Abutters Concerned Over Stormwater Flooding

            Although he spoke respectfully of abutters’ concerns over stormwater flooding on two undeveloped adjoining lots on Starboard Way near Molly’s Cove, Mattapoisett Conservation Commission Chairman Mike King was also very clear: “You should engage an engineer to help you with drainage issues on your property,” he told the abutters, invoking that comment five times during the public hearing.

            Throughout the July 12 Notice of Intent hearings presented by Bill Madden of G.A.F. Engineering for the construction of single-family homes, King punctuated Madden’s comments with the point that the stormwater drainage issues currently experienced in the neighborhood are addressed in the engineering, with roof runoff diverted to underground recharge systems and topographical aspects moving water to the center of the properties. Concerns expressed by several abutters, most notably Nicole Balthazar, were around current conditions where stormwater ponds on the lots. But Madden pointed out that the soil testing confirmed the adequacy of sandy soils for drainage into the ground.

            King also noted that roadways in the beach neighborhood have become, in effect, dams holding stormwater on residential lots rather than granting flow away from homes. He said that if the proposed construction included septic systems, other considerations would cause the projects much more difficulty. However, the two new homes will be serviced by public sewer and water, he said.

            “This project, as proposed, will not add water to the neighborhood,” King assured the abutters. He said, “I’m sympathetic to the neighbor; the reality is that this won’t add water on the ground.”

            Madden called it a “cut and dried” flood zone project with the two homes being built in compliance to FEMA standards and of the occasional stormwater ponding. “It does dissipate,” he said.

            King also pointed to mounting evidence of sea-level rise in the seaside community, including at the Reservation Golf Club, but again said, “This design meets all performance standards, including all drainage issues.”

            Also present for the hearings was Attorney Jamy Madeja, who stated she was representing several other residents of the neighborhood and that her clients wished to join others in requesting the town’s assistance in correcting roadway drainage issues, including their damming impact.

            King advised the abutters that they could appeal the decisions made by the local commission to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, but that in cases such as this, the agency would most likely uphold the local commission’s acceptance of the project as designed. In the end, the commission unanimously approved the two projects with conditions.

            Other matters handled on this night: Requests for Determination of Applicability filed by Peter Annunziato, 11 Rock Road, for the construction of a shed; Mike and Elaine Botelho, 9 Crestfield Street, for an addition to an existing patio; Tom Grondski and Catherine Jackie for septic system upgrades; and Bartholomew O’Brien, lots 25 and 26 Prince Snow Drive, for removal of trees in a buffer zone. All received negative determinations of applicability.

            A Notice of Intent filed by the Howley Trust for 1 Waterman Street for the razing of an existing home and construction of a new residence was conditioned as designed.

            Also receiving orders of conditions were NOIs filed by Fred Danforth, 2 Brandt Island Shores,

and Good Speed, LLC, 1 Brandt Island Shores, both for beach nourishment and boulder placement to repair erosion of beach areas.

            Before adjourning, the commission again discussed the vacancy created by the retirement of Conservation Agent Liz Leildhold. King said that one application had been received for a freelance licensed agent.

            King said that the lack of a conservation agent as a town employee will shift a large burden to the applicants primarily in the form of increased fees. He said an RDA would now cost $450 to file.

            Commissioner David Lawrence confirmed his willingness to help the town with site visits for filed RDAs but said the time commitment was upwards of five hours per day. Commissioner Chapman Dickerson said, “That’s a lot of free labor to the town.”

            Commissioner John Jacobsen said, “This is a result of the town dragging its feet.”

            King said, “We’ll do what we can,” and thanked Leidhold for her service, saying, “You will be missed.”

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for Monday, July 26, at 6:30 pm.

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