ConCom’s Limitations Felt by Abutter

            Brian and Beth Keane received a Negative Box 2 Determination of Applicability for their plan to raze an existing house and garage and construct a new home with an attached garage, driveway, retaining walls, landscaping and utilities 8 Pie Alley, but the decision made by the Marion Conservation Commission on September 14 was made with respect to abutters concerned about flooding in their neighborhood.

            Bill Madden of G.A.F. Engineering, representing the applicant, explained stormwater-management improvements. Madden said he was asked by Will Saltonstall to add features to mitigate the runoff situation.

            “That’s what we did,” said Madden, who noted the work is in the flood zone so the mission is to capture roof runoff and store it and infiltrate it through a series of “filtration beds.”

            Other commissioners indicated they are satisfied with the plan.

            Abutter Michael Moore, who owns the adjacent property to the north, told the commission that the new garage will sit much closer to his lot line than the existing structure. Seeing that the applicant’s representatives reported on a 2-foot dig, Moore said he dug 4 feet down on the abutting property close to the lot line and found a layer of clay that he suspects lies beneath both properties. As a result, he articulated concern that the drainage plan next door will not be sufficient and will in the end add to the flooding problem there.

            In conceding a lack of rights where it concerns the specific project, Moore said there is a “regional problem” at Pie Alley and Lewis Street that the commission needs to address. He recommended pits be dug to 4 feet.

            Emil Assing, acting as chairman in the absence of Jeff Doubrava, discussed the limitations of the commission and sought corroboration from Conservation Agent Doug Guey-Lee and former commission chairman Shaun Walsh. Both gave it.

            Guey-Lee said the ConCom’s purview is only to approve the project if installed as permitted.

            Walsh agreed with Guey-Lee, adding that the Conservation Commission is reviewing a RDA in which the only resource area subject to the Wetlands Protection Act is land subject to coastal-storm flowage.

            “There are no performance standards associated with that resource area, but typically what we look for is we want to ensure that structures that are structured on land subject to coastal-storm flowage are not going to result in, sort of, creating these … areas that will increase the velocity of flood waters. This is … not a (velocity) zone,” said Walsh, reiterating the 10-day appeal period for abutter dissatisfied with a commission decision.

            Acknowledging the nuance in Moore’s question, Walsh said that, for instance, six months down the road if there is flooding, the commission is without recourse.

            “In my opinion, this project may result in an improvement over current site conditions,” said Walsh, noting the slope being put into the land and the introduction of stormwater structures that do not yet exist. “I don’t think it’s going to exacerbate the situation. … Not the answer I think you wanted to hear.”

            “It was the answer I expected,” said Moore, who graciously thanked the commission for hearing his concern.

            In his motion, Assing suggested erosion-control plans in the event a situation develops. Walsh agreed heavy rain could increase the problem. The commissioners conditioned the negative determination with erosion control, suggesting straw wattles as an example.

            The Enforcement Order for Unpermitted Activity at Marion Golf Club, 10 South Drive, is drawing toward a conclusion. Guey-Lee called the latest plan “a great step forward.” Walsh recommended that the club respond quickly to final suggestions with an eye on a September 28 vote to approve. “I think we’re 98 percent there, that’s my feeling, maybe even 99,” said Walsh.

            The representative for the Marion Harbor Trust, owner of the club, noted that the revision presented on September 14 was based on the commission’s recommendations and that the case has dragged on since June throughout the summer. She sought assurance that “a happy conclusion” was, in fact, being achieved.

            Assing said he anticipates the end of the process at the next meeting but did not want to speak for other commissioners. Guey-Lee furthermore noted that the chairman (Doubrava), not being present, should not be spoken for.

            Thomas Heiser’s Notice of Intent for beach nourishment at 5 Island Court was approved with an Order of Conditions.

            James Connolly received an Order of Conditions to construct a single-family house and associated utilities at Dexter Road.

            Tucker Burr was issued a Negative 2 and 3 Determination of Applicability, green-lighting his plan for general landscaping off Route 6.

            Michael Craffey’s NOI to repair an existing seawall and remove invasive phragmites was continued to October 26.

            The commission approved a three-year extension of the town’s permit to manage an overgrowth of invasive plants at the Sprague’s Cove retention pond.

            The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, September 28, at 7:00 pm.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Mick Colageo

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