And, at the meeting, to be held at Polson Middle School on Green Hill Road at 7:30 p.m., they will be able to hear about a new proposal involving the town and Madison Beach Hotel. The plan is called the West Wharf Beach Park Enhancement Plan.
The basics of the plan were discussed at the Board of Selectmen meeting Monday night at town campus.
As part of this proposed deal, the third to be considered between the town and the hotel in the past few years:
- the town will get 3,007 square feet of beach property, including 80 feet of beachfront
- the town will get $100,000 from Madison Beach Hotel to use to improve the parking area
- the parking area will be expanded by 19 spaces, to 49 spaces
- permeable pavers will be installed in the parking area, which will reduce storm water drainage onto the beach, drainage that has caused problems with shellfishing and damage to the beach
- Madison Hose Co. No. 1 will get a dedicated parking area for their vehicles, so that they can more easily access their rescue boat, which launches from a mooring off of the beach
- Madison Beach Hotel will get 3,824 square feet of a grassy area in front of the hotel, known as the grassy strip
- the town will get a five-foot buffer between the grassy strip and the dunes in that area, so that people will be able to walk along the dunes and easily access the beach
- the town will retain the beach in front of the dunes
Requisite hearings and approvals required before deal is formalized
At the Annual Town Meeting on Tuesday, the basic details of the proposal will be discussed, but First Selectman Fillmore McPherson said that any such deal would have to go through the requisite hearings and approvals before it is formalized. He said the proposal is still in the initial stages.
McPherson said during the meeting that, during the initial proposal involving Madison Beach Hotel and the town about five years ago, the voters spoke out loud and clear. He said the message the town received was that the town should not give up the beach in front of the dunes, which was then part of the property that would have gone to the hotel.
"That was the takeaway five years ago, the town did not want to give up the beachfront piece" of property, he said.
"We put our foot down, no beach"
He said the town has been negotiating on and off with the hotel and "we put our foot down, no beach."
If the proposal goes through, the parking area will extend from Parker Avenue "headed south," McPherson said. "And there will be a dedicated spot for Madison Hose Company to launch their boat, so that they don't have to maneuver around to park. And none of this will cost the town money, because Madison Beach Hotel will provide $100,000 to make improvements."
"And Madison Beach Hotel will get 3,824 square feet of grass," McPherson said. "There will still be a five-foot pathway along the dunes so that people can make their way down to the beach no matter what."
Selectmen voice approval, confirm that proposal is "still in creative stage"
Selectman Joan Walker said she thinks the new proposal "shows an equitable distribution." She said the new proposal was a "very positive" development.
Selectman Robert Hale said, "clearly the town heard the message, no beachfront" should be given away by the town as part of the deal.
Selectman Al Goldberg said he just wanted to confirm that the proposal is "just conceptual at the moment. This is still in the creative stage?" he asked.
"Yes, this is just the guts of the proposal," McPherson said. "There are still many hoops to jump through."