Cases Will Leap into New Year

            The Marion Conservation Commission wrapped up a busy year with its December 23 featuring several public hearings and action items. Four public hearings were held and continued to the commission’s January 13 meeting.

            In Case SE041-1345, continued from December 9, Carmine and Beth Martignetti filed a Notice of Intent for shoreline site improvements, including removing a vertical stone/concrete seawall, expanding an existing coastal beach into an upland area, and reconstructing a stone jetty at 71 Moorings Road.

            ConCom conducted a second site visit on December 19 and met with Schumacher Landscape Architects. Members were there to see the area where work had been done, which included the coastal bank. It was noted that vegetation had been removed according to aerial photos (trees, brush, and scrub between the lawn and beach). The original Order of Conditions was to be kept in its original state, but alterations were discovered. David Schumacher pointed out the planting of grasses, adding helpful information since ConCom’s last meeting.

            ConCom went to the state Department of Environmental Protection Wetlands circuit rider to check on what’s happened and the future and reported feedback that preferred more diversity in plantings. Walsh advised representing engineer David Davignon of the recommendation for more woody-type plantings. Sitting in the velocity zone, the coastal bank provides a vertical buffer to storm waves. As a vegetated area, Walsh said the ground provided better storm protection than how it is now and that beach grass would improve the situation. Schumacher told Walsh that loam was brought in, but no sand.

            Walsh said the wildlife habitat value had been changed and that more diverse plantings would help. The circuit rider, he reported, suggested developing a wetlands buffer. Schumacher reported on a discussion with the applicant, who is not opposed to adding woody plantings, but asked ConCom to be more specific, noting that different conservation commissions on Cape Cod prefer other plants. Walsh said that Marion does not oppose rosa rugosa (beach rose). “We’re looking to provide best wildlife habitat value,” said Walsh.

            Commission member Jeff Doubrava said flat stone would function as a fence. “The top of the coastal bank is probably the right line for me,” he said, adding that boulders would work best if set 20 feet apart.

            Davignon said he thinks a revised plan can be ready a week ahead of ConCom’s next meeting. With the applicant’s consent, ConCom voted to continue the public hearing to January 13 at 7:40 pm.

            Richard and Faith Morningstar filed a Notice of Intent for the construction of an in-ground swimming pool, patio, and retaining wall at 8 Moorings Road. Davignon and Peter Gee represented the Morningstars.

            The project is proposed inside a 90-by-70-foot wooded area and flood zone, necessitating a retaining wall and plans to cut into a hill on the side closer to the house. The pool elevation will be 15 feet, which is the same as the base flood elevation. There will be clearing of 7 to 8 feet beyond the retaining wall for installation, and discharge is planned in a direction downhill away from the flood zone and wetlands.

            Noting that the retaining wall will be built 4-to-5 feet inside the “A” zone, Doubrava said, “The waves don’t magically stop when you go from the ‘D’ zone to the ‘A’ zone.” The “D” zone, he said, would not be allowed, but the “A” zone is questionable. “Is there any way to soften that?” Davignon said some grading could be added so that the wall is not 4 feet tall at that location, creating a vegetated slope. Abutters asked about the removal of trees that separate the adjacent properties and gave their support of the project.

            In keeping with Marion’s remote-access meeting policy, ConCom voted to continue the hearing to January 13 at 7:50 pm.

            ConCom determined that the Request for Determination of Applicability sought by Davignon on behalf of 418 Point Road Trust (Case 41D-1772) for repairs to the pile support system to the boardwalk at Planting Island Cove will need a Notice of Intent.

            Built in 2009, the 608-foot pier has rotted pilings because, as Davignon explained, the builder needed 80 piles and ran out of the preferred hardwood. The ones used have rotted out above the mud line, not below. Davignon had hoped the RDA filed would result in a negative determination because the contractor proposed to do the work manually, one piling at a time, without machinery. At least 14 piles need to be replaced and possibly up to 25, said Davignon, and none of the work will go into the waterway.

            To Walsh, driving 4-by-6-foot wooden beams into the substrate is no different than driving pilings. “That wouldn’t get a negative determination,” he said, adding that support jacks will compress the saltmarsh, causing at least a temporary impact. Doing so on land containing shellfish, an NOI would result in a copy being sent to the state Division of Marine Fisheries. Doubrava agreed, citing several visits to the site and recognizing the entire project will take place across a saltmarsh.

            Davignon told the commission he intends to file an NOI for its next meeting. ConCom voted to continue the hearing to January 13 at 8:00 pm, pending the anticipated NOI and withdrawal of the RDA.

            Davignon filed an RDA on behalf of Aucoot Cove Properties, LLC, seeking a Chapter 91 license for pier ramp and floating dock structures at 98 Indian Cove Road. He explained that the RDA was filed because no work was being proposed. ConCom had conducted a site visit on December 19.

            Walsh noted that the last float and a portion of the next-to-last float sit over the town line in Marion, although most of the structure lies within Mattapoisett. He said Marion ConCom can still issue a negative determination, but only regarding the portion inside Marion. Davignon told Marion ConCom that he was making the same filing on December 28 with Mattapoisett ConCom.

            In keeping with town rules for remote-access public hearings, the case was continued to January 13 at 8:10 pm.

            Early in the meeting, two negative determinations of applicability were issued.

            Continued from December 9, engineer Meghan Davis appeared on behalf of the Marion Department of Public Works on its RDA for completion of maintenance work to two Bioretention basins at Island Wharf.

            Referencing a December 5 site visit, Walsh asked about the “mystery pipe” that was discharging into or out of one of the basins. Davis said that when snow hit the area, the DPW could not find the pipe in question and that plans called for a second search and an update to ConCom. Doubrava said that the original Order of Conditions only requested that no salt be used in the parking areas. ConCom voted to close the hearing and, later in the meeting, issued a negative determination of applicability. A Notice of Intent will not be needed.

            Tabor Academy was likewise issued a negative determination of applicability for its replacement of a deteriorated deck at Daggett House, 275 Front Street.

            Davignon requested a Certificate of Compliance on behalf of Marion Lands Trust at 369 Wareham Street. ConCom voted to grant a partial COC based on the conversion of 860 square feet of a vegetated cutout to asphalt but withheld the COC from applying to the conversion of a front-side asphalt area along Route 6 to a lawn.

            A second request for a COC from Marion Lands Trust at Wareham Street was denied.

            ConCom issued a partial COC to Anne Severance, 20 Front Street, for work on the driveway, walkway, and patios.

            ConCom issued a partial COC to Indian Cove Trust, Indian Cove Road. The prior Order of Conditions had expired and, after a second NOI, septic has been installed, and the property is now being conveyed. ConCom voted to issue a partial COC for the first Order of Conditions. The second Order of Conditions is still in effect.

            The Marion Planning Board asked ConCom for comment to inform its handling of the Tabor Academy RDA, but Tabor has filed with ConCom, and its RDA will be on the January 13 agenda.

            The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for January 13 at 7:00 pm.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Mick Colageo

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