Conservation Commission chairman resigns

Michael Noonan, the chairman of the Abington Conservation Commission, has resigned from the board.

Town Manager Scott Lambiase said Noonan notified him of his resignation late Wednesday night.

“Mike has been a member for quite some time and done a great job,” Lambiase said. “As a volunteer, he’s put in a lot of time and a lot of hours in this role, and the town should be appreciative of that.”

Noonan, who has been chairman for several years, was not able to be immediately reached for comment.

Lambiase said Noonan was a regular presence in Town Hall and the Town Manager’s Office discussing projects. Abington does not have a Conservation Agent so many of those administrative duties fall on the commission chairman, Lambiase said.

“It was a lot of work that someone is going to have to pick up, or we’re going to have to get a conservation agent,” he said.

Noonan is the fourth member to depart the Conservation Commission since August; however, he is the only one to leave on his own accord. Selectmen voted in August to remove members Jim Dombrowski, Karen Bowen, and Joanne Demack-Harding from the board following a controversial site visit. They reaffirmed their vote last month after town attorneys determined selectmen didn’t follow proper procedure the first time. A fourth member was originally suspended for 10 days, but selectmen later rescinded it – after she had already served the suspension.

During the initial hearing, Noonan actively advocated for selectmen to remove the three members, saying they refuse to follow commission protocols and procedures and “show a lack of respect.” Noonan had come under fire from Dombrowski, Harding, and Bowen at the previous meeting for allegedly not following wetland regulations and commission protocols while filling in some commercial land he owns on Hjelm Street.

Since that selectmen’s vote, Abington News has learned that two residents had come forward to file complaints with Lambiase and the Board of Selectmen against Noonan. Selectmen were originally scheduled to discuss the complaints during an executive session at their upcoming meeting.

Noonan received criticism this week for recent work involving a project on Brockton Avenue. Noonan, acting in his capacity as commission chairman, signed off on a building permit effectively stating there were no wetland issues on the site. However, he pivoted this week and issued an enforcement order after questions were raised about a possible stream along the property’s western edge, and multiple commission members asked for the project to come before the full board for a discussion.

Selectmen are expected to fill two of the existing seats on the Conservation Commission at their meeting Monday, Lambiase said. This newly opened seat will be publicly posted in the coming days, he said.

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