The Marion Conservation Commission on September 27 didn’t have any public hearings scheduled, but it did have in its possession a letter from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection upholding the commission’s April 22 denial to allow Michael Popitz of 18 Indian Cove Way to construct a driveway and associated grading through a bordering vegetative wetland in order to provide access to an upper lot for future development.
Popitz, a Planning Board member at the time of his original February 8 hearing date, filed the appeal with the DEP and published a letter to the editor in the April 6 edition of The Wanderer insinuating that the Conservation Commission unfairly denies projects within wetlands to some, but allows certain other projects in town to move forward.
Near that time, Popitz also filed a complaint on June 20 with the Attorney General’s Office alleging violations of the Open Meeting Law over the timeliness of the release of meeting minutes, which was also dismissed in a letter from the AG’s Office dated September 6.
The letter signed by DEP Wetlands and Waterways Chief James Mahala states that Popitz already has a driveway through wetlands on the abutting property he owns, that the alternative analysis that was prepared considered not building the driveway, acquiring additional land, or constructing a shared driveway, and concludes that the project as proposed did not demonstrate a viable alternative to access the upper lot without altering the wetlands.
“Instead, the alternatives analysis identifies an alternative that impacts BVD and further fragments a wetland system to gain access to the same portion of the property currently served by the existing driveway,” states the letter.
The AG Office letter found that the commission had satisfied its obligation to approve meeting minutes in a timely manner and no violation was found since two of the meeting minutes in Popitz’s complaint were all filed the next month, and two subsequent meeting minutes were still pending within only one to two months before Popitz filed the complaint.
The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for October 11 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.
Marion Conservation Commission
By Jean Perry