William Saunders’ good intentions at 50 County Road have not panned out as planned over the past quarter-century of operation, and to that end, a Notice of Intent was filed with the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission proposing the replacement of the Saunders-Dwyer Mattapoisett Funeral Home’s parking lot and a significant upgrade to the stormwater management system.
There was no debate during the commission’s February 22 Zoom meeting over the project’s merits, laid out in a detailed presentation by representative Dave Davignon of Schneider, Davignon, and Leone Inc. The concern was brought to bear by southerly neighbors.
Caty and David Fuerman, who live in the cul de sac at the northern end of Pepperbush Lane, don’t want to see the buffer between their back yard and the funeral home disappear completely.
“We live south of there and so do our neighbors,” said Caty Fuerman. “Part of the construction was a barrier…. If there is something that could be done to protect the area south…”
The arborvitaes originally planted overgrew and overtook the area, growing up to 25 and 35 feet high. They hid the pond, which was not maintained. The Fuermans are hoping their removal will not end there.
The funeral home, located at 50 County Road, has been operating with the same parking lot since 1996. Not only the parking lot needs replacement, but the retention pond that was meant to catch stormwater needs to be rehabilitated.
“The pond holds water most of the year…. It’s a mosquito magnet; we’re looking to correct that,” said Davignon, who indicated that existing stumps will be ground down to below grade but will not be excavated so as not to destabilize the banks. “The end product will be a nice looking pond that will function tremendously better than what it’s doing today.”
The parking lot has 64 spaces, requiring a well-planned drainage system, and Davignon plans a deep sump catch basin with a forebay to recharge the groundwater as regulations require.
The footprints of the parking lot and the pond will remain the same.
ConCom Chairman Mike King praised the two-step system, calling it “excellent.” Another member of the commission complemented Davignon on his flagging for the site visit.
Given the history of lack of maintenance, the Fuermans articulated concern that there is no mechanism whereby future maintenance can be ensured.
“At some level, it’s out of our purview … but knowing the Saunders wanting to be good neighbors … I think that was the original intent of the arborvitaes,” said King.
Davignon suggested that the commission has the ability to condition a certificate of compliance, so the owner is not required to continue filing permits just to do the right thing by providing scheduled maintenance to the area.
“Great idea,” said King. “That will help address the concerns brought forth by the Fuermans.”
ConCom voted to continue the public hearing to Monday, March 8.
In another new case, Tim Dexter filed a Request for Determination of Applicability on behalf of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for proposed work at the intersection of Fairhaven Road and River Road.
David Goldstein, the environmental analyst at MassDOT, represented Dexter’s application. The timeline could see construction begin as early as spring 2022 and completion as early as fall 2023. “It will depend on how many crews we have available. It will require no closers or detours. The sidewalk area will be closed,” said Goldstein.
The floor was opened for public comment, and Marilou Newell, chairman of the Mattapoisett Historical Commission, told ConCom that the Historical Commission has a plaque at the Herring Run, and at the base of the plaque are commemorative bricks. “So, we want to ensure that any work won’t involve that area. It doesn’t appear as though it will, but if it should, would they have to come back with any conditions?” Newell specified that she was speaking in the meeting only in her role as chairman of the Historical Commission (see editor’s note).
King said the project, filed solely as an RDA, is exempt because MassDOT is a state agency and told the meeting, “We would anticipate because it’s an RDA, issuing a Negative 3 Determination with notice to the office prior to the commencement of the work.”
Goldstein was not aware of the plaque or bricks, but he invited Newell to send him an email highlighting the concern, and he, in turn, would forward the email to his project manager. “Hopefully, that gets worked down the chain when the work begins.” Goldstein stopped short of a promise because his involvement will be limited when construction takes place.
As King anticipated, ConCom unanimously voted a Negative 3 Determination with notice to the office prior to the work’s commencement.
A Notice of Intent filed by Armand Cortellesso/Brandt Point Builders LLC proposing the construction of a single-family home on a slab within the 100-foot buffer to bordering vegetated wetlands was presented by Al Loomis of McKenzie Engineering and, per rules for new NOI hearings, voted for a continuance to March 8.
The NOI filed by Matthew Considine and Alex Monreal for landscape improvement at 20 North Street, including removing trees inside the buffer zone, was presented by Davignon and continued to March 8.
Three other continued public hearings and a request for a certificate of compliance were continued without discussion.
Conservation Agent Liz Leidhold reported that ConCom should expect to see a revised plan from Randall Lane Solar.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for Monday, March 8, at 6:30 pm.
Editor’s Note: Marilou Newell is a regular contributor to The Wanderer.
Mattapoisett Conservation Commission
By Mick Colageo