The board of selectmen compiled a list of goals and objectives in Dec. 2019, some of which have been accomplished while others are in progress or not yet moving forward, in large part due to delays caused by the pandemic and the need to focus on related issues.
The items on the list run the gamut from working with the MBTA to support efforts for more reliable ferry and bus service to promoting and protecting affordable and senior housing units throughout town.
Town Manager Philip Lemnios provided an update to the board recently on what’s been accomplished so far and which ones need further attention.
“Significant progress has been made, especially in light of the pandemic,” Select Board Chair Jennifer Constable said. “It’s been an interesting last year and a half.”
As part of his update, Lemnios explained that the consultants hired to work on the Pemberton Economic Development Plan have completed a draft, which was presented to residents for their feedback just before the pandemic.
“We never completed the cycle or decided whether to incorporate their observations and concerns in part or in whole in the [report],” Lemnios said. “This is an open planning document that needs to be addressed.”
With regard to the ferry/bus goal, Lemnios said: “We managed to preserve these services during [COVID-19], but this will always be a challenge. I don’t think for the next couple of years the issue will rear its head as post-pandemic transportation patterns are developed, but there could be some risks to ferry and bus service” in the future.
While he acknowledged that the MBTA is aware it would be unwise to make any further changes until that pattern is established, “it’s something to keep our eye on,” Lemnios said.
Another goal – to develop a plan to better handle Hull’s summertime afternoon traffic issues – has been given considerable attention in the past year. Lemnios recalled that the board established a COVID-19 parking policy, which was continued this year and includes restricting neighborhood parking and placing some restrictions on parking in the business districts. “We’ll have the police chief in, probably in October, to talk about how the plan has worked,” Lemnios said. The board is also working to resolve some specific short-term parking issues related to businesses.
As for other goals, a senior housing working group has been established and is expected to present a summary of its findings soon. Members have met with developers and representatives from communities that have already developed senior housing.
Lemnios stressed that the goal of promoting and protecting affordable and senior housing units throughout town is uppermost in many residents’ minds. He suggested holding a meeting with the Select Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, the Planning Board, and others interested in that issue to establish goals that will be informed by the housing production plan once it is completed. A needs assessment for Hull’s senior community is under contract, with the results expected by late this year.
The town’s open space and recreation plan is finished, and efforts to replace worn-out playground structures are progressing well.
Plans to explore the possibility of Hull achieving a designation as an age-friendly community from the state have temporarily been on hold due to time constraints.
Exploring the possibility of hiring a human resources director and/or an assistant town manager is “a little lower on the list of priorities” in light of more pressing needs in other departments, according to Lemnios.
Constable said she would like to see the goal-setting process happen on an annual basis. “Ideally it should take place after the town elections when the board reorganizes,” she said.
In other business at the meeting:
* The Select Board and the Hull Redevelopment Authority will meet in joint session soon to discuss filling the HRA seat recently vacated by Evan Shuman, who resigned.
*Public Health Director Joyce Sullivan and Department of Public Works Director Christopher Gardner were reappointed to the South Shore Recycling Collaborative.
* Joseph Reilly and Jacqueline Reilly were reappointed as town of Hull constables.