Opinion: Town should form steering committee for village roadway project

Mar 4, 2024

To the editor:

A sincere “Thanks for Coming” to the Feb. 28 Mattapoisett Tree Committee meeting last week! We estimate around 200 people attended between an overcapacity Fire Station meeting room, a spillover at capacity in Town Hall on Zoom, and 70 connecting from their own homes via Zoom on a night of terrible weather! This demonstrates the interest of our citizens in the current state of the proposed road project and the Tree Committee and other committed citizens were pleased to present a project specific meeting on this topic to all.

The question I have been asked since last week's meeting is, “What can we do to help?” and I will recap this.

We concluded that the road project is needed. We discussed that rules had changed since the project began, decreasing our town’s abilities to use ‘exceptions’ to DOT standards to protect trees and maintain the village character. This in turn, means the project complexity has increased significantly from when the Select Board and previous Town Administrator began working on the project, and therefore, we concluded that the formation of a steering committee for this project would be a wise move for our town to take. The Tree Committee should have a seat on this committee. It will be this steering committee that will take up the important issues that we talked about in the meeting; issues that influence the outcome of a final plan which will deliver the things that we want: walkable sidewalks, traffic calming, climate resiliency, and shade and beauty provided by trees. We urge the Select Board to address this request as the project moves forward. Your letters to the Select Board will make a difference and ensure that they learn that this is of town-wide importance.

Our Facebook page, Friends of Mattapoisett Trees, will remain open for your comments and concerns as well as the Mattapoisett Tree Committee’s Facebook page, and the Tree Committee’s email, mattapoisetttreecom@gmail.com. Thank you also to our neighbors at the Bay Club who provided additional chairs for our Fire Station meeting room attendance.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world,” Margaret Mead.

Sandra Hering
Chair, Mattapoisett Tree Committee