Nahant shows up and speaks out

April 30, 2017

By LEAH DEARBORN

NAHANT – It was a busy day for voters in Nahant on Saturday, with residents turning out to speak their minds at a lengthy town meeting and to cast ballots for several board positions.

An article regarding the parcel of land known as the Coast Guard Housing project was one of the more contentious issues raised at the meeting. The article, which called for the creation of a plan of action for the property, passed after significant discussion and more than a half-dozen amendments to its language.

Its passage will result in the formation of a committee to oversee the process of determining the 4-acre parcel’s future. The new committee will include members of the finance committee, planning board, zoning board of appeals, and an abutters list.  

Nahant purchased the property at the corner of Castle and Gardner roads in 2004 from the U.S. government for $2.1 million. The 12 existing homes date back to World War II when they were used to house soldiers who worked at a nearby bunker. Today they are leased to tenants.

Several current tenants took the podium to ask how the article would impact their living situation. They were reassured that its passage would not immediately determine anything along those lines.  

“This is just to get a committee going to find a solution to a liability,” said selectman Francis “Enzo” Barile about the property. “The plan right now is nothing.”

Three recent town sewer pipeline breaks were addressed at the meeting, including one on the Lynnway that held up traffic earlier in the week near the Clock Tower Business Center. It serves as the only line from Nahant to Lynn Regional Wastewater Treatment Plant, and Nahant is expected to foot the bill for its repair, said Barile.

Barile said the full cost of the most recent break on the Lynnway is still being tallied, but he estimated it to be upwards of $500,000. No action was taken on the breaks at the meeting, but Richard Lombard, chair of the selectmen, said the topic might come up again at a Special Town Meeting in the fall.

“We’ll keep you informed,” said Lombard, who added that the town will be reaching out to the offices Sen. Thomas McGee and state Rep. Brendan Crighton for possible help from the state.

When the ballots were tallied at the end of the day, Lombard managed to hold onto his seat as a selectman incumbent, achieving victory in a 479-260 vote against 31-year-old competitor Stephen Viviano.

Viviano called the race a good experience, and acknowledged that it might not be his last.

“Life permitting, I would do it again,” said Viviano after the votes were tallied.