Pier May Be High And Dry At Low Tide

A re-evaluation of the costs associated with building a pier into Aucoot Cove sent engineer David Davignon back to the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission on April 10 to request an amended Order of Conditions for a Notice of Intent filing by Jay Duker, 112 Aucoot Road.

The new request sought to decrease the length of the pier by 50 feet, bringing it down to 131 feet projecting into the cove. But the request also gave abutters Brad Hathaway and his daughter Jane an opportunity to re-open questions and concerns they have on the pier’s impact on what they believe is an emerging barrier beach.

For nearly an hour, the merits of the project were debated. The Hathaways contend that a beach nourishment project that was permitted in 2015 has caused beach sands to migrate over marshlands. They also said that the new plan positions the pier directly into wave action and gale force winds commonly generated from the south pushing into the cove.

Another abutter Richard Cederberg, 108 Aucoot Road, echoed those sentiments, adding that at low tide the pier and associated float would be high and dry, inaccessible to watercraft unable to maneuver in just a few inches of water. “At least eight times a month that float is going to be up in the air.”

Davignon conceded that the project had its problems, but that the Dukers had already received an Order of Conditions from the commission and this was merely a decrease in the length of the pier and nothing more.

Hathaway pressed on attempting to impress upon the commissioners the importance of another eel grass study to ensure the area in question was appropriate for a pier as well as tossing in the need of looking at FEMA guidelines and exactly how the pier and float would be secured.

In the end, Chairman Bob Rogers agreed that a new eel grass study or update was needed and that the commissioners should make a site visit to more fully understand the impact of the project on the wetlands. The application to amend the existing Order of Conditions was continued until April 24.

Reservation Golf Club, represented by Jeff Youngquist of Outback Engineering, came before the commissioners requesting an Order of Conditions for a NOI filing for the repair of existing cart paths and a culvert.

Abutter Mary Kelleher, 4 Reservation Road, asked that the application not be heard because she had not received an abutter notification, thus inhibiting her right to study the request in advance of the hearing.

After reviewing the list prepared by the Assessors’ Office, she was advised that her property had not been identified as an abutter. Rogers said, “Well, you are here now.” He told Kelleher that she would have an opportunity to ask questions.

The hearing quickly hit a snag as Youngquist pointed out the numerous jurisdictional areas in question. He said that the plan was to simply repair some existing cart paths and add two 18-inch pipes in a culvert for better drainage in and out of the marshlands.

But Rogers suggested the applicant consider a timber bridge over the culvert rather than adding pipes as a way to better manage the ebb and flow of tides.

Youngquist also told the commission that the club would be seeking a Chapter 91 license from the DEP, but given the backlog of cases, thought it would be many months before that application would be reviewed.

While the general consensus of the commission was in favor of a timber bridge and cart path repairs, the project was continued for two weeks to give the board and the applicant time to fine-tune the NOI filing.

Davignon returned to the conference room representing Brian Andrade who requested an extension of an existing permit to perform beach nourishment at 70 Aucoot Road. The request was granted.

Also coming before the commission was Ken Fortier of Civil Engineering Concepts representing Kristin Demong, 6 Cecelia Avenue, for the installation of a new septic system that would feature a “tight-tank” design.

Fortier described the difficulties of the site given its proximity to the harbor and landside wetland features. He assured the commissioners that the tank would be secured with concrete for ballast to keep it in place during a storm event. The NOI filing was conditioned.

Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold reported that a site visit to Brandt Point Village, a sub-division off Brandt Island Road, found the site lacking in cleanup. She also said that a turtle barrier was in poor condition and needed repair. Leidhold said she had been in contact with Al Loomis, McKenzie Engineering, who assured her the repairs and cleanup would be completed within two weeks.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for April 24 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

By Marilou Newell


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