Selectmen vote to rescind Tabor permit

By Matt Camara | Sep 09, 2011
Photo by: Matt Camara

Marion — The Marion Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to rescind Tabor's street opening permit at the request of the Marion Board of Health on Friday at an emergency meeting.

Health Director Karen Walega said that Tabor Academy had never provided the drainage calculations for the new drainage system that was installed at the newly constructed artificial turf fields at Hoyt Field. Because the calculations were never provided, the Board of Health now is unsure of whether the drainage could prove a health hazard to the town.

Tabor has the street opening permit to install a new drain pipe for the renovated athletic fields.

The effluent that runs off from the fields drains directly into Sippican Harbor.

The Board of Health has not conducted any recent tests of the runoff to determine what it is composed of or if it is hazardous. They, along with the town counsel, have requested the plans numerous times and have been turned down by Tabor, who responded, according to Town Counsel John Whitten, that until there is a settlement regarding the larger issues surrounding the field, the plans will not be provided.

Currently, Tabor Academy and the town have locked horns over Tabor's plan to construct 90-foot stadium lights on the field property. A recent Zoning Board of Appeals upheld the building commissioners decision to deny building permits for the lighting.

Selectmen Roger Blanchette noted that the fields were grass prior to this summer's renovation and that the fields are likely discharging more water now due to the inability of the synthetic turf and compacted crumb rubber and soil underneath to absorb the run off.

"It's all compacted stuff, so it doesn't absorb the water like the grass did," said Blanchette. "The question is what did they put in for filtration?"

Selectman Steven Cushing noted that the additional runoff is a significant change to the amount of water that was previously discharged into the harbor.

"It's safe to say they've added to it," Cushing said.

Blanchette said that with the use of crumb rubber to construct the fields, it was imperative that the town know what was in the runoff. There is contention among scientists and governmental agencies about whether or not crumb rubber can prove hazardous to human health.

"We need to know what they're sending into the harbor with the crumb rubber," said Blanchette.

The Selectmen voted unanimously to rescind Tabor's street opening permit until the academy provides the board with the drainage plans and calculations and the plans are approved by the Board of Health.

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