Two Notice of Intent applications heard during the Marion Conservation Commission’s November 3 validated the town’s investment in consulting services and ultimately the hiring of Conservation Agent Doug Guey Lee.
After several months of continued public hearings, two site visits by commission members, consultation with town-contracted wetlands scientist Bob Gray and recent revisions on September 13, Gray filed an October 23 letter with the commission indicating his own satisfaction with John and Cynthia Paliotta’s land-management plan to eradicate invasive plants at 119 Converse Road.
The vote of the commission to grant the Paliottas an Order of Conditions culminated what amounted to a one-and-done with Gray, seeing that by the time his work was finished the town had hired Guey Lee in the dual role of conservation agent and town planner.
Conservation Commission Chairman Shaun Walsh was nonetheless pleased to have gone through the experience of working with Gray and by extension the Paliottas, noting ConCom established a rapport with the applicant. “I think we’re in a really good place right now with the revisions that were made,” said Walsh.
Noting that there was no new information to introduce to the process, Walsh recommended the commissioners vote to close the public hearing. He said that, at least in his tenure as chairman, this was the first time that ConCom had hired an outside consultant and called it “an excellent experience.”
Given the floor, Gray concurred, calling it “a good experience working with the commission members. I’m happy that you now have a new agent, and I think you’re in good hands.” Gray referenced his report and asked for questions.
The work, taking place in a salt marsh, was only allowed to be permitted as a Ecological Restoration Project (ERP) and during the next three years will include the occasional removal of invasive species sprouting up after initial removal.
The commissioners were satisfied and voted unanimously in favor of the Order of Conditions.
Guey Lee’s impact was felt more directly on the case of Todd Zell’s NOI that sought approval to install a water-quality inlet on a stormceptor discharge pipe to service a proposed commercial development on Village Drive.
Representative Ken Motta explained that, as a 40B project (Sippican Village), commercial usage is allowed as a matter of right on the first floor and one apartment on the second floor. Walsh said that, driving by the wooden area between the Brew Fish restaurant and parking lot, one wouldn’t suspect that the lot is buildable but it is in fact.
In answer to a question from ConcCom member Jeff Doubrava, Motta said the intention has been to duplicate the plan approved in 2013, but he added that work may wind up commencing within the buffer zone in the small corner of the lot.
Concurring with Doubrava’s observation, Walsh said the commission needs more information on proposed elevation upgrades within the buffer zone and said that adding fill there would require a Special Permit. The NOI, the commission contends, does not explicitly address action relevant to ConCom’s purview.
Motta reiterated that the application intends to seek approval of what was already approved in 2013, albeit via different applicant.
Based on Doubrava’s observation and with assistance from Guey Lee, Walsh understood that the proposed stormceptor would convey stormwater into a stormwater detention basin located within the buffer zone, and that requires permitting.
ConCom voted to grant an Order of Conditions matching in detail the OOC granted in 2013.
Jay Flanagan filed a NOI for septic upgrade and garage additions at 26 West Avenue.
After representative Dave Davignon of Schneider, Davignon & Leone Inc., presented the proposed plan, Walsh told him that, while the site visit did not reveal any unsightly matters pertaining to the septic, the situation is far from desirable with a drainage pipe exiting near the base of the seawall.
Minus a state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) file number, the case would necessarily be continued, but Walsh nonetheless asked Davignon to investigate the track and purpose of the drainage pipe.
“When we were out there, there was no liquid coming out of the pipe, nor did there appear to be any kind of scouring or erosion on the beach either, which is obviously a good sign, but … I would ask if you would take a look at that (pipe),” said Walsh. “I certainly hope it has nothing to so with the cesspool, and I don’t think it does. … Obviously, whenever we see a pipe exiting out through a seawall or a bank to a coastal-beach area, that gives us pause.”
Davignon said he check the catch basin to see if it contains any kind of outflow pipe.
Overall, Walsh called the project “a huge improvement,” citing the danger of a “very old” cesspool so close to a beach.
The garage expansion is 4 feet to the west, and the deck would extend an additional 6 feet beyond the expansion of the garage.
A direct abutter told the meeting that the applicant had not shared any information to date and expressed concern that the road and overhead wires would potentially sustain damage during construction.
Walsh explained that ConCom’s jurisdiction is limited to wetlands and any area within 100 feet of wetlands to examine potential impacts. He advised the abutter that the property association is the proper forum to discuss the presented concerns.
Another abutter, Elizabeth Luther, asked if the leaching field would change the contours of the land and result in runoff heading toward her property. Walsh complimented the question but said the plan indicates no regrading of the area in question. Davignon concurred on both fronts and further explained the details of the plan.
Flanagan bought property in May 2021, prior owner had a similar plan but didn’t follow through before the sale.
The hearing was continued to ConCom’s November 17 meeting.
J. Thomas Bowler Jr. and Ellen Bowler’s NOI for vegetation management at 7 Moorings Road was represented by Wilkinson Ecological and, after separate site visits by several commissioners, was considered by Walsh to be “a plan that will dramatically improve the area.”
A prior NOI for the same site resulted in demolition of an old house and construction of a new house. Asking for revisions to the present NOI, ConCom voted to continue the public hearing to November 17.
John and Pamela Lees, who filed a NOI for reconstruction of a single-family house, an inground swimming pool, along with repair of a seawall with associated work at 49 Water Street, requested a continuance. The commissioners voted to continue to their November 17 meeting.
In outlining special conditions for stormwater management, Guey Lee recommended the commission include maintenance stipulations with the commission’s vote to award Burr Brothers Boatyard, 309 Front Street, a full Certificate of Compliance. Those measures will address the maintenance of the pocket wetlands at the site.
ConCom also voted a full Certificate of Compliance to Robert and Joan Wilson, 43 Holly Road, for their new septic system originally permitted several years ago.
The Marion Conservation Commission is next scheduled to meet on Wednesday, November 17, at 7:00 pm.
Marion Conservation Commission
By Mick Colageo