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Conservation Committee review of potential Shore Acres greenbelt sites extended to June 30

The Conservation Committee will have another few months to complete a study on potential greenbelt uses for Surf Side Avenue, Atlantic Place and Lighthouse Point Road, all "paper" streets in the Shore Acres subdivision.

The streets were among 32 paper streets in which the Town Council voted to extend the town's rights to accept as public ways. Most were approved without controversy, but the Shore Acres streets were extended by a separate vote, with the caveat that the Conservation Committee would review their potential as greenbelt trail locations. Surf Side Avenue and Atlantic Place are identified in the 2013 Greenbelt Plan as potential trail areas.

The committee was given six months to complete the review, but councilors on April 10, 2017 voted to move the deadline to June 30. "The Conservation Committee immediately began to work on the referral, however, the winter holidays and snow accumulation delayed some of the work needed," according to a memo from the committee.

In addition, much of the vegetation that identifies wetland has yet to come up, Town Manager Matthew Sturgis told councilors.

The council voted unanimously to extend the deadline, but is unlikely to review the report until September. "The first draft will probably not be the final draft," Sturgis said. "We'd look at trying to put this on the September agenda so you don't run in to jam ups with council members' plans in the summer time, as well as the neighborhoods who are affected by this," he said.

The committee, with the help of the town engineer, was charged with developing a "thorough assessment of the technical and logistical feasibility, along with all other practical considerations, to determine a complete costĀ­benefit analysis of any potential trail development."

Spurwink School Committee

In other matters, Council Chair Jamie Garvin announced that the Spurwink School Committee, charged with developing a recommendation for the use of the former schoolhouse and library building, would soon reconvene to finish its work. "We met regularly and extensively through the better part of last year, and then effectively the work we were doing kind of stagnated and came to a bit of a halt," said Garvin, who also chairs the committee. Competing time commitments for members and staff also pushed work to the back burner, he said.

"It certainly is my intent and also my responsibility to ensure that it does get finished up, so we will be reconvening that group so that we can complete the work that we were charged with, which was to make a recommendation to the council and then have the council consider what to do from that point forward," Garvin said.