Posted June 27, 2019
WEYMOUTH — A project to manage invasive vegetation and restore the coastal bank along two beaches in North Weymouth wouldn’t start until the fall of 2020 at the earliest.
Residents who live near George Lane and Wessagusset beaches in North Weymouth attended a conservation commission meeting Tuesday night to hear about the restoration plans. The commission approved an order of conditions for the project.
Conservation agent Mary Ellen Schloss said the vegetation project is a “companion project” to a pedestrian walkway linking the two beaches, which the conversation commission already approved.
Planning Director Bob Luongo said the town would seek a state grant to partially cover the cost of the project, which wouldn’t start until the fall of 2020 at the earliest. Luongo said the town still needs several permits for the project.
Danielle Desilets of Kyle Zick Landscape Architecture said the project focuses restoring the coastal bank and beach stretching 2,000 linear feet along Wessagusset and George Lane beaches. She said the majority of the vegetation there is invasive.
She said the project will include removing debris and invasive species, as well as stairs and other structures that residents have placed on the coastal bank over the years that are harming the bank.
“We will remove any structures on the bank that are destabilizing it ... and that are in poor condition and doesn’t allow vegetation to grow,” she said.
Desilets said they will add species that are native to Massachusetts and will thrive in coastal conditions in order to stabilize the bank.
Resident Ken Scarry said he was told residents will be forced to remove their decks and stairs, which encroach on town land.
But Luongo said only stairs that are in poor condition will be removed. Any residents with stairs in good condition will need to pay an annual fee based on linear footage.
As for encroachments at the top of the embankment, Luongo said those in good condition can stay if they sign something acknowledging the encroachment.
“If they’ve destabilized the embankment, we’re going to ask them to remove materials,” Luongo said.
Luongo said several residents have restored vegetation on the coastal bank on their own, serving as “successful test runs” for the town’s project.
Resident Victor Pap questioned whether there is any concern about herbicides and the impact on air quality in the area. Desilets said the herbicides are administered through a drip system and not by air.
In February of 2017, the town received an $184,000 grant from the state’s Seaport Economic Council for the feasibility phase of the project, including design and permitting work. The grant is also funding a vegetation maintenance and management plan for the existing coastal bank between the two public beaches.
The idea of linking the two beaches goes back 30 years. Prepared in 1988, the town’s waterfront plan proposed adding a pedestrian boardwalk between Wessagusset, referred to as the “old beach,” and George Lane, known as the “new beach.” The two areas are separated by about 2,000 feet of coastline that is inaccessible at high tide and difficult to walk at low tide because of boulders, cobble and concrete debris in the intertidal area.
The project would also improve access from the overlook “shelf” at Wessagussett Road to the shoreline below, replace concrete stairs and address erosion on a section of the shore that backs up to Regatta Road.