On July 17, Douglas Schneider, proprietor of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates, stepped in for his civil engineer David Davignon as the Mattapoisett Planning Board continued discussing property owned by Dennis Arsenault.
The property is located beyond the end of Snow Fields Road that currently is a dead-end street. The undeveloped property in question is surrounded by wetlands.
As previously explained by Davignon, Arsenault is seeking the Planning Board’s approval of plans to traverse the swampy area by bringing in fill to create an 18-foot wide roadway that would reach buildable upland lots some 1,500 feet into the thick woodlands. Schneider said Arsenault is considering building two residences.
At the previous meeting, the board had asked Davignon to return with comments on the proposed project by various town boards and departments, and on this night Schneider shared those responses.
Of the Conservation Commission, Schneider said the response had been the need for his client to file a Notice of Intent before the project could be considered. From the fire and police departments, as well as the water department, the comment was for the inclusion of town-supplied water versus drilling for private wells that is in the current proposal. Neither the Board of Health nor the highway department had offered comment at this time.
Chairman Tom Tucker was gobsmacked that the fire department had not mandated the installation of municipal water. “They want to pull hose one thousand feet?”
Tucker asked Schneider to explain what sorts of waivers his client would be seeking. Schneider listed drainage calculations, undersized roadway width, sidewalks, storm water management planning and length of private roadway.
Abutter Pamela LaFreniere spoke up: “The applicant has to show that the road can be built before they can ask for waivers.” Tucker concurred saying, “Swamplands can be subdivided, but that doesn’t mean the land could be built on.”
Schneider also responded, saying, “We can build a road. We are attempting to minimize wetland impact by not building a full road.” He continued, “You do have the right to access your property in the Wetlands Protection Act…. We are asking your permission to minimize wetland impact.”
Tucker said, shaking his head, “I want you to go to ConCom first. Someone tried this before and it didn’t float. We aren’t going to vote on anything with these waivers before ConCom weighs in.”
But Schneider wanted the Planning Board to make a decision, saying that by going to ConCom first, his client’s project would most likely only get sent back to the Planning Board. But the Planning Board members held firm that the environmental impact was significant enough to make conservation input of primary importance in their decision-making.
Tucker did, however, offer to continue the expiration date on Arsenault’s filing, with Schneider’s agreement, for an addition 60 days to give his office sufficient time to file a Notice of Intent with the Conservation Commission and be heard. Schneider reluctantly agreed.
In other business, Planning Administrator Mary Crain said the developers of the Brandt Village subdivision had said they were unavailable to attend the meeting, a request the board had made in an effort to find out why certain punch-list items were still pending.
Tucker asked Crain to contact town counsel to figure out what next steps might be available to the board.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for August 7 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell