Town manager: Other priorities on to-do list
A petition signed by 65 residents and recently submitted to Town Manager Philip Lemnios is seeking the Select Board’s support for placing extensive Stoney Beach Road seawall repairs on the town’s high-priority list.
However, at Wednesday’s in-person board meeting, Lemnios said the project will not proceed in the near future due to other priorities.
In a letter accompanying the petition, resident Carol O’Brien, who filed the petition with Lemnios, said the chronic undermining of the seawall, cave-ins, and wall failures are among the reasons behind the petition.
“Town efforts aimed at grouting and repair are always appreciated, but it seems like a losing battle as the ferocity of storms [hitting Hull] intensifies each year,” O’Brien said.
Lemnios explained during the meeting that two other seawall projects – Fitzpatrick Way and Harborview Road – are ahead of Stoney Beach, in large part because of the presence of utilities that feed into Hull Village.
Seawall engineers have already begun the process of doing “a reconnaissance audit of the Stoney Beach area,” according to Lemnios. “They will give us an estimate so we can apply for grants to complete the engineering and permitting process. It’s typically a three- to five-year cycle. The environmental permitting takes quite a while.”
Neither O’Brien nor any of the other residents who signed the petition spoke during the meeting.
The concern goes beyond the safety of Stoney Beach Road residents to include possible problems with the nearby Atlantic Avenue egress route should a blizzard similar to the one that occurred in 1978 strike again.
The petition was signed for the most part by residents of Stoney Beach Road, Atlantic Avenue, and Gunrock Avenue residents, with some others mixed in. “We are supportive of the town’s efforts to improve Atlantic Avenue, its drainage, and its safety,” the petition states. Appreciation was also expressed to Hull town officials who are working with state and federal agencies to bring the project to eventual completion.
At the same time, the petition expresses a “deep and ongoing concern” for the safety of the residents on abutting Stoney Beach Road “and the consequential damage that a 1 percent storm [1 percent chance of occurring in any given year, formerly referred to as a 100-year storm event] could do to the Atlantic Avenue evacuation route.”
The petition refers to the Blizzard of 1978 and the resulting serious damage to the seawall at 18-22 Stoney Beach Road and Atlantic Avenue. “We worry that all of the hard work to ‘condition’ Atlantic Avenue as a safety route will be lost if the Stoney Beach seawall is compromised again,” the petition says.
Since that time, the town has monitored the seawall footings, which continue to erode at the same place as occurred during the 1978 event, according to the petition.
The current major Atlantic Avenue project addresses deteriorated infrastructure along the roadway, including poor pavement condition, old storm water drainage systems, a substandard guardrail, a lack of pedestrian and bicycle accommodations, and other issues.
Roadway reconstruction, new sidewalks with granite curbing, new wheelchair ramps, and drainage, utility, and safety improvements are part of the plan.
In requesting that the Stoney Beach Road seawall project be moved to the town’s high-priority list, those who signed the petition are asking that more “complete and lasting” repairs be made this time around in addition to some repair work that has been done over the years.
The petition ends with a sobering request to the Select Board: “We ask that you consider that we have been asking for consideration for well over 30 years. We also ask you to consider the risk to human life should a 1-percent storm block the newly-renovated Atlantic Avenue.”
Stoney Beach is in the queue, Lemnios said, “but [this project] might not happen as quickly as some might like.”
Select Board Chair Jennifer Constable thanked the O’Briens and their neighbors “for keeping this project front and center.”
In other business at the meeting:
* Constable led a moment of silence for Americans killed in Afghanistan.
* John D. Reilly III submitted a letter of resignation from the War Memorial Commission. “It has been an honor to represent the Marine Corps and my generation of veterans that have fought the War on Terror,” he wrote. “I am grateful for the opportunity to have served my hometown of Hull.”
* The scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 15, Select Board meeting has been changed to Tuesday, Sept. 14, in observance of Yom Kippur.