Planning Board Member Charges Collusion

After next month’s town election, local developer Vincent P. Machienzi will become a member of the Bourne Planning Board. Mr. Machienzi and local contractor Joseph A. Agrillo Jr. are running in an uncontested race for two available seats on the planning board. Last Thursday night, current board member Elmer I. Clegg set the stage for both an icy and a heated tenure for Mr. Machienzi.

Mr. Clegg accused current members of the planning board of collusion with Mr. Machienzi on projects the developer has brought before planners. He brought into question the integrity and leadership of planning board chairman Christopher J. Farrell, twice suggesting that Mr. Farrell had been nonchalant when it came to matters brought before the board involving Mr. Machienzi.

“I take issue with the lack of diligence that has been applied to the plans of this developer for as long as I have been in acquaintance with the goings on of this town,” Mr. Clegg said.

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The charge came during the board’s discussion of Mr. Machienzi’s request for a special permit to install a drive-through window for a pharmacy at the medical-retail building he owns on Trowbridge Road at Trading Post Corners.

The building was part of a contentious Zoning Board of Appeals hearing in January when Mr. Machienzi requested a permit to construct a parking lot on his property across the street at 9 Sandwich Road. The parking lot would serve customers of 1 Trowbridge Road, and members of the Bourne Board of Selectmen took issue with a parking lot for a business being located in a residential zone. Selectmen appealed the decisions of the planning board and building inspector Roger M. Laporte in granting the permit. Following a nearly three-hour hearing, the board of appeals upheld the issuance of the permit.

Last Thursday night, Mr. Clegg raised a number of objections with regard to Mr. Machienzi’s latest request. His objections ranged from a lack of specification to the height of a retaining wall shoring up a slope at the 1 Trowbridge parking lot; a crosswalk leading from the new lot at 9 Sandwich Road that would empty onto the parking lot at 1 Trowbridge Road and not a sidewalk; and the number and location of parking spaces in the lot. The first of several heated exchanges broke out when Mr. Farrell said that statements he made in January about the town’s bylaw relative to the distance the 9 Sandwich Road parking lot had to be from the 1 Trowbridge Road building were misrepresented by Mr. Clegg. The chairman interrupted Mr. Clegg in mid-statement.

“May I finish?” Mr. Clegg asked.

“No you may not because I’m going to explain to you what I said,” Mr. Farrell said.

“I think you’re out of order, I haven’t finished,” Mr. Clegg replied.

“Well, I’m the chairman and you’re not. You’re out of order right now,” Mr. Farrell answered.

When Mr. Clegg was allowed to continue, he suggested that the queue of cars at the proposed window would lead to traffic being backed up onto Trowbridge Road. He pointed out that town bylaw calls for drive-through window queueing to be comparable to similar businesses in town. The only other pharmacy in town is CVS in Buzzards Bay, which has two windows and queueing for seven cars, he said.

“There is no drive-through window in this town, or any other town that I have visited which is approved on the basis of only a car being served and a queue of one additional,” he said.

Board members took exception to Mr. Clegg’s criticism. Douglas A. Shearer took issue with Mr. Clegg’s comment that the crosswalk running into the parking lot posed a safety risk for patrons. Mr. Shearer recalled that Mr. Clegg recently approved an ice cream store that had a similar crosswalk emptying into a parking lot. 

“I would like to know why you can approve one plan one week and rip another one completely apart, which really seems to me to be your own personal agenda. You are completely out of line on this,” Mr. Shearer said.

Some of the most heated exchanges came between Mr. Clegg and member John P. Howarth. Mr. Howarth and fellow member Daniel L. Doucette were responsible for reviewing the plan for the drive-through window and presenting their review to the board. Mr. Howarth told the board that when researching the project, he visited the CVS in Buzzards Bay and never saw more than one car at a time being served at the drive-through window.

After an hour of debate, a motion was made to approve Mr. Machienzi’s request for a special permit and seconded. Mr. Clegg then accused anyone voting in favor of being “arbitrary and capricious.”

“You are neglecting the safety of the people of this town who are going to make use of this facility,” he said.

He added that he did not believe that Mr. Howarth did “due diligence that I would find on a professional level.”

“You know, Mr. Clegg, I really don’t care what you believe. I believe you’re playing to the camera,” Mr. Howarth said, referring to the community television camera filming the meeting. “Go ahead, have a good time because I couldn’t care less,” Mr. Howarth said.

“I think you were elected to care,” Mr. Clegg replied.

The motion was approved 6-2 with Mr. Clegg and Dudley M. Jensen the two negative votes.

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