Engineer Rich Charon, representing his client Gale Runnells, 17 Reservation Way, came before the Marion Conservation Commission on September 12 seeking a Certificate of Compliance. What he received was frustration from several commission members for what they deemed were unacceptable inconsistencies between the plan of record and the as-built plans.
Chairman Cynthia Callow said the filing was a bit of an “after-the-fact” notification, given that the completed work deviated from the plan.
The original plans called for a 12- by 24-foot in-ground pool; however, the pool was constructed at 16 by 24 feet. Permanent no-touch-zone demarcations were planned with large rocks and boulders, but the applicant poured concrete forms instead, with one form being inside the pool fencing. Furthermore, the fencing itself, instead of being placed around the apron of the pool, was installed in the wetlands no-touch zone.
“There’s been a lack of communication,” Charon told the commissioners. He said that indeed the fencing had been set farther into the jurisdictional area than originally planned, but that the finished work had been well done and the no-touch zone marked.
But commissioner Joel Hartley asked, “How can we give a Certificate of Compliance if the no-touch zone was touched?”
Commissioner Jeff Doubrava was clearly frustrated. “I’ve got an issue with this project – the no-touch zone was ignored,” Doubrava said. He pointed out that the pool fence had been installed in the no-touch zone and now, “You’re asking for forgiveness after the fact.” He also took exception to the placement of concrete forms rather than use of stones saying, “That makes it easier to mow,” referring to lawn that had been established inside the no-touch zone.
Callow added, “We’re a little frustrated. We’ve had a plethora of these coming at us.” She told Charon, “I know you’re not responsible, but it’s hard to issue compliance when it’s not in compliance.”
There then ensued nearly 30 minutes of discussion as the commissioners and Charon attempted to reach common ground.
Charon explained that the pool fence had been placed downhill of the pool because it would have obstructed the water view in the original location.
Commissioner Shaun Walsh asked, “Is there anything preventing the property owner from allowing the natural vegetation to re-establish?” noting that some cuttings had also taken place in the no-touch zone. Charon agreed that was possible, along with planting of native species. But he could not agree with moving the fence to its original location as suggested by Doubrava.
Walsh said, “A greater effort needs to be made to be in compliance with the Order of Conditions. This is a problem of your client’s own making.”
Charon offered to return with a planting plan. The hearing was continued until September 28.
Robert McNamara’s RDA application for the construction of a shed at 19 Shawondasse Road met with some push back when abutters complained to the commission that “word on the street” was that it would be used as sleeping quarters.
McNamara denied that he ever indicated to prospective buyers that a shed could be used as living space. “Everything I’ve done over there, I’ve come to [the Conservation Commission] first,” he said in defense of some modifications he’s made to the property.
Callow told the abutters that the commission was only responsible for wetland-related issues, and that other boards could hear their building and building-use concerns.
McNamara received a Negative 2 decision for his application.
All other applications on this night went through smoothly.
Negative 2 determinations of applicability were issued for Elizabeth Middleton, 40 Joanne Drive, for the construction of an in-ground pool and addition to existing dwelling; Bob Cattel, Blackhall Court and Hastings Road, for repairs and repaving to existing roadways; Angus Leary, 19 Lewis Street, for the construction of an in-ground pool and pool house; Kathleen Mahoney, 40 Dexter Road, to relocate a generator; Philip Stevenson, 50 Point Road, to cut 4,955 square feet of overgrown vegetation and convert the area to lawn; and Warren Williamson, 121 Converse Road, to construct a ramp to an elevated deck and modifications to decking for an outdoor shower.
The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for September 28 at 7:00 pm in the town house conference room.
By Marilou Newell