Essex Town Administrator’s Report


Board of Selectmen’s Meeting of April 11, 2022

Report covers from March 26, 2022 to April 8, 2022

Chebacco Lake Coalition Meeting Summary

The TA attended the subject meeting along with Selectman Phippen on April 8, 2022.  The Coalition is in the process of working with an engineering firm (Interfluve) to develop recommendations for the future permitting and implementation of the Alewife Brook stream channel cleanout in the upper reaches of the Brook (about 1,000 feet from the lake to Pond Street).  The work is being paid for partially with Town funds and partially with funding that Senator Tarr (who coordinates the Coalition) was able to provide via the State earmark process.  Presently, Interfluve has deployed water level loggers in the stream to understand the stream’s relationship to lake level under different rainfall scenarios.  Interfluve is also studying the relationship between the Town of Essex public water supply wells and the surrounding watershed (since any future cleanout of the stream channel could have an effect on the wells).

Draft Annual Town Meeting Motions

The TA has developed draft Annual Town Meeting motions for the Board’s review.

Annual Town Meeting Booklet

The Town Accountant and Mr. Zubricki finalized the Town Meeting booklet which contains the Annual Town Meeting warrant, the Finance Committee Report, the Personnel Board Report, and other resources during the week of April 4, 2022.  The booklet is presently out for printing but a digital version is already available at the Town Website.

Interim Compliance with MBTA Communities Zoning Compliance

As the Board may recall, Mr. Zubricki provided a summary of new draft guidelines that were authorized by a new Section 3A in the State Zoning Act during the second public forum with respect to the overall review of Essex zoning on March 23, 2022.  After personnel from the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) provided the minutes of that forum, the TA attached both the agenda and the minutes to an on-line form that has been required by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD).  In addition to documenting the presentation, the form asked various questions about the present makeup of the Town’s zoning and inquired as to the types of resources Essex might need in the future in order to achieve full compliance with the law.  The form was reviewed by MAPC staff and the TA submitted it to DHCD on April 6, 2022 (well in advance of the May 2, 2022 deadline).  Full compliance will be necessary in the future in order for the Town to remain eligible for several major State grant programs and the draft guidelines will hopefully be modified to provide more flexibility for compliance.  Essex joined other local communities recently to voice a variety of concerns with the draft guidelines during the public comment period, which ended March 31, 2022.

Quarterly Review of Executive Session Minutes

The Chairman has reviewed the Board’s unreleased executive session minutes as is the case each quarter.  No minutes were found to be suitable for release.

Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Grant Application

As the Board is aware, we have been steadily working to study and design improvements to an Apple Street stream crossing and the elevation of the Apple Street roadbed on the Southern Avenue end of Apple Street.  To date, the Town has received three grants for this purpose and we are ready to move into the final design and permitting phase.  As such, the TA is presently developing an application to the subject grant program that will fund all remaining work to bring the project through permitting – shovel-ready status.  The hope is to then apply for a combination of State and Federal funding to actually have the project constructed.

Town Administrator Leave

The TA was out of the office, on leave, for a portion of each day on March 31 and April 5, 2022 and all day on April 1, 2022.

This report is available at on the morning after any regularly scheduled Essex Board of Selectmen’s Meeting.