Washburn Park is about to undergo some major changes. Sections of the beloved park, which is home to endless summer baseball games and Independence Day horse show, have fallen into disrepair. A new plan, spearheaded by Selectman Jonathan Dickerson, seeks to restore the park’s original glory.
The proposal includes restoration to hiking trails, new picnic tables, and benches at the skating pond.
The hearing tonight was continued from the last meeting when Selectman Jonathan Dickerson first brought it before the Commission, which was supportive from the beginning.
“After walking around and getting an idea, I think it’s a good idea,” Hills said.
“It’s looking beautiful all the time, there’s a lot of landscaping going on. The overall park has come a long way,” said Briggs.
Dickerson is going to work with Briggs and Hills in order to come up with a more specific plan for maintaining the skating pond.
“We’ll keep working on the language and I think we’ll be headed in the right direction,” said Briggs.
The hearing was continued until the next meeting on November 14.
The Commission also had a public hearing for Anne Hatton of 183 Front Street, regarding her Notice of Intent to raze an existing garage and replace it with a new garage and deck.
“The homeowner is proposing to construct a two-car garage and a deck. Our proposal is just fifty feet from the delineated wetland. The area of disturbance is under the 5,000 square foot [threshold]. And we will be adding a dry-well,” said engineer Steve Carvahlo, who represented Hatton.
Commission Clerk Norm Hills was concerned that the plans also call for a bathroom and possible living space within the garage could pose a problem in the event of high floodwaters. Carvahlo said that the lowest section of the structure would still be higher than the surrounding velocity zone.
“To be building in a velocity zone, you really should put it up on posts,” Hills said.
The Commission also felt that the submitted plans did not provide enough detail for them to render a decision.
“I think these plans are a bit shy on what we need to see,” said Chairman Sherman Briggs.
“I’m looking at this plan and I can’t tell that you’re proposing a two-story structure,” said Hills.
The hearing was continued so that the engineers can draw up more detailed construction plans for the consideration of the Commission.
Then, a hearing for the Town of Marion was held to discuss the town’s Request for Determination of Applicability to add sand to the existing beach and to use the beach house field as a staging area for regattas. The proposal was fueled by concern over congestion in the harbor during races, which could include anywhere from 70 to 240 boats.
“This is a way to try to make it work for everybody and make things a little bit easier,” said Harbormaster Michael Cormier on behalf of the town.
With only one regatta scheduled next year, it will be difficult to prove whether or not the proposal would be successful in alleviating traffic issues around the harbor.
“I don’t anticipate a problem,” said Hills, who suggested the Commission visit the site next year after the race to determine the effectiveness of the plan and the Commission voted in favor of the project as presented.
Then, John and Shelley Keith came before the Commission for a hearing regarding their NOI to remove invasive plant species from their property at 15 Shellheap Road.
“When I first met with Mrs. Keith, she had indicated to me that there was a suggestion by the town that they may take part in this because of the work going on at Sprague’s Cove,” said engineer Kevin Forgue, on behalf of the Keiths. “They would cut the invasive species, apply herbicide, and see how effective it is in a year or so.”
Hills voiced concern over the use of spray-on herbicides and how they could negatively affect the healthy vegetation in the area, but Forgue said that the Keiths were amenable to seeking alternative options for applying herbicide.
The Commission voted to accept the NOI.
The next hearing, for Indian Cove Trust, was held to amend an Order of Conditions issued by the Commission for work being done on Holly Pond Road. The original proposal called for the construction of a new dwelling with septic system and driveway. The amendment was to adjust the footprint and location of the house, to shorten the driveway, and reduce the size of the septic leach field. A detached garage would also be added to the Order of Conditions.
“We originally submitted the plan back in 2008, it was approved in 2009. At that time, there was one adjustment to the wetland line and we added some boulder markers around the driveway,” said engineer Dave Davignon of Schneider and Associates. “The new plans reflect the new flood zone changes. In this case, the velocity zone actually pulled away from its original location, which allowed us to move the location of the dwelling.”
The footprint of the home must be changed due to a prominent rock ledge located under part of the construction area.
One issue that came up was the condition of a stream local to the neighborhood that empties out into Aucoot Cove. The stream carries high quantities of nitrogen into the cove and acts as the only safe passage near the road for many animals. The language of the plans includes dredging the stream, which could have a negative impact on the area.
“This property was originally conservation land. The only reason it was not transferred into conservation land is because there was a title issue. This stream is extremely important to the health of Marion,” said Chris Bryant of the Sippican Land Trust, who indicated that he was not familiar with the specifics of the plan as he had only seen the NOI earlier Wednesday afternoon.
“We purposefully let that stream meander on down there to deliver nitrogen down into the cove,” he said.
Briggs said that mention of dredging was simply boilerplate language for the project and did not mean that the stream would actually be dredged as part of the plan. The Commission voted in favor of amending the Order of Conditions.
The final hearing of the evening was held for the Kittansett Club, regarding an RDA to construction an irrigation reservoir, pump house, and to discharge salt water that would result from the excavation.
Engineer Susan Nilsen represented the club at the meeting.
“Part of the reason for the project is so the club can have extra ground water on hand during the dry time of the year,” said Nilsen. During the summer, the club’s water supply for maintaining the golf course runs very low.
“I think this is well-thought out and it’s been a long time coming, for years,” Briggs said.
The Commission accepted the plan as presented.
In other business, there was a hearing scheduled for Sanford Russell Jr., regarding his NOI to replace a carport with a garage and to undertake extensive rebuilding of a stone wall and driveway at 5 Main Street. The hearing was continued until the next meeting per the request of the applicant.
The Commission also issued a Partial Certificate of Compliance for John and Sandra Beck, for construction of a walkway over a salt marsh on their property at 17 River Road.
The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission will be held on Wednesday, November 14 at 7:00 pm at the Town House.
By Eric Tripoli