“Mattapoisett doesn’t have a wetlands bylaw,” stated Brandon Faneuf, acting environmental agent for the town.
Faneuf’s comment during the September 26 public meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission came on the heels of the discussion of several outstanding Enforcement Orders that the commission has issued in the hope that complaints would be rectified by property owners in violation of the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act.
Mattapoisett falls under the governance of the WPA, which includes such areas as flood zones, bordering vegetated wetlands, barrier beaches, marshlands, rivers and shorelines, vernal pools and much more.
The commission was wrapping up its Monday night meeting as the members discussed if further action or what action was needed for two Enforcement Orders that have been issued.
But first, on a positive note, a request by the commission for WPA conformity issued to the Sylvias for property located at 41 Cove Street was reported by the owner to be moving along as planned, including requests made by the commission.
That was not the case for property located at Pico Beach Road, owned by the Franceschinas. Nearly a year ago, the commission received a complaint of unpermitted cutting along a beach area. Promises were made, but to date, the owners have neither repaired damage identified by the commission nor filed for a permit.
Acting Conservation Commission Chairman Barry Lima asked Faneuf what course of action the commission should be considering. Faneuf made the comment that in the absence of a local wetlands-protection bylaw, Mattapoisett could appeal the case to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which has the authority to impose fines if the state elects to take on the Enforcement Order. The commission determined that it would send another letter to the Franceschinas, notifying the applicant of possible next steps to MassDEP if the matter continues to be ignored.
Continued again was a Request for Determination of Applicability filed by James Barnes, 69 Mattapoisett Neck Road, for the installation of an irrigation well. A lack of representation or presence of the applicant to respond to commission inquiries made a continuation to October 11 necessary.
A RDA filed by the Mattapoisett Land Trust for the installation of a memorial bench at the end of Angelica Avenue received a negative decision.
Also receiving a negative decision for a filed RDA was Stephen Cook for 0 North Road. This continued filing, represented by David Davignon of Schneider, Davignon & Leone, Inc., centered around whether a resource area on the opposite side of Aucoot Road was connected to the property on North Road, thus placing North Road in a more restrictive category. Faneuf confirmed the wetlands in question are not jurisdictional. The plan includes brush clearing for soil evaluations, percolation testing and to conduct a topographical survey.
An after-the-fact Notice of Intent filing by Douglas King, 0 Union Road, for a crushed-stone parking area adjacent to a barrier beach was represented by Braman Surveying & Associates, LLC. Faneuf said the entire area is a resource area, given that it abuts a barrier beach and also includes marsh areas, but that it was up to the commission to allow the parking area to remain or have the applicant remove it.
One resident from the beach neighborhood, Carol McIntyre of 5 Channel Street, voiced concern that if the parking area is allowed to remain in place, other people might do the same thing, skirting commission oversight.
McIntyre said that the private road was being encroached upon by the graveled parking area and that everyone in the private community owns the roadways therein, but the commission believed that having the disturbed area returned to a prior condition would create a greater disturbance. The filing and parking area were accepted as presented.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for Tuesday, October 11, at 6:30 pm.
Mattapoisett Conservation Commission
By Marilou Newell