Washburn Park To Be Renovated

The Marion Conservation Commission met on Wednesday night for their regular meeting, during which they had a generous nine public hearings.

                  The first hearing of the night was for A. Neil Pappalardo, of Moorings Road, regarding his Request for Determination of Applicability to resurface part of an existing paved private roadway.

                  “It’s about a two day job.  They’ll use machines to take away the existing asphalt off-site.  There’s no increase in impervious.  There’s a wetland system so we’ll put in erosion control for that area,” said engineer Bob Rogers, who represented Pappalardo at the meeting.

                  “It’ll be a heck of a lot better than what it is now,” said Commission member Steve Gonsalves.

                  The Commission voted in favor of the project as submitted.

                  Then the Commission held a hearing for the Town of Marion, regarding an RDA to restore and maintain woods roads and hiking trails, install picnic tables and benches at the skating pond at Washburn Park.

                  “There’s an old playground that’s back there, the trees have deteriorated.  It used to be years ago, when they had a caretaker there, it used to be well maintained.  It was used quite a bit.  Over the years, it’s just been neglected.  It’s unfortunate,” said Selectman Jonathan Dickerson, on behalf of the Town of Marion.

                  “I consider it to be a gem of the town, it just needs a lot of polish,” he said.

                  He added that security cameras will be installed in the area as well.

                  “It was always well-visited over the years.  Growing up, it was a very active, very busy place, loved and adored by many,” said Commission Chairman Sherman Briggs.

                  The Commission asked Dickerson to have the site marked and staked in preparation for a future site visit.

                  “I think this is one giant step in getting it back to where it needs to go,” said Briggs.

                  The Conservation Commission then voted to grant the request.

                  The Commission granted a continuance until the October 24 meeting so the site could be marked.

                  Next, the Conservation Commission had a hearing for Gale Runnells of 17 Reservation Way.  She has filed a Notice of Intent to construct a garage and breezeway to her home.  The hearing was continued from the September 26 meeting because at that time, the project did not have a DEP file number.

                  The Conservation Commission then voted in favor of the NOI.

                  The next hearing was for Louis Mendes of 81 Water Street, regarding his RDA to install a water line and electric service from his home to a dock, install sprinkler systems in front of and behind the house, and to reseed the lawns.

            There was no representative for Mendes at the meeting, but the Commission, seeing no issues, voted in favor of the project

            The next hearing, for Sanford Russell, Jr. of 5 Main Street, was continued until the October 24 meeting.

                  The sixth hearing of the night was for Peter and Asha Wallace who have filed an NOI to maintain two existing view corridors near a salt marsh on their property at 167 Converse Road.  The hearing was continued from the Commission’s September 26 meeting.

                  “I made a site visit, had a talk with the Wallaces.  Some of the old trees are hollow and rotted, and some won’t even stand.  I didn’t see any issues.  The site was clean,” said Briggs.

                  “I did see the trees we had discussed were tagged, especially the diseased ones,” Gonsalves said.  “I didn’t see anything there that I was concerned with them eliminating healthy trees.”

                  Hills was concerned that by “vista pruning” the entire area, the amount of vegetation removed would be greater than the 10% threshold allowed by the Wetlands Protection Act.  But there is no system in place that would allow for the Wallaces to accurately figure out the percentage of the vegetation that is proposed for removal.

                  The removal of the sick and dead plants would allow for the healthier vegetation to thrive.

                  “I can’t think of any good mechanism we have to figure out how many we can take out,” Briggs said.

                  The Wallaces contended that the amount of trees removed would be less than the threshold set by the WPA, given the tree coverage over the entire acreage of their property.

                  “We’re here to enforce the Wetlands Protection Act,” said Hills.

                  “But I think sometimes common sense needs to apply,” Gonsalves said, adding that the removal of the dead vegetation would improve the ecosystem of the area.

                  The Commission voted in favor of the plan and issued a standard order of conditions.

                  Next, the Commission had a hearing for the Marion Open Space Acquisition Commission, which has filed for an RDA to maintain a grass parking area at Grassi Bogs on Mill Street, and to thin the brush between the parking area and Mill Street.  The plan also calls for the relocation of metal gates and installation of wood posts to prevent vehicle access on the dikes.

                  “I think the intent is to create a nice entrance here, thin this out so you increase visibility, and let people enjoy it,” said Briggs.

                  Both Briggs and Hills were concerned that, without an adequate security gate, people may attempt to dump trash and used appliances in the area.

                  Then, Buzzards Bay Area Habitat For Humanity had a hearing with the Commission for their NOI to construct a single-family home and driveway at 185 Wareham Street.  The project has been in the works for a long time but has received a lot of support from the community at large.

                  The hearing was continued from the meeting on September 26 because the project did not have a DEP file number.  With no additional discussion required since the last meeting, the Commission voted in favor of the project as presented.

                  The ninth and final hearing was also for Habitat For Humanity to discuss their RDA to raze the existing dwelling at 185 Wareham Street, add some fill, and regrade the area.  But the land is currently owned by the Town of Marion and Habitat For Humanity needs approval from the Board of Selectmen in order to raze the existing house.

                  “We’ve been informed by [Town Administrator Paul] Dawson what is required, the name of the company that is doing the demolition and their insurance.  We’re supplying that information to Mr. Dawson and as soon as that’s received, we should get the license to demolish,” said George McTurk, on behalf of BBAHFH.

                  The Conservation Commission then voted to grant the RDA.

                  The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission will be on Wednesday, October 24, 2012, at 7:00 pm at the Town Hall.

By Eric Tripoli

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