Flood Zone Bylaw at Issue at ConCom Hearing

The Marion Conservation Commission had a full agenda on September 26 with a number of applications mostly dispensed without much fanfare, with the exception of the application for razing a house off Converse Road.

Nick Dufresne of Farland Corp. presented the Notice of Intent on behalf of Mark Ross of 195c Converse Road. The proposal is to raze an existing house on the lot, which is located at the end of a right of way, and replace it with a new home.

Commission members visited the site to review the wetland line, which was delineated by Brandon Faneuf of Ecosystem Solutions in February. Conservation Commission Chairman Jeffrey Doubrava asked if there were soil logs to substantiate the wetland line, data which Dufresne did not have.

“To be quite honest, the line seems either incredibly optimistic or arbitrary to me,” said Doubrava. “I could not convince myself there was any difference between the land landward and seaward – I could argue [the line] was 20 yards landward of where it was supposed to be.” He stated that the line appeared to be the limit of mowing, which looks as though it has been mowed for many years.

Member Cynthia Callow supported this idea, saying, “The groundcover looks a lot like salt marsh … work has been done that should not have occurred.”

At issue further was the reconstruction of the home in the velocity zone. Doubrava informed Dufresne that there is a town bylaw that requires new construction to occur in the A zone, if possible. Dufresne countered that if the structure was to be built in the A zone then they could not abide by the setback requirements.

“I’m not an attorney, but that’s actually contemplated in the bylaw if you need a variance to build in the A zone,” said Doubrava.

Dufresne said that he had already received setback relief from the building commissioner for the front property lines and had not been told anything about this particular issue.

Callow expressed her concern that the commission cannot rule against an existing town bylaw, while ConCom member Shaun Walsh suggested Dufresne speak with the building commissioner again and ask for a written opinion about the bylaw in question.

In the meantime, the commission will meet with Faneuf regarding the wetland line at their next scheduled site inspection.

Also during the meeting, Alan Harris of the Sippican Lands Trust received a Negative Determination for his RDA application to maintain a portion of an existing stone walking path to Brainard Marsh. The proposal is to place woodchips over a 60-yard stretch of the path, and to clear the encroaching vegetation, including invasive species. Harris noted this is a temporary solution, and the Land Trust plans to put a boardwalk in the location in the future as funds allow.

In other matters, David Davignon, of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates, sent a letter to the commission regarding the request for a Certificate of Compliance for an Order of Conditions for Copper Medal LLC. The certificate was for the completed 4-foot by 303-foot Association pier at 125 and 129 Converse Road. Davignon stated in his letter that the pier was constructed substantially as shown on the plan of record; therefore, the commission granted the Certificate of Compliance.

Ed O’Connell, chairman of the Indian Cove Trust, presented a RDA for the mowing of a 6-foot wide walking path along Stoney Brook. The mowing has occurred for the last 35 years with no permit. Member Joel Hartley noted that the old permit allowed a 3-foot wide path, but 6 feet seemed reasonable considering the current concern about Lyme disease. O’Connell was granted a Negative determination.

James Miranda asked for permission to park and store equipment behind a building located at 133 Wareham Street. The commission had concerns about maintaining permanent markers for the location of the limit of activity on this site. A Negative determination was granted with the express condition that Miranda install and maintain a row of permanent metal stakes a minimum of 30 feet from the wetland line, 8 feet apart and 4 feet high, beyond which activity is prohibited.

Christine Blindt received a Negative determination for her proposed 14-foot by 19-foot sundeck at 2 Harnum Way.

Chairman of the Marion Open Space and Acquisition Commission John Rockwell presented the results of the 2017 Open Space survey.

The survey was sent to all registered voters in town and received a 46 percent response rate. He drew the commission’s attention particularly to question 14, which asks what type of open space and recreation is important, to which harbor water quality was the predominant response.

Rockwell noted that the Conservation Commission knows best that, “What happens on the land ends up in the water.” The two biggest pollutants Marion contends with in its harbor are bacteria and nitrogen.

The biggest problem facing Marion marine resources is pollution from run-off. Rockwell pointed out that the run-off from the commercial areas in Marion goes directly into the state stormwater system, which flows directly into the harbor without any treatment. He stated that pollution reduction is more effective at the source, rather than at the point of discharge.

Rockwell also expressed disappointment that the number of respondents supportive of a local wetland bylaw has declined, with an increased number of people who have no opinion on the matter. He stated that education can go a long way to make the connection between an individual’s behavior and water quality in the harbor.

The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for October 10 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Sarah French Storer


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