Who Owns Drainage Plans & Problems?

Late into the evening’s agenda, the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission discussed the growing issue of storm water drainage problems. To the surprise of the ConCom members, the Planning Board during their last meeting had said it was the responsibility of ConCom to handle storm water drainage problems. However, Chairman Peter Newton and member Bob Rogers disagreed.

Highway Supervisor Barry Denham said that during the Planning Board’s last meeting, Chairman Thomas Tucker said it was the responsibility of ConCom to respond to and deal with drainage issues. Denham said that the two boards needed to get together and settle the protocol on this so that drainage projects didn’t fall between the cracks. Noting that residents reach out to him when there are drainage problems, Denham said, “…these people have all been in to see me…”

Newton said that every Planning Board he was familiar with had the responsibility of dealing with engineering plans for storm water management and drainage. He said regarding Mattapoisett’s Planning Board, “I was not aware that was their opinion.” Newton said that they needed to figure out how to work with the Planning Board, and it was determined that he would attend that board’s next meeting to engage them in conversation. Newton will send a letter to the Planning Board outlining the need to discuss this matter with them.

Specifically on the evening’s agenda under ‘other business’ were the two housing developments that have come before both boards of late: Appaloosa Lane and Brandt Point Village. As evidence that things weren’t going well with the engineered drainage plans, photographs of standing water in drainage swales were shown from the Appaloosa project. Of the engineered drainage at this development, Denham said, “…it is a disaster.”

Regarding Brandt Point Village, Denham said that he had researched the developer’s plans further and found that a brook in question is on their property and therefore, is the responsibility of the developers. He said, “…the stream needs to be cleaned out badly … it is not the town’s responsibility … it is the main drainage for the development.” He felt they should be held responsible for cleaning out the brook so that water could properly flow through it and out to the ocean rather than backing up into the backyards along Gary Lane.

Rogers said that it would be unusual for ConCom to mandate the clear cutting of vegetation, but that it could possibly be included in an order of conditions. Denham said that intermittent streams and brooks have become an integral part of drainage plans for developments and home construction and that there weren’t any easements in place for maintenance. “It is a problem throughout town, and somehow we need to learn how to deal with it.”

Earlier in the evening the commission approved certificates of compliance for: William Marinone, 29 Nashawena Road; Cassandra Morgan, 35 Cove Street; and Daniel DaRose, 3 Goodspeed Island.

Kenneth Shwartz, 49 Mattapoisett Neck Road, requested and received permission to remove a cherry tree located in a wetlands area on his property and to install native shrubs to provide additional screening on the east side of the lot.

Ken Motta of Field Engineering represented two clients who were each submitting notices of intent. The first was for Peter Lesco of Industrial Drive Trust, located at 11 ½ and 13 Industrial Drive, for removal of stockpiled soil materials in a 100-foot buffer zone. This was continued until the June 9 meeting to give the applicant time to confer with Natural Heritage. The second client Motta represented was Christine Gibbons-Richards, 37 Water Street. The applicant is seeking to build an addition that will connect the duplex structure on the parcel. This was approved with standard conditions.

A continuance for Blue Wave LLC’s application for a solar farm on Crystal Spring Road came to a standstill when the commission’s peer review environmental engineering consultant, Gary James, reported to the board (via email) that he had not received sufficient response from the applicant on a number of issues under his purview. Rick Charon, representing the applicant, and Aidan Foley of Blue Wave both expressed their surprise since they had provided comprehensive responses to James also via email. It was determined that Charon would follow-up with James and provide him with hardcopy documents for his review. The issue at hand is erosion due to storm water run-off and associated drainage issues into wetland. Also, Foley reported that although they are awaiting a response from Natural Heritage, it has been his experience that they view solar fields as providing a sufficient, albeit different, habitat for native wildlife. ConCom had also received a report from James that day but did not have enough time to study it prior to the meeting. A continuance was scheduled for June 9.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conversation Commission is scheduled for June 9 at 6:30 pm.

By Marilou Newell


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