But before the MASS DOT will even consider a proposal on land it owns, the question of liability must be resolved. Blackwood argued that the town would be assuming no more liability than it does for other recreation spots — such as the ball fields.
But the town leaders weren’t buying it. Selectman Chuck Bear said it sounded “very convoluted” for Newbury to accept liability for activities taking place on land it doesn’t own and can’t legally send one of its police officer onto in an emergency.
“Don’t get me wrong — it’s a great idea — but I have a problem with that,” he said.
“If it’s using state land, then the state has to assume the responsibility,” agreed Selectman Michael Bulgaris.
Also during the meeting, the board agreed to begin offering veteran’s services through the Eastern Essex District. The vote was 2 to 1, with Selectman David Mountain voting no because he felt the board hadn’t been given enough time to make an informed decision. Selectmen Joe Story and Geoff Walker were not present at Tuesday’s meeting.
The board rejected a request by George Russell for $282.50 to reimburse him for fees he spent to file a Notice of Intent with the Conservation Commission for a dock that he never wound up installing. Conservation Agent Doug Packer noted that the commission spent “considerable time” reviewing Russell’s application, holding hearings and performing a site visit. Mountain said the reimbursement would set a bad precedent.
Town Administrator Tracy Blais reviewed with the board a draft of a warrant for the Special Town Meeting on Oct. 22; selectmen thanked Kathleen Pearson for her presentation of in-depth analysis she conducted on water resources in the business and light industrial district as part of a graduate degree project; and the board approved three one-day liquor licenses for events at the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm in October.