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The Conservation Commission denies Noyes request

June 10, 2011

Conservation Commission meeting about Gerry Island in Abbot Hall. Photo by Katie Freedman

by Katie Freedman

Walter Haug, chairman of the Conservation Commission, rocked a packed Abbot Hall last night to the delight of many at the Conservation Commission meeting.

It was clear that a majority of those in attendance were waiting for answers regarding the recent activity on Gerry Island. The eruption of applause and even a raucous “whoop” followed the decision to deny the seemingly insubordinate Peter Noyes’ project application.

The Town of Marblehead has been buzzing about the potential renovation of Gerry Island along with the appearance of the large, unsightly truck driven out through its beloved ocean to the quaint uninhabited island. Chairman Haug cited 310 CMR: Department of Environmental Protection of Massachusetts and denied the application for the sea wall reconstruction. In reference to the access for the right of way, Haug iterated, “[The area] is under the jurisdiction of the wetlands protection act and requires the filing of a notice of intent for any proposed activities, since the entire island is a resource area, all and any work proposed on it, must be permitted by this Commission. The applicant has not submitted the final plan with details on how the island will be adapted to promote his operations.” The Commission then voted to deny the application.

Peter Noyes’ engineer, Peter Ogren, had Mr. Haug up in arms when he insinuated that the Conservation Commission had predetermined to deny the project. Mr. Haug adamantly discredited the claim and eventually Mr. Ogren clarified, “We did not expect this to be denied tonight.”

Peter Noyes, who sat with his back to the crowd, spoke in low hard-to-hear tone, and evaded the microphone. He was given a culmination of fines totaling $900.00 for his infractions. One resident pushed to increase the fine due to Noyes’ lack of compliance with removing the truck from the island in a timely fashion. The man asked the commission to consider that the violation was ignored from May 31 to June 6, and broached the issue of floats that are still out at the island. The commissioner reassured that they will monitor the situation regarding the floats.

The feeling of the Town’s people who came to Abbot Hall last night was reminiscent of a family gathered to protect their own, in this case, the Town of Marblehead, and that included the wetlands of the privately-owned Gerry Island.

The discussion between Mr. Haug and Mr. Ogden became heated at times (almost like a father and a wayward son). However, the mission seemed straight forward, protect and preserve the beautiful shores and wetlands of Marblehead.

Abbot Hall is brimming with history of Marbleheaders rising to the occasion. This is not the first time the Town’s people have rallied to protect this beautiful place. And it won’t be the last. (to be continued…)


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