Four new Economic Development Committee members were appointed by the Board of Selectmen this week and quickly made known their views on supporting existing businesses in Hull and attracting new ones to town.
Before the Selectmen made these appointments this week, board member Domenico Sestito suggested that the EDC take the opportunity “to weigh in on the proposed medical marijuana facility [at the former aquarium building]. I’d like to hear from EDC members,” he said.
The selectmen named current EDC alternate James Pitrolo to fill the permanent vacancy resulting from Mark Abatuno’s resignation. Selectwoman Donna Pursel also stepped down from the committee; Kim Roy, who was interviewed by the board this week, took her place.
Irene Coombs, Steven Greenberg, and Kyle Haas, who were also interviewed, were appointed to fill the three open alternate positions.
Coombs said she was interested in a position on EDC because, when she decided to move from Newton to Hull in 2017, she was impressed by the town’s residents and scenic beauty and was excited about its recent, and potentially future, growth and expansion.
“There’s a lot we can do to promote our town even further,” she said. “It’s a totally hidden gem on the South Shore.”
Coombs went on to say she would like to see community activities taking place along the beachfront and the Mary Jeanette Murray Bath House being used to host events “to help make Hull an amazing place for future generations.”
Greenberg, now retired, has 50 years of civic economic development experience. “Hull is a great community in so many ways,” he said, noting that there are several ways to augment what the town already has to offer.
“History and economic development are two tools that can combine to present new and beneficial revenue sources for the town,” he said in his application letter.
Roy and her family moved to Hull last year after volunteering for the town of Halifax in many capacities, including as a selectwoman.
“I love local government,” she said. “It’s what I have done for the past 25 years, and I feel this is the time for me to give back to my new community. I know how to be part of a team. I’m a worker and will do whatever I can, wherever you need me.”
Haas works as a business strategy and technology consultant for engineering and consulting firms and has documented complex business models and created financial models for new products and services.
He told the board he believes that his “experience and commitment to service” will be a benefit to the EDC and to the community as a whole.
In other business at the meeting:
* The Paragon Boardwalk’s general manager, Chas Boggini, appeared before the board to discuss the pandemic-amended seating plan for the outdoor venue, overall food and beverage service, and inclusion of the arcade and beer hall area for the targeted May 1 reopening date.
Speaking on behalf of owner Chris Reale, Boggini is requesting approval for 540 seats, including a maximum of 330 for the boardwalk and a 210- maximum seating capacity for the indoor space, which includes the beer hall and arcade. The plan would be contingent on the approval of the town’s inspectional services.
Under current state COVID-19 guidelines, arcades are now allowed to open/reopen at 50 percent capacity. In addition, there is a requirement that food be served with alcohol. Bars are not yet allowed to open or reopen.
“My sense is that the board wants to work with the applicant, but there are many outstanding questions,” Board Chairwoman Jennifer Constable said.
The discussion was continued until the board’s April 28 meeting pending receipt of additional information.
* The selectmen added an additional member to the Beach Management Committee due to an increased workload, including inspections of beach properties and dunes in the wake of major storms, member Rhoda Kanet told the board during Wednesday’s meeting. There are also two existing vacancies.
The selectmen created the volunteer BMC in 2000 and appoints its members. The committee’s mission is to advise the board on best beach management practices to achieve and balance the goals of preserving the integrity of the oceanside beaches and dune systems, providing storm protection, and maximizing public access.
Kevin Beck was appointed to the committee, and Peter Pyclik and Jon Plotkin, who were not on the call but who had applied for a position on the BMC, will be invited back to an upcoming meeting to interview for the two remaining slots.
Beck, who grew up in Hull, moved away, and then returned in 2019, said he wants to begin serving the community “and the people of this great town.” He was involved with beach revitalization in another community and believes he will be a valuable asset to the BMC due to his past experience, including many years spent in the U.S. Navy. “During that time, I gained a deep understanding of the environment and its impact on coastal communities,” he said.
* Katherine Jacintho was appointed to serve on the Conservation Commission to fill an opening created by a member’s resignation.