Numbers Crunched for House Plan

            A Notice of Intent filed by Kenneth and Darla Parsons for the reconstruction and site plan of single-family house and garage at 27 Dexter Road was continued to September 8, but not before substantial discussion that brought out calculators during the Marion Conservation Commission’s August 25 meeting.

            At question was the 10-percent rule, its interpretation in Marion regulations, and the actual arithmetic.

            After representative Dave Davignon of Schneider, Davignon, & Leone, Inc. presented an overview of the project, “A house that I believe is less intrusive for this site,” project architect Michael Snow explained, saying that the height of the basement is a balancing act between aesthetics and FEMA regulations.

            Having visited the site with fellow commission member Mark Bellanger, Chairman Shaun Walsh called it “a pretty straightforward project.”

            The more complex discussion began when ConCom member Emil Assing sought to clarify the listed 1,063 square feet of impervious area as a total area rather than an increased area.

            Davignon said he needed to review his notes on the matter, but since the proposed surfaces under the overhangs around the house would be made of favorable materials, Davignon asserted that the garage and house should account for impervious surface on the 21,780 square-foot lot, not including the shed.

            Reading from town regulations, Walsh told the stakeholders and commissioners that one of the criteria for redevelopment of previously developed areas is that the area of proposed work cannot exceed the amount of degraded area, provided that the proposed work may alter up to 10 percent if the degraded area is less than 10 percent of the riverfront area.

            After more discussion and estimations, Walsh suggested a continuance. “We all want to be comfortable that we’re calculating it right, and there’s a little bit of math involved,” he said.

            The commission voted to continue the public hearing to September 8 at 7:00 pm.

            A Request for Determination of Applicability filed by Burr Brothers Boats, Inc. to confirm the demarcated boundary of a bordering vegetated wetland (BVW) on one lot (8) and to confirm that the only land on the 305 Front Street property subject to coastal storm flowage is confined to a different lot (2A) will remain open while an ANRAD (Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation) is also filed.

            Walsh and fellow commission members Bellanger, Cynthia Callow, and Jeff Doubrava conducted a site visit but could not understand why the wetlands flags were located where they are. Representing the applicant, Brian Madden from LEC Environmental explained that the applicant thought it better to file the RDA since the case is about more than a wetland boundary. Walsh said the commission would prefer to have wetland boundary delineation approvals done as an ANRAD.

            Pointing out that Marion does not have a conservation agent and that the volunteer commissioners are limited in skills obtained through state-run workshops, Walsh said he would like to hold another site visit where the commissioners can meet with Madden or another LEC Environmental representative for a show-and-tell on the flags. Madden was amenable and asked if the RDA should remain open.

            A conservation agent is likely to be hired by the town by the end of the year, according to Walsh, who said the RDA can remain open and that he did not consider it necessary at the time to resort to a third-party review. “I don’t think we need to go there yet,” he said, noting that the last time such an occurrence proved educational for the commissioners. “None of us are soil scientists.”

            Walsh also asked that a revised plan show the stone wall on the property. The case was continued to Wednesday, September 8, at 7:00 pm.

            An RDA was submitted by Jeffrey J. Doubrava Revocable Trust and Elizabeth M. Doubrava Revocable Trust to install a buried 500-gallon propane tank secured to a poured concrete slab on the south side of their property at 47 East Avenue. Doubrava, a member of the commission, recused himself from involvement as a commissioner for the hearing.

            The case, continued from August 25, was reviewed by Callow, who recommended a Negative 2 (storm flowage) and 3 (buffer zone) determination because none of the actions would alter protected land. The commission, minus Doubrava, voted to approve Callow’s recommendation.

            The negative determination of applicability voted for Frederick Severance’s RDA to remove a large pine tree, replace the tennis court and replace a basketball hoop, and remove invasive plants at Shell Heap Road was issued only in part. The Negative 2 applies only to areas 1, 2, and 3 of the site plan, but no determination was issued for area No. 4, the eastern portion of the site.

            While most of the plan was met favorably by the commission, Walsh told representative Brandon Faneuf that he was hesitant to allow management of vegetation in the No. 4 area of the site plan without a more comprehensive assessment.

            Two public hearings were continued without discussion at the applicants’ request to ConCom’s next meeting on September 8: John and Cynthia Paliotta, 119 Converse Road, for a land-management plan to eradicate invasive species and establish long-term health, and a Notice of Jeffrey and Elizabeth Reed, 25 Holly Road, for the removal of phragmites.

            Walsh concluded the meeting by responding to social media commentary on an Order of Conditions that ConCom issued last year on the proposed dock at 122 Register Road. “It’s frustrating to read the rather significant number of factually inaccurate and sometimes rather insulting comments,” he said. “I really wish that folks would take the time to contact the commission office – and some of them did. … Our permit has nothing to do with navigational interference or potential navigational interference in a waterway. We have to assess a project on its merits [and] whether it complies in its standards to the Wetlands Protection Act.”

            Walsh further stressed that the navigational matters are Waterways Program issues that fall under the purview of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (Chapter 91). In response to those concerns, the applicant agreed to amend the design and return to the Conservation Commission for approval on the changes.

            Doubrava said it’s not difficult to read the legal notices in The Wanderer. “I read them every week,” he said. Walsh reminded meeting attendees that The Wanderer is accessible in full at

            The next meeting of the Marion Conservation Commission is scheduled for Wednesday, September 8, at 7:00 pm.

Marion Conservation Commission

By Mick Colageo

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