Drainage Issues Plague Plans

            A Notice of Intent filing by William Knight, 0 Oakdale Avenue, and represented by engineer David Davignon found Davignon in the position of educating abutters, while trying to get the Marion Department of Public Works (DPW) to respond to his inquiries.

            Knight’s plan for the undeveloped but disturbed lot includes the construction of a single-family home with driveway utilities and necessary filling and grading to level the lot.

            Davignon said that the lot was within a flood zone and included grandfathered setbacks. But the biggest problem the site plans have to deal with is stormwater flow from surrounding developed residential lots.

            “The challenge is to control everybody else’s water,” he said.

            Acting Conservation Chairman Shaun Walsh said that water historically flowed in an easterly direction across the Knight property and that neighbors in the area had taken to self-remedy by creating their own grass swales, which further diverted water across the lot in question.

            Davignon said the applicant was volunteering to make drainage improvements to an existing older municipal drainage system that includes a clay discharge pipe. He said the fact that the pipe is clay is proof of the age of the drainage plan. He said that Knight’s plans include complete replacement of the existing system, including installation of a larger up-to-date discharge pipe. He said that stormwater could be treated by way of check dams and trap rocks that would slow the flowage allowing for sediment to drop out before the water reaches the saltwater cove.

            Oakdale Avenue is situated between the confluence of Briggs Cove and Hammett’s Cove.

            When asked if the Marion DPW has been maintaining the drainage system, Thomas Webster, 34 Oakdale Avenue, voiced a resounding “No.” Davignon said that requests made for information regarding the system had gone unanswered by the DPW.

            Walsh asked Davignon to try and get a letter from the DPW confirming that they are in agreement with allowing the private party to make improvements to the municipal system.

            “We want to make sure we’re not impacting that small beach,” Walsh said.

            Webster was then asked to share his concerns. He said that the lot in question “has been an ecosystem for forever.”

            “The previous owner stripped the lot and brought in fill,” said Webster. “Where were you then?”

            Webster said those activities took place 10 or 15 years ago.

            He was then asked if he had contacted the Conservation Commission at that time. He said he didn’t know anything about the commission. Webster continued to try and explain that stormwater continuously drains onto his lot and became much worse with the development on Sarah Sherman Drive.

            “I believe we are trying to fix that,” said Davignon, adding that Knight’s plans would allow water to flow underground and discharge into the cove. Webster was invited to step up and look at the plans. He was also given a copy and told that updated plans are also available for public review in the conservation office.

            “I just want to keep water off my land!” Webster said, adding, “Everything looks good on paper.”

            Davignon said he’d like to educate the public about the process saying, “There will be an order of conditions linked to the deed.” He said that when construction is completed, the property owner needed to request a Certificate of Compliance, a document that required certification from an engineer that work was completed as planned to avoid a lien against the property.

            The hearing was continued until July 10.

            In other business, a Notice of Intent filed by 22 Cove Street LLC was continued until July 10, and three Requests for Determination of Applicability all received Negative determinations. Those filings were: Emmanuel de Costa, 163 Cross Neck Road, for the installation of a chain link fence; Town of Marion Conservation Commission for herbicide treatment on Planting Island Road for the eradication of Japanese Knotweed; and Tabor Academy – Daggett House, 275 Front Street, for the construction of an accessibility ramp.

            The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for July 10 at 7:00 pm and will be held in the Marion Music Hall front reading room.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell

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