McLaughlin pier hearing continued

Written by Gillian Smith
 | Wednesday, 14 May 2014 13:39

A Conservation Commission hearing regarding what has become known as “the McLaughlin Pier” was again continued, until the beginning of June, as the presentation on the current application lasted more than two hours during last week’s meeting.


The application concerns the former Drew House, which was previously the property of the Duxbury Rural and Historical Society. The applicant proposes a three-foot by 198-foot pier to be installed on the marsh near the Bluefish River.

The Commission heard a presentation from Paul Driscoll, John McLaughlin’s attorney, who walked the commission through the plans for the slightly redesigned proposed pier, gangway and float. The original design included an eight-foot by 20-foot float with float stops. The second one, presented at last week’s meeting, has the same size float but also has skids and legs.

Messina allowed Driscoll to present the proposed design without public comment, to allow members of the Commission the opportunity to ask questions about the application without interruption.

“We need to make sure we have heard the presentation by the applicant and have a full opportunity for the Commissioners to ask questions and to ask for more information,” he said. “This is probably not the last hearing, so there will be other hearings where there will be more opportunity for public comment.”

The main concern for the Conservation Commission is whether the proposed pier will have an adverse effect on the marsh and resource area upon which it will be built.

Bob Gray, of Sabatia, Inc., discussed the resource area and the Bluefish River that is in question. He gave an overview of the wetland resource areas that are depicted on the revised plans that are dated March 28.

Joe Grady, Conservation Administrator, asked Gray to clarify what the conservation areas are and where they are in relation to the proposed proj- ect. One point of confusion was a dotted line of the plans that represented the edge of the vegetated salt marsh and distinguished that area from the unvegetated salt marsh.

“We will be discussing this quite a bit,” Grady said. “We will need to hear from you where you believe the demarcation is between the salt marsh, which includes the tidal creek, and the salt flat.”

Much of the presentation was in response to a consultation conducted by the Horsley-Witten Group, which requested more information in February of this year regarding the impact of the project on the marsh and resource area.

Paul Brogna, of Seacoast Engineering, walked through the permitting process for the pier both within the commonwealth and with the federal government He provided several images of projects around town that his company has been involved with from both a permitting and construction standpoint.

The Commissioners asked for clarification on the sites for the examples that Brogna presented, because they said they did not believe the resource areas were similar to the one in question for the McLaughlin pier.

After some deliberation, the Commission decided to continue the hearing until the June 3 meeting at 7 p.m.