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Find out what's happening in the blog. Below is a list of blog items.

Jul 12

BOS Weekly Updates - July 10, 2020

Posted to Board of Selectmen Weekly Update by Tiffany Marletta

BOS Updates – July 10, 2020.  

Town Hall is now open to the public. Hours are Monday-Wednesday 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday 8:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. and Friday closed.

1st Quarter Tax Bill: First quarter real estate and personal property tax bills were distributed on July 1. If you have not received your bill please contact the Tax Office at 978-526-2000. Due date is August 3, 2020.

Water and Sewer Update: New water and sewer rates were approved at the Selectmen meeting on July 6, 2020. Sewer rates will increase 0.5% and water rates will increase 1.75% based on the new budgets voters approved at the Annual Town Meeting. 

Summer 2020 Music in the Park: A COVID modified Music in the Park has begun. Concert attendees are asked to pre-register at www.mbtsrec.com and sit in designated spaces.

Unclaimed Funds: Pursuant to Mass General Law 200A, Jennifer Yaskell, Treasurer for the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, hereby serves notices of names of persons or vendors appearing to be owners of funds held by the Town of Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA and deemed abandoned. Please visit Manchester.ma.us to see the list and make a claim.

Phase 3 of MBTS Parks and Beaches: MBTS Beaches are open 7 days a week to residents only. Staffed from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. by Parks and Recreation and/or Manchester Police Department. Walk-on passes must be visible on every resident between 12 and 65 years old for admittance. A face covering is required when entering and exiting the beach ramp. Parking lot is open to residents only with 2020 Beach Stickers. Please see the Town website to read the complete rules and guidelines.

Town Hall Payment Drop Box: Installed at the rear of Town Hall by the Police Station Blue Door and monitored by a security camera. Please use this convenient box to drop payments off for any Town Bills. Please No Cash!

Trash, Recycling, Compost: Regular collection schedule.

Follow Us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @townofmbts and visit the Town website www.Manchester.ma.us to stay informed.



Jul 12

From the Town Administrator's Desk - July 10, 2020

Posted to From the Town Administrator's Desk by Tiffany Marletta

Supporting our Local Businesses
By Gregory T. Federspiel

There are many impacts of the pandemic.   Our local businesses have suffered a body blow as they were forced to close for the spring.  While they are now allowed to open, making up for the lost income is a tall order.  All of us can help by refocusing many of our purchases locally.

The Town researched options for providing financial assistance to local businesses.  Larger communities have Community Development Block Grants that come from the federal government that can be used to assist local businesses, but Manchester is not eligible for these funds.  There are competitive grants that become available, but we struggle to score very high on these given our socio-economic composition.  State law prohibits use of local tax dollars in direct aid to local entities.

We have turned to other means of assisting our local businesses.  One small measure has been to maintain information about business operations during the pandemic on the Town website.  A more visible effort has been allowing the use of on-street parking spaces for outdoor dining.  We quickly mobilized to provide this once the state allowed such temporary use, using what materials we had on hand (the concrete jersey barriers.) 

Utilizing the parking spaces for local restaurants means less available on-street parking for the customers of retailers in Town.  To help offset the impact of this, the Town is creating more non-resident parking with 3-hour limits at Masconomo park.  We are also promoting the use of the large parking area behind Town Hall, a short walk to local shops.  We will be marking the on-street parking stalls where space for two cars is provided to help ensure someone does not park in the middle of the two spaces. 

Additionally, we are investigating the use of portable barriers for denoting the on-street dining locations allowing there to be parking in these spots when the restaurants are not serving customers. We need to be mindful of the trade-off between barriers that offer a high degree of protection verses portability.  It is not practical to be moving the jersey barriers with heavy equipment daily.

Currently 7 parking spots have been converted to outdoor dining areas.  Could each restaurant get by with using just one spot now that they are allowed to have limited indoor dining?  Retailers would prefer this, but restaurant owners know that many patrons prefer being outdoors while the virus threat still exists.  Finding the right balance here remains a challenge and requires continued creative thinking.

At this past Monday’s Selectmen meeting (7/6/20) Cape Ann Chamber Director Ken Riehl provided an update on the plans for a modified Festival by the Sea this year.  The hope is a scaled back version of the Festival can take place at the end of August and this year there will be an extra emphasis on ways the Festival can support our local businesses.  An update on the planning for the Festival will be presented to the Selectmen at their August 3 meeting.  A final decision on the Festival taking place will be dependent on which phase of the COVID Re-opening plan the state has authorized. 

The Selectmen are committed to assisting all businesses in town as best they can.  We are in unchartered waters as we all try to develop reasonable responses to the challenges the pandemic has created.  Some of our responses will be better than others, but with experimentation and adaptation, we certainly aim to eventually get things right.  The Board will continue to explore what fine-tuning we can do regarding parking and business promotion.  They plan on holding a special meeting the week of the 13th to discuss implementing further efforts.  Your ideas and input are welcome.






Jun 17

MPC Update - June 2019

Posted to Manchester Master Plan News by Christina St. Pierre

Master Plan Update , June 2019

Manchester’s master planning efforts have spanned four years culminating in Planning Board approval of the Plan as submitted by the Master Plan Committee with minor text and organizational edits.  Since that approval in February, a Planning Board Subcommittee has been working with the Town Planner to finalize the Plan’s text and will next work on formatting the Plan for publication and developing a Master Plan Summary to be widely distributed. 

As the Plan is being finalized, implementation of the Plan’s recommendations have begun with several important initiatives.

  • The Planning Board has secured the services of land use attorney Mark Bobrowski to work with the Planning and Zoning Boards, the Zoning Enforcement Officer and others to re-codify and update the Town’s Zoning Bylaw to guide change in line with the Town’s Vision. For more information see (http://manchester.ma.us/703/Zoning-Recodification)
  • Representatives of various municipal boards and committees are meeting to discuss the potential for Smart Growth Overlay Districts in town as a tool to support a greater diversity of housing options.
  • The Town has applied for technical assistance and/or funding for a Parking Study, a Limited Commercial Strategic Plan and a Downtown Strategic Plan which can be accessed on the Town’s Website: https://www.manchester.ma.us/702/Grant-Applications-Awards
  • The Town is working with a consultant to study and identify opportunities for shared services with the Town of Essex.  The report is expected to be finalized by July.
  • The Town is working with MassHousing Partnership to assess the feasibility of a mix of market rate and affordable housing on the current DPW site. 
  • The Town is evaluating opportunities for a Harbor Master’s Office and Public Restrooms at Reed Park and Masconomo Park.


As part of the implementation process, the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board will be developing a communications strategy for updating residents on initiatives on a regular basis.  The goal is to provide a comprehensive list of the Plan’s Recommendations with a continually updated status.