Members Discuss List of Wetlands Violations

Kicking off the long-ish list of wetlands violations in town up for discussion, the Marion Conservation Commission on November 29 voted in favor of issuing an Enforcement Order to Ann Severance of 20 Front Street after the commission members during a recent site visit noted “numerous egregious wetland violations,” as commission member Shaun Walsh stated.

Walsh ran down the history of the property, which began with a Notice of Intent (NOI) filed by the property owner back in 2001. After numerous public hearings, the NOI received an Order of Conditions (OOC) in 2002 from the commission, which abutters ultimately appealed to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection. The DEP then issued a superseding Order of Conditions in the summer of 2003, which abutters again appealed but then withdrew.

Walsh also pointed out that the NOI covered not only 20 Front Street but also three other lots as well, with most of that NOI having to do with establishing a walking path to an existing tennis court.

Walsh said the OOC “required some pretty extensive wetlands replication [and] restoration management work,” with some minor alterations of wetlands at the site associated with the establishment of the walking path.

Walsh recommended issuing an Enforcement Order, of which he presented a draft to the commission.

The Enforcement Order addresses a list of conditions that were violated that resulted in unpermitted activities, and Severance is ordered to hire a wetlands scientist and file a Restoration Plan with the commission no later than December 27. Re-vegetation is ordered to begin no earlier than April 15, 2018, after the frost, and be completed no later than June 1, 2018.

“This is not appealable to the DEP,” added Walsh. “They’d have to appeal it to the Superior Court.”

Another possible wetlands violation was reported on what was initially described as some tree clearing off Jenney Lane at The Cove, next to the turtle garden (habitat restoration) that the Town allowed on Town-owned land at the site.

The landscaper hired to cut back the open meadow there, however, allegedly over-cut grassy areas and brush where the permit did not allow clearing.

“My opinion is there is nothing we can do about this at this point,” said commission member Jeffrey Doubrava.

The Cove’s permit is up for renewal in 2018. This cutting is something that should be considered, said Doubrava.

Walsh said the area to be cut is clearly marked, so whoever hires the landscaper and oversees the activity is responsible for communicating where cutting is allowed.

“This has always been an issue as to where they cut and where they don’t,” said ConCom Chairman Cynthia Callow. “They always do not do it correctly, but I don’t know if it is their fault.”

Continuing with possible wetlands violations, the commission turned its attention to the very end of Converse Point where wetlands may (or may not) have been filled.

Callow said, not knowing whether the ‘fill’ was caused by “human hands or nature’s hands,” according to a prior OOC issued, erosion control measures should be present, which are not.

“It looks disturbed,” said Doubrava, “I don’t know if it’s been filled.” He mentioned there was a post on Facebook about the matter, alleging that someone had been “filling in skating pond.”

The commission already issued a letter and scheduled a site visit for early next month.

Rounding out the violation list, someone has been allegedly dumping cobblestone to shore up a seawall at 98 Moorings Road. The commission is investigating the allegation.

Also during the meeting, the commission heard from two applicants – Dale Jones and Tad Magauran – for one associate conservation commission position. Saying that they liked both applicants and that both were suitable, the commission members decided to submit a letter to the Board of Selectmen making no recommendation of either applicant, leaving it entirely up to the selectmen.

“I personally cannot pick right now,” said Callow. “I think you’re both wonderful.”

Under discussion, Tabor Academy reports a number of sinkholes by a seawall at the campus. The commission advised that Tabor solicit the expertise of an engineer and that any work to occur in that area would require a filing with the commission.

In other matters, the commission granted a Positive Determination for Stephen and Jane McCarthy’s Determination of Applicability for 43 Dexter Road. The public hearing had been continued from November 8. The Positive Determination means a Notice of Intent would be required before any future work could be done.

The public hearing for a RDA for Great Hill for vista pruning was again continued until December 13.

The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for December 13 at 7:00 pm at the Marion Town House.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Jean Perry


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