By James Niedzinski
---- — ESSEX — Town officials began preparing for a public forum about what to do with the northern sections of Conomo Point last night.
The sale of lots on the southern half is nearly complete, as Town Administrator Brendhan Zubricki said 34 of the 39 purchases and sale agreements have already been approved. Three other agreements should come before selectmen by the end of the year, he said last week.
Town officials are now beginning to aim their sights on plans for the northern part of the point. Last night, during a meeting of the Conomo Point Planning Committee, talks began with Brown Sardina, the Boston-based urban and architectural design firm hired to come up with proposals for the site.
Committee Chairman Mark Lynch said last night’s meeting was to determine what will be discussed during a public forum on Conomo Point scheduled for 7 p.m. Dec. 6 in the Essex Elementary School cafeteria.
“A big part of this is community input,” he said.
Lynch cited the 99 percent voter turnout during the elections earlier this month, and added he hopes residents get just as involved in plans for Conomo Point, which can be an “emotionally charged issue” for some people.
James Heroux, Brown Sardina’s principal landscape architect, added the meeting was and the public forum will be community-based and community-oriented.
“A lot of this is getting people to the same point, how to proceed with certain goals,” he said Thursday afternoon. “We want to acknowledge to goals of the town residents and Conomo Point residents.”
Lynch said Brown Sardina has not presented any proposals yet, but is required to do so by February.
Heroux said Brown Sardina won the contract to survey the site last month. And Zubricki confirmed Brown Sardina was hired for $50,000 for consultation and proposals.
Heroux has had experience with small, historic towns such as Essex in the past.
In the request for design and proposal services, Heroux wrote to Zubricki and selectmen that he was hired by the town of Port Royal, S.C., for a similar project.
Heroux led a design team in Port Royal charged with developing a community on town land that, if used for residential and retail use, would expand the town tax base.
While Lynch said nothing proposed by Brown Sardina would be final, the committee is hoping for a great turnout of public input at the Dec. 6 forum.
“We’ve been posting on Facebook pages, having signs up near Town Hall and doing reverse 911 text alerts,” he said. “We want everyone involved.”
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.