Onset Water Commissioners question rezoning proposal

Mar 30, 2021

The Onset Water Commissioners have not yet taken an official stance on the proposed “Hospitality, Recreation and Entertainment District” proposed for land near their wellfields. But they have serious concerns, and say they haven’t been included in discussions held by town boards with the developers behind the proposal.

Chairman Kenny Fontes and Commissioners Frank Kowzic and David Halberstadt all said that they would not be in favor of any project that could threaten the wellfield. The commissioners discussed their thoughts and concerns about the proposal with Wareham Week.

Both Onset and Wareham Water Districts are supplied by the same aquifer, which is in part located underneath the area set to be rezoned north of Rte. 25 and south of Glen Charlie Road.

Halberstadt said that when he started researching the location that the Notos Group hopes to develop within the rezoned district, he was surprised by how close the land was to Onset’s wells.

“A good baseball player could probably throw a baseball from the property to the wellfields. That's fairly troubling,” Halberstadt said. “And I think it's important that there be some safeguards, because without that, we don't have water.”

Kowzic also expressed concern about potential contamination of the wellfield. 

“Once they get it in, you’re not gonna turn it back. And if something does happen, what are we gonna do? That’s the whole aquifer for the whole town,” Kowzic said. 

Fontes put it bluntly: “The commissioners are opposed to anything remotely close to something that would impact the Onset water.”

Fontes and Halberstadt said that they would need much more information before they could confidently be in favor of the proposal. 

Halberstadt said that he would be in favor of an effort to conserve the land, much of which he described as “pretty pristine.”

“Again, I’m not against development,” Halberstadt said. “I’m against development without a plan to really protect our water.”

Fontes, who said Onset has some of the best water in the state, said he is against “anything that could jeopardize our water safety.”

Kowzic, who lives near Glen Charlie Road, said that in addition to posing a potential threat to the water supply, the rezoning would not be a “good fix for the neighborhood.”