feedback’ strong
Strong interest in a recent decision by the Board of Selectmen to continue the summertime parking restrictions prompted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic last year forced a postponement of further discussion this week until the board’s March 24 meeting.
The selectmen had received a heavy volume of correspondence in response to suggestions made during their earlier meeting that the Hull Redevelopment Authority not be allowed to open its parking lot to beachgoers and other visitors for at least the upcoming summer season. The lot operated at 50 percent capacity last summer because of the pandemic.
The discussion was to continue at the board’s meeting last night, but instead consideration of the agenda item was put off three weeks, until the March 24 meeting.
It is expected that ample time will be allowed for questions, comments, and concerns from interested parties during the discussion, including how the HRA lot will figure into the final parking restrictions. The intended use of the HRA lot has evolved over the years, and many people have come to rely on its availability for parking, Board Chairwoman Jennifer Constable had noted earlier.
The upcoming meeting is open to comments from the public as well as private entities and businesses that are normally allowed to open their parking lots to residents and visitors during the summer months.
Town Manager Philip Lemnios said the selectmen plan to meet with the HRA in executive session at the beginning of the March 24 meeting and then to reconvene in open session.
“This was a last-minute decision [to delay the parking discussion], based on feedback from residents and businesses,” Constable said. She apologized to those who were on the call for that agenda item and invited them to participate in the upcoming meeting. “If that’s not possible, I suggest you reach out to board members in the meantime,” she recommended.
The state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which controls Nantasket Beach, offers 1,000 parking spaces, but the number of available spots was greatly reduced last summer due to COVID-19.
In other business at the meeting:
* Lemnios said that, in light of the persistence of the coronavirus pandemic, the intent is to keep this year’s town meeting “as utilitarian as possible,” as was the case last year, and to stay with last June’s setup on the turf field.
“We don’t expect the kind of attendance of pre-COVID times because some people are still concerned about being in a crowd, even with social distancing in place,” Lemnios said.
The plan currently is to address priority warrant articles at the regular town meeting and to call a special town meeting in the fall “to address some of the broader issues that would typically appear on an expanded warrant,” he explained. It is expected that additional information will be available at a later date.
* Selectman Greg Grey, who also sits on the Parks and Recreation Commission, reported that there are plans to operate a summertime recreational program under COVID-19 restrictions “as we approach the new normal.” Camp counselor and director positions are open, with more information available on the town website. “This is good news after the year we have just gone through,” Grey said.
*Selectwoman Donna Pursel, one of two Hull representatives on the Weir River Water System Citizens Advisory Board, said the new system operator is in the process of transitioning the customer support and billing operations from Aquarion Water Co. to Suez Water Environmental Services (SUEZ), which operates the water system.
A customer service office will open at 185 Lincoln St. on April 1. Customers with questions about the transition can stop by and meet with a representative in person.
“Mailers will be sent to all water customers, and notices [with all the details] will be published in the newspaper,” Pursel said. “It should be a seamless transition.”