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City Council approves taking property to help preserve salt marsh area

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  The City Council approved spending $20,500 in Community Improvement Trust Fund money to take three privately owned vacant marsh parcels by eminent domain at its Monday night meeting.

  The parcels will help the city restore the salt marsh in the area between North Shore Road and Bay Road, according to City Solicitor Paul Capizzi. “The city seeks to restore the area to its natural condition by removing foreign materials and debris, and for the purpose of impeding the growth of phragmites, an invasive species, that contribute to clogged waterways and reduce the flooding area of the marsh,” said Capizzi.

  Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said the marsh land will help create a storage area for water that floods into the area. “We did a similar thing on Gladys Street about three years ago; we created a storage area for over two million gallons of stormwater,” said Powers. “I am 100 percent in favor of this … I think it’s a great motion and a great project, and I hope someday we can do more of the marshland like this.”

  Ward 1 Councillor Joanne McKenna asked if there would be contaminated water flowing through the parcels into the salt marsh.

  Councillor-at-Large George Rotondo said the marshland will help create a retention area similar to ones at Stony Brook or at the back of Rte. 1A North.

  “What happens now is going to continue to happen when the city purchases it,” said Councillor-at-Large Dan Rizzo. “I just think that now we will have more control and we will be able to go in and clear the obstructions of phragmites – if we have the money we want to put towards it. To me, it is a very small amount of money to maybe get some benefit from it if we can get that area for compensatory storage.”

  The largest of the three parcels at Bay Road and Bay Road Rear is 1.61 acres, while the two smaller parcels are 9,422 square feet and 455 square feet. The council voted unanimously to spend the money on the parcels.

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