Out Like a Lamb

In a year that found the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission tasked with a variety of extremely complex jurisdictional cases – at times pitting neighbor against neighbor, and applicant against commissioner, or vice versa – the last meeting for 2017 started and ended as gently as a softly bleating lamb.

On December 11, the cases heard and applications discussed were discharged with civil discourse.

Once again coming before the commissioners was David Davignon of N. Douglas Schneider & Associates representing David Arsenault for a two-lot subdivision proposed deep within wetlands commonly referred to as Haskell’s Swamp at the end of Snow Fields Road.

The five-acre uplands parcel situated within the wetlands had previously spurred several lengthy and hotly debated sessions as Davignon detailed the roadway plans.

Abutters had come out in force questioning how a roadway could be built into wetlands, the impact such a roadway would have on their property, and the environmental impact both short-term and long-term.

Some abutters also voiced concerns about the ability of emergency vehicles to respond to the two homes planned, given that subsequent iterations of conceptual designs changed the roadway to a common driveway.

The switch from a roadway to a common driveway had the effect of shedding the Planning Board’s required oversight in terms of width access surface and construction materials.

On this night, abutters’ questions were subdued as Davignon explained the current status of the project.

First, though, Chairman Michael King advised everyone that three requests for quotation (RFQ) had been received for a peer review consulting engineer who would be charged with evaluating existing drainage calculations executed by the applicant’s engineers.

King said that two of the three firms had to be disqualified based on conflicts of interest either with the applicant or with the commission, leaving one firm in the running – Zenith Consulting Engineering of Lakeville.

When asked by abutters what ZCE would be doing, Davignon explained that they would be reviewing pre-existing computer modeling reports that modeled how water would flow or flood during storm events after the proposed driveway and culverts were constructed.

Davignon also shared that reports from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and various other environment impact study agencies were still pending, but he was optimistic that those would be received sometime in January.

King said a site walk was scheduled for state and federal agencies including the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission, but that the general public most likely would not be invited onto the private property due to liability issues.

King also assured those in attendance that the commissioners would not “get into any debate or discussion until we have all the parts.”

The hearing was continued until January 8.

Receiving an Order of Conditions was an application filed by Debra Blais, 44 Pico Beach Road, for a vegetation management plan that included a fire pit and sitting area along a coastal beach.

A Negative Determination of Applicability was issued to Richard Gordon, 54 Prince Snow Circle, for the installation of a rail and post fence. Also receiving a Negative Determination was an application filed by Highlander Nominee Trust, Robert Inches, 14 Ned’s Point Road, for a deck expansion.

James Babbitt, Jr., 40 Marion Road, filed a Notice of Intent and received an Order of Conditions for the construction of a 15-foot by 30-foot boat storage shed to be attached to the existing dwelling.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission is scheduled for January 8 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell


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