Front Street Wetlands Slated for Restoration

Ann Severance of 20 Front Street has begun the process of rectifying a list of violations of the Order of Conditions the Marion Conservation Commission issued in 2002. Severance has hired wetlands scientist Brandon Faneuf to devise a wetlands restoration plan, and Faneuf spoke before the commission on January 10 looking for direction before undertaking the project.

The discussion was an informal one, but with Severance present in the audience, Faneuf attempted to move the conversation past what happened at the site while contractors and landscapers performed work outside the scope of the permit.

“I’m here to hopefully start again, fresh with me on the job,” said Faneuf, who has visited the site and now has the Enforcement Order the commission issued some weeks ago.

Faneuf was tasked with drafting a restoration plan by December 27, but had only recently been hired to review the information during the holidays. He “humbly” asked for an extension until February 14, which was granted.

“Plantings aren’t going to be going in any time soon, assuming that is part of the plan,” said acting Chairman Jeffrey Doubrava. “I have no problem with that.”

Faneuf will have to consult with G.A.F. Engineering, the firm that devised the plan of record in the original Order of Conditions.

“We’re looking for not only areas that were altered on the site to be restored, but the final approved plans laid out what should be out there,” said commission member Shaun Walsh. “And the commission identified a number of areas where there are apparent deviations from that final Order of Conditions and final approved plans.”

Walsh continued, “We’re looking to make sure that the permit is followed, and any areas where there has been something constructed or altered that is different from the plan of record should be identified, and proposed corrections should be submitted to the commission.”

Some of those details, however, won’t be easily remedied. For example, one of the corners of the house was built “a little off” from where it was proposed on the plan.

The commission agreed that it wouldn’t be feasible to have someone move a house, “But things that can be corrected and should be corrected should be identified,” said Walsh.

One example would be the driveway, which Walsh said should have been pervious. It appears, however, that the driveway was paved with asphalt and then covered with stone.

“Oh, that’s interesting,” said Faneuf.

The Conservation Commission already has a “pretty thick file” on the property and abutting properties as well. Walsh recommended that Faneuf come by the Conservation Department office and review the file.

Some abutters had gone through the permitting process for invasive species in some wetlands on their properties, yet some of the work done on Severance’s property was the cutting back of invasives without a permit.

If the idea was to go in and remove invasives, as Severance’s neighbor to the south did after Conservation Commission approval, said Walsh, “This wasn’t a foreign concept to [Severance].”

Walsh was critical of the landscaper, who he said should have had enough experience to know that work within jurisdictional wetlands is not allowed without following an Order of Conditions.”

“One doesn’t just go in under the interest of removing invasive species … [and] cut … seed, and compost,” said Walsh. “That is clearly an activity that altered a jurisdictional wetlands area.”

Faneuf said that in addition to restoring the wetlands that were altered, the intent would be to seek permission to control invasive vegetation, as well.

The commission continued the discussion until February 14, when at that time it would review Faneuf’s draft restoration plan.

Also during the meeting, the commission issued an Order of Conditions to the Town of Marion Department of Public Works for the construction of a water main on County Road between Point Road and Blackmore Pond Road and the installation of a meter vault.

The water main will service the Town of Wareham as an emergency event water supply and will be funded by the Town of Wareham.

The hearing was continued from December 27 to allow for one last abutter to be properly notified. Although the notification was sent via certified mail to the abutter on December 29, a certified mail receipt was never received.

“So you have evidence that you mailed it to them,” said Walsh. “It doesn’t require that they actually sign for it, and you did get the green card back, which typically happens.”

Walsh and the commission believed that the notification attempt complied with the legal requirements, despite proof of receipt.

“Otherwise, we’ll be held hostage,” said Hartley.

In other matters, Doubrava said, as the representative of the Conservation Commission at the table of the recently formed Stewards of Open Space Committee, he would be visiting and inspecting 13 town properties either under the ownership of the Conservation Commission or properties to which the commission holds conservation restrictions.

Some of the properties, Doubrava said, are relatively easy to access, but a few of them – specifically 10 parcels at Aucoot Cove and one off Point Road – are not going to be easy to traverse.

Doubrava said the site inspections are part of a joint effort of the Stewards of Open Space Committee, which will result in a detailed map of all Marion recreational and conservation properties and those entities that currently oversee them.

Annual inspections by each overseeing entity will ensue once the inventory is completed.

The commission continued the public hearing for Matthew Messina’s Request for Determination of Applicability pertaining to the repair of 30 feet of a rip-rap seawall and the filling in of sink holes, which have formed due to problems with the seawall at 98 Moorings Road. The commission asked that Messina add an additional flag to the site to mark out where the actual work would be occurring. The hearing was continued until January 24.

The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for January 24 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Jean Perry


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