Subdivision Hinges on Stormwater Control

            As is the case on many local boards and commissions, those volunteering their time to aid municipalities in such important matters as subdivisions do not always possess technical backgrounds or experience in complicated issues such as soil analysis or threshold rainfall depth for groundwater saturation. Yet, given sufficient total immersion through the public vetting process, crash courses if you will, these board and commission members absorb knowledge. And then there are the peer review consultants who are hired by the Town and paid for by the applicant to oversee weighty technical matters on behalf of the towns.

            But some town board volunteers are, in fact, lawyers, contractors, and engineers bringing with them vast understanding and experiences; thus, the ability to grapple with construction-related impacts on neighboring lands.

            That was the case on February 4 when the Mattapoisett Planning Board invited Richard Rheaume of Prime Engineering to informally discuss, one more time, Scott Snow’s proposed Form C Subdivision Plan for parcels off Prospect Road now dubbed Eldridge Estates.

            Snow and Rheaume have both been before the Planning Board during previous meetings going back nearly a year. With each meeting, the applicant and his representative have presented at least two subdivision conceptual layouts, finally deciding on the one that will ultimately see the property divided into five lots – three existing and two new.

            The topic of stormwater runoff has been a slippery one for Rheaume, with the primary issue of rainfall saturation and runoff including methods for calculating water flow being questioned by board member Nathan Ketchell, himself a civil engineer.

            As the other board members listened intently, Rheaume explained how he had used two methods to demonstrate that the stormwater runoff from the proposed subdivision would not increase the amount of water flowing across abutting properties via a stormwater management system.

            Rheamue said he had used Technical Paper 40 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and other methods also recognized by NOAA, for the purposes of hydrological modeling of 100-year storms and other timeframes.

            Rheamue explained that with the NOAA model, in a 24-hour period, during a 100-year storm, 8.42 inches of rain would be discharged from the Prospect Road subdivision, while the TP40 standard calculated the rate to be 7 inches.

            Rheamue also said that such matters would be further studied by the Conservation Commission when the application came before that governing body. He explained that the plans included the construction of a swale along the southerly edge of the property to deflect stormwater running in that direction to a detention pond.

            For more than an hour, Ketchell and Rheamue discussed water flow, with Rheamue concurring that stormwater would not necessarily increase but that flow would; therefore, it would be collected in the detention pond where it could be discharged slowly into the ground. He also said that any existing stormwater problems on abutting properties would not be solved with stormwater plans being drawn-up for his client’s project.

            Planning Board Administrator Mary Crain said that G.A.F. Engineering would be the peer review consultant for Snow’s filing.

            A date of March 4 was set for the applicant to return with a plan of record and the formal public hearing is planned for March 18 if the applicant files in time. The project was granted an extension until March 31.

            Also coming before the Planning Board was David Andrews of Bay Club, LLC with a request to extend the existing roadway covenant that is expiring.

            This time board member Janice Robbins, an attorney with a background in real estate law, questioned the language in the covenant and wondered how the Planning Board could grant the request in the absence of technical reports on the completion of the roads in questions.

            There was some discussion on the manner in which the massive subdivision’s documents were executed with Andrews saying that former Highway Surveyor Wes Bowman and former Water and Sewer Superintend Nick Nicholson had overseen the roadway construction for years. Crain said that more recently the current department heads had been following up, but that written reports were not submitted.

            In the end, Robbins was successful in gaining an agreement that six lots would be held versus two as part of the awarded extension.

            The board members also confirmed a previously agreed upon surety reduction for the Bay Club neighborhood of Shagbark from $250,000 to $50,000.

            And lastly, Crain said that the Split Rock neighborhood within the Bay Club subdivision was not up for renewal or extension until later this year.

            The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for March 4 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell

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