With humid swampy air lazily wafting across the harbor, the Notice of Intent hearing for a proposed two-lot development located deep within Haskell Swamp off Snow Field Road continued, during which engineer David Davignon presented an update on technicalities associated with stormwater flow, swamp water movement, and roadway construction practices.
Taking into consideration Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection requests to minimize wetlands disruption while providing access for traversing the swamp to reach approximately five-acres of uplands, Davignon spoke for nearly 90 minutes.
The major changes now proposed to assuage local and state wetlands and building questions were: 1) the omission of a paved cul-de-sac at the end of the public way; 2) inclusion of a cul-de-sac in the shape of a pentagon located at the end of the private driveway in the upland parcel; and 3) a decrease of approximately 3,000 square feet of wetland taking.
Davignon said soil testing of both the area where the driveway will be constructed and where recharge basins will be located were completed and ready for peer review.
For nearly 30 minutes Davignon read and clarified comments from the developer’s hydrological consultant, Terry Williams, providing layers of technical abstractions in an effort to address board members’ questions.
Chairman Tom Tucker reminded the members that a peer review consultant would be hired to assist the board through the process.
Regarding the board’s request that the fire chief weigh in on whether or not the driveway layout is sufficient to accommodate emergency vehicles, Davignon said that his client had met privately with the chief and presented an email presumably written by the chief to the client accepting the plan as submitted.
Tucker said the board needed a formal letter from the chief on department letterhead versus a cut and pasted copy of communication between the developer and the fire chief.
Tucker also said the board would need a similar sign-off from the police chief, too.
There was also a great deal of discussion regarding the topographic flatness of the swamp area; so much so that actually witnessing water flow was difficult, Davignon said. But using GIS maps and other computer programs, Williams was able to calculate the size of the culverts necessary to allow water movement in a north to south direction, given that the driveway will act as a dam.
Planning Board member Janice Robbins responded to an abutter’s question regarding how a homeowners’ association covenant would benefit the neighbors. Her response was, “Indirectly.”
Abutter David Markowski asked how long the driveway construction would take and where would the staging area be for heavy equipment. Davignon gave a ballpark of anywhere from two weeks to a month, depending on seasonal conditions. That led to more discussion of exactly how disruptive that construction phase would be. Highway Superintendent Barry Denham pointed out that equipment would likely fill up the lower end of Snow Field Road.
Denham asked Davignon for a construction proposal and some type of surety in the event that the contractors damage the public way.
With still many open-ended issues to be resolved, Davignon asked for and received a 90-day extension to the Notice of Intent filing and acknowledged that he would likely ask for a continuation after the September 3 deadline when the extension terminates.
Gail Carlson of Brandt Point Village along with several neighbors also met with the board to discuss the upcoming “drop dead” date for developer Armand Cotelleso and lender Marc Marcus of Omega Financial to complete Phase 1 of the residential development.
Carlson presented a list of additional items of incompletion and concern to a long list of things still to be done before the August 1 deadline. The new list includes no building permits displayed, no on-site sanity units for workers, construction trailer in a dilapidated condition, exposed pipes in pits, construction debris, and missing landscaping.
Tucker asked that the Board of Selectmen be apprised of the status of Phase 1 as he anticipates the necessity of putting legal actions into motion after August 1 if the developers fail to meet the deadline.
In other matters, Denham asked for a letter of support for a grant application his department is working on for securing roadway improvements associated with the construction of Phase 2 of the Mattapoisett Bike Path. The grant money would be used to make improvements to Industrial Drive and a crossing over North Street from the park-n-ride to the opposite side of North Street. Tucker and the other board members approved the request.
The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for August 6 at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.
Mattapoisett Planning Board
By Marilou Newell