New Fire Station Plans Conditionally Approved

            Abutters were out in force on November 18 when the Mattapoisett Planning Board held the Site Plan Review for Mattapoisett’s new fire station planned for 64 County Road next to the existing police station.

            Engineer Katie Enright, architect and project manager Chris Logan, and the Mattapoisett Fire Station Building Committee Chairman Michael Hickey presented the details for the first time to residents learning the full scope of the work, which includes adequate lighting for traffic management on Route 6, and measures needed to ensure that fire trucks could enter and exit the site safely.

            Hickey explained that at the October Special Town Meeting, voters moved to pay the town’s portion of the price tag attached to installing traffic signals on Route 6 for the new fire station, but just what that price tag will be is currently unknown.

            “It’s a very long process,” Hickey told the Planning Board, adding that presently there was a “disconnect” regarding just what final costs would total. “We don’t know what the state is going to require,” he said, in terms of the lighting design, thereby making cost estimations at this time impossible.

            Hickey also said that the town had applied for a grant to cover the majority of expenses, and that the town’s share was approximately 10 percent of the unknown total.

            The topic of a new drainage system at the site was discussed for more than an hour, as Enright explained the plans that include capturing drainage from the police station, new fire station site, Hubbard’s Way, and the skate park.

            A detention pond on the site will receive all drainage and then slowly infiltrate the stormwater into the ground. Enright assured all that the new drainage system will “vastly improve current conditions,” conditions that currently discharge stormwater via a large pipe into wetlands that then drain into the Pepper Bush neighborhood.

            Enright said that soils at the bottom of the detention pond location were analyzed and found to be adequate for retaining and then recharging stormwater into the ground. She said, however, there would also be a control valve that could be manually activated if the pond neared capacity and wasn’t operating properly. She stressed that the town must maintain the pond, and that the task would most likely fall to the Highway Department.

            Some abutters were not convinced.

            Mike Donovan, 3 Pepper Bush Lane, expressed concerns about drainage problems in the neighborhood and laid the blame at several developed parcels along Route 6.

            Enright once again explained the new system and its ability to improve drainage from the fire station site.

            David Fuerman, 7 Pepper Bush Lane, asked, “Why can’t you catch the water and pipe it down to the creek?”

            Enright said that such practices were prohibited and that it wouldn’t improve matters in the neighborhood, whereas the engineered system would slow down water flow, giving it the opportunity to be absorbed into the ground.

            Fuerman concluded that water problems in his area were caused by water flowing as far away at the closed town dump, the Bay Club, a funeral home, and the condominium complex The Villages at Mattapoisett.

            Casey Ferreira, another engineer from Howard Stein Hudson, said, “With every new project there are new problems,” but that every project must prove it will produce less water, not more.

            The Planning Board, however, was in agreement that the drainage plan as presented was an improvement. The board conditionally approved the site plan contingent upon some minor language changes and notations in editorial subtexts.

            The approval now allows the team to submit permit requests to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation for curb cuts on Route 6. Hickey stated that the traffic lights are a separate permitting process from the curb cut.

            In other business, the withdrawal of a subdivision plan and Approval Not Required application for property owned by Jay and Julie Duker, 112 Aucoot Road, was thoroughly reviewed after a presentation by engineer Matthew Leone. Leone said that his clients wanted to have a driveway accepted as a way, thereby giving the Dukers the latitude of 125 feet of road frontage, which their legally non-conforming developed lot does not contain.

            Then ensued a debate between Leone and Planning Board member Janice Robbins as to whether or not such a request was legal, given that the driveway belonged to the Doran family and that they, the owners of record, were not part of the application.

            Abutters Brad Hathaway and his daughter, Jane, questioned why the Dukers needed frontage when their home was accessed over the Doran driveway via an easement. Leone stated that the Dukers did not want to apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals each time they wished to make a modification on their lot. But Robbins said, “They don’t have a problem,” and added that she had spoken to Marjorie Doran, relaying, “She does not agree with this.”

            The Planning Board unanimously declined to approve the application, citing that the driveway did not meet roadway specifications.

            A meeting with the condominium association for The Villages at Mattapoisett was continued until December 16 to give the association’s chairman, Steve Pickup, the opportunity to submit a detention pond maintenance manual and service reports. The association is asking for the return of a $50,000 “emergency repair work” surety for their stormwater drainage system.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for December 2 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

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