It could have been a quick in and out for the Mattapoisett Planning Board on March 16 with the one agenda item – changes to a Form C approval issued to Michael Solimando for the Appaloosa Lane subdivision – again continued until April 6. There wasn’t any other business to speak of, but other topics did come up and passions were flamed as soon as Chairman Tom Tucker addressed the four people in attendance and asked if there was any other business.
Paul Osenkowski of 8 Oaklawn Avenue raised his hand and began an emotional appeal that included a demand that the board order work to stop on the Brandt Island Road subdivision.
This is not the first time Osenkowski has attempted to have construction stopped at this permitted subdivision. He said that although the Planning Board mandated that work be completed on Phase I before any work was started on Phase II, the entire site has been clear-cut.
“There was a big rain in December … the water was flowing down the street, not into the (engineered) retention ponds,” said Osenkowski. “The catch basins are too high; this is a disaster in the making that is all going to flow into the cove.”
Pointing to Planning Board member Karen Field he said, “It’s all going to end up in your back yard, Karen!” He continued, “They haven’t followed the rules.” He said that the Planning Board had asked the developer to complete roadwork in the subdivision before continuing on with Phase II, but instead all the wooded area had been cleared now making rain events disastrous.
Mattapoisett Highway Surveyor Barry Denham presented the board with a series of photos he took at the site during one of his nearly weekly inspections of the work in progress. Although those images were not shown to the public in attendance, the expressions on the board members faces spoke volumes.
“They got 15 to 20 acres of land that has been clear cut, instead of selective pruning,” said Denham. As they looked at the images Denham said, “It was quite a logging operation. They took a lot of good wood out of there.”
The board members appeared visually stunned by the photographic evidence.
Field asked if there was a new owner. No one on the board was able to answer her question.
“We did meet with the owners (approximately two months ago). They were supposed to put a top coat on the side streets,” said board member Ronald Merlo. “There was a cease and desist and a check-list.” He also said that the Conservation Commission had given the developer an Order of Conditions that must have included hay bales to keep solid material runoff from entering the saltwater cove.
“This is going to be an ecological disaster for the town,” said Osenkowski. He was thanked for his input.
Also during the meeting, resident Bonne DeSousa asked the board about next steps in the public hearing planned for bylaw changes. She had sent her comments directly to the board members via email.
The board read her comments silently with Tucker saying it was the first time he had seen them. DeSousa said she wanted an informed conversation about the suggested bylaw changes offered by Brad Saunders, a representative of The Bay Club – changes that are now being sponsored by the Planning Board.
DeSousa said she want to understand what it means to “put cluster zoning in the business district.”
“I’d like to hear about how duplex housing fits for the town,” DeSousa said. She also questioned the impact this type of residence would have on property taxes. Tucker said he would do some research and would also invite the assessor to the public hearing.
DeSousa asked if it was time to review the Town’s Master Plan that is now nearly 15 years old. Tucker agreed it was time to review that document.
In another ongoing matter, the Planning Board is waiting to hear back from town counsel on whether or not they have missed the deadline for submitting a letter in support of the Conservation Commission and/or the Marine Advisory Board regarding the proposed Goodspeed Island Pier.
If they can still do so, they will, Tucker stated. The Planning Board has some jurisdiction via Massachusetts General Law over the construction of piers, Merlo stated.
Regarding the Appaloosa Lane subdivision, Denham said he was in possession of the February 20 letter from the Town’s engineering consultant Field Engineering outlining water drainage needs. He said that he was in agreement with Field’s conclusion, but that the town’s drainage was too small.
“The way all things shape up, if you accept the solution I won’t block it,” said Denham. He called the subdivision water management plan as having “no benefit to the town.”
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board will be a public hearing held on April 6 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room, primarily to discuss bylaw changes that will be presented to the voters at the Annual Town Meeting in May.
By Marilou Newell