It’s not the norm for abutters to request two-week continuances for applications before the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission, but that is precisely what occurred on September 13 when the Notice of Intent continuance for 7 Nashawena Road was reopened.
Representing client Alexander Bauer was N. Douglas Schneider of Schneider, Davignon, & Leone Inc., who said that a new plan of record had been submitted 10 days earlier and included all the requested changes asked for by the commissioners and abutters. For a least a year, abutters had been watchful that existing drainage problems in the area were not exacerbated by the reconstruction of a single-family home.
Schneider pointed to a reduction in the overall size of the footprint, including pervious areas and a roof-runoff catchment systems to redirect storm water into underground chambers for recharging. He said that he has visited the site since a recent record rainfall event took place and found only a small area where ponding remained, a location for historically slow recharging of storm water into the ground.
Schneider also said that the requested testing of soils for recharging and groundwater levels has taken place as well. He conceded that, even given the summer’s dry conditions of subsoils and the construction of an underground drainage system, there might still be wet season occasions when drainage would be a problem.
Chairman Mike King said that everyone was going to have to get used to record rain events, but that the new plan has covered everything requested. The commissioners were ready to render their decision, but not before abutters were recognized for their comments.
David Behenne, 31 Antassawamock Road, said that perc testing had been requested but not performed. King said that only the Board of Health requires perc testing for septic systems, but that soil testing has been done as requested. “The applicant has met all [the requirements of the] Wetlands Protection Act; you’ll have 10 days to review our decision or appeal it.”
Behenne asked several times when abutters were notified that new plans were available to review, then asked for a two-week continuation in order to review the updated plans with his engineer, Robert Field.
King pushed back from that, again saying the applicant is in compliance. “He’s addressed everything you were worried about.” Behenna shot back, “That is up to the abutters!” King said that if abutters are “aggrieved” of the commission’s decision, they can appeal it.
Speaking next was William Straus, 8 Nashawena. Straus said several times that he understood the position of the commissioners, the hard job they had based on his own previous appointment to the commission, but believed an appeal was in no one’s best interest.
“Alex Baur is a decent guy; he would not take the same position as his engineer,” said Straus, who believed he had heard Schneider say he wanted the application done on this night. However, it was subsequently made clear that that comment was spoken by commissioner Chapman Dickerson, a sentiment echoed by David Lawrence. Straus urged the commission to grant a two-week continuance for the sake of giving abutters more time to study the new plan.
In the end, Schneider agreed an appeal to the Department of Environmental Protection would only drag out the process even further. A continuance was granted until September 27.
In other business, a Notice of Intent filed by Leonard and Joyce Almeida for a new septic system was conditionally approved upon receipt of a DEP file number.
Later in the proceedings, the commission discussed the ratification of environmental agent services subcontracted to Brandon Faneuf of Ecosystem Solutions, Inc. in an arrangement whereby applications requiring agent oversight will pay for Faneuf’s services. King said, “There is no cost to the town.” The contract was to go before the Select Board for finalization on September 14.
In the meantime, a search will continue for a part-time conservation agent. Recent applicants were only interested in full-time positions, King said.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is planned for Monday, September 27, at 6:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell