Developer Fixing Erosion Control Concerns

Ted Gowdy of Aerie Homes of Waltham, the developer of high-end residences at The Preserve at the Bay Club, apologized during the May 23 meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission for several site work issues previously raised by Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold.

Gowdy confirmed that Leidhold had brought such matters as water being pumped into designated wetlands and concrete spills near buffer zones to his attention weeks ago during an on-site visit. He said that several days later, those matters had been rectified.

Gowdy said the water that was being pumped was clean water, and it was a miscommunication between Leidhold and himself that had led him to believe that activity was acceptable. He also said that concrete waste had been cleaned up.

Chairman Bob Rogers thanked him for bringing that to the attention of the commission as they moved on to the three filings Gowdy was present to discuss.

First was a Request for Determination of Applicability for 146 Fieldstone Drive for the building of a single-family home.

Rogers said that use of doubled-stacked hay bales versus straw would provide better erosion control throughout the site. Gowdy said that hay bales had been hard to find, which prompted commissioner Mike King to say, “Hay will be available locally in a couple of weeks.” Gowdy said his crew had recently found some and procured them from a local farmer.

The commissioners granted the project a Negative 3 determination, additionally requiring permanent markers denote the 50-foot buffer zone and several other special conditions to ensure good erosion controls were in place.

Next, Gowdy discussed a Notice of Intent filing for 107 Fieldstone Drive for the construction of a single-family home and driveway within the buffer zone of a bordering vegetated wetland. He was asked if the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program had responded to his request for comment. He said he had not pursued that yet, but assured the commissioners that the agency’s comments thus far had been neutral.

“A very strict commission would continue this [hearing] until Natural Heritage responded,” said Rogers. “I don’t want to ignore them.”

King then displayed a job site photograph, noting that it appeared that “erosion controls are non-existent.”

Gowdy responded that those were eight or nine years old, “We are putting new erosion controls in as we go along,” he stated.

King continued, however, saying it appears that a slope was eroding into wetlands.

“We are in a transition,” said Gowdy. “Once approved, new controls will be put in place.”

The commissioners felt they could approve the application with special conditions of confirmation from Natural Heritage, at which time Gowdy would return for an amended Order of Conditions, and that abutter notifications would be verified. They also asked for permanent markers for wetlands.

The last filing Gowdy discussed was a continued request for a partial certificate of compliance. The commissioners weren’t satisfied with the sparse details from Outback Engineering for work completed on 108 Fieldstone Drive, a storm water detention basin.

Rogers said he needed to see the differences between approved plans and as-built. He also wondered if the Planning Board had any comment regarding the project.

Rogers asked Gowdy to request a continuation until these questions could be answered. Gowdy complied.

Earlier in the evening, Boy Scout Davis Mathieu, joined by Mattapoisett Land Trust Chairman Mike Huguenin and member Paul Osenkowski, came before the commission seeking approval for Mathieu’s Eagle Scout project. Mathieu plans to build a bird observation stand at the Walega-Livingstone Preserve. The 8×6-foot platform will be supported by 5-foot pilings secured on four Sonotubes.

“It will be enjoyable for anyone going in there,” said Rogers, adding, “We are fortunate to have Boy Scouts to do projects like this.”

Late into the proceeding, Peter Chmiel, 10 Brandt Island Road, who had been invited to discuss disturbances near a buffer zone on his property, met with the commissioners.

“We are willing to cooperate with you,” said Chmiel, as he explained the clearing and cleaning he had completed.

King said, “You may have done some clearing in a buffer zone.”

Rogers suggested Chmiel work with Leidhold and said he might have to file an after-the-fact RDA.

Highway Surveyor Barry Denham said, “Remember, this property has been developed over 50 years. I don’t see anything that I haven’t seen before; they are basically removing overgrowth.”

“It’s a fine line between cleaning and clearing,” said King.

Chmiel will follow-up with Leidhold.

Regarding the construction taking place next to the Town Landing on Mattapoisett Neck Road, Rogers wanted the public to understand that, in June 2011, the commission had issued an Order of Conditions, which was subsequently appealed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP issued a superseding Order of Conditions.

Rogers said that residents should contact Dan Gilmore of the Massachusetts wetlands division. He also reminded the public that the town does not have local wetlands bylaws that might have prevented the construction.

King said it was “a shame” the town had not offered to buy the parcel when the owner offered it to them.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for June 13 at 6:30 pm in the town hall meeting room.

By Marilou Newell


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