Wetlands Violation Found at Indian Cove

On September 4, Marion Conservation Commission Chairman Jeff Doubrava joined the Mattapoisett Conservation Agent Elizabeth Leidhold at the site of the former Aucoot Cove Marina, now known as Indian Cove.

Ruth Nicolaci, a resident of the waterfront neighborhood, had contacted Marion’s ConCom with concerns over the widening of a footpath leading to the water’s edge. The officials, upon their site visit, also found a boardwalk and floating platform that had been constructed over and in marshlands without permits. Doubrava contacted Leidhold after he determined that the majority of the area in question was, in fact, located in Mattapoisett.

During the September 10 meeting of the Mattapoisett Conversation Commission, Leidhold presented photographic evidence of the offending structure that included a wooden walkway leading to a floating dock and a wide footpath.

Mattapoisett Conservation Commission Chairman Mike King said, “This is not in compliance and is a hazard.” He said that a storm could easily dislodge the wooden structures, sending them sailing through the air or floating further into the sensitive marshlands.

King asked Leidhold to send a letter to the Indian Cove Association asking them to appear before the Mattapoisett ConCom to discuss removal of the unpermitted structure and damage to the marshlands from the expansion of the footpath and to file a Notice of Intent.

In other business, Alan Ewing of Ewing Associates, along with attorney Peter Paul, representing John and Roger Gibbons, returned to the commission with a new plan for record for the paving of Foster Street, a section of which the applicants own.

Ewing presented plans for the replacement of an inadequate stormwater drainage system under the roadway and the placement of rubberized speed bumps.

King said he had visited the site concluding, “I saw nothing that would give me concern in doing my job,” as he continued to support the filing.

During previous meetings, King stated that blacktopping the historically gravel roadway would aid in protecting wetlands in the area versus harming them as several homeowners had suggested.

Ray Silveira, 4 Oakland Street, an abutter to Foster Street, said that the Gibbonses had, over many years, conducted unpermitted widening of the roadway, filling in some areas, and using materials on the roadway that were inferior. “How are they getting away with filling in wetlands? Everything is swept under the rug.”

Leidhold asked if anyone had ever contacted the conservation office. Silveira said not until this summer.

“It’s in everyone’s best interest for improvement to the drainage system,” said King, going on to say that changes north of Foster Street – changes along Route 6, including the development of the Bay Club and commercial businesses, had all impacted stormwater flow along Foster Street.

The commission conditioned the Notice of Intent filing that included Leidhold performing an on-site review of the drainage system before and after new pipes are installed.

After the hearing closed, abutter Laura McLean lamented of the hearing: “We waited too long.”

Also during the meeting, Elizabeth Inglis’ Request for Determination of Applicability filing for the construction of a new entranceway for property located at 104 Aucoot Road received a Negative 3 determination allowing the project to move forward with notice to the conservation office before commencing.

A Notice of Intent filing by Chase Canopy, 117 Fairhaven Road, for the construction of a new 8,000 square-foot storage building was continued until September 24. While the commissioners did not have any questions or concerns when informally polled regarding their acceptance of the project, a pending review by the Massachusetts Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program (NHESP) required the application to be continued.

Robert Field of Field Engineering representing the applicant asked if the commission would send written confirmation to the Zoning Board of Appeals that, barring any negative review by the NHESP, the commission would condition the project, thus allowing it to continue forward in the permitting process. The site includes a residential structure that Field said would have to be subdivided from the commercial-use parcels. The commission agreed to that request.

Leidhold had requested that the applicant be required to hire a peer review consultant, given the wetlands surrounding the site. However, King told the commission, “Bob is hired by the town as a consultant. It’s a little disingenuous [to ask for a peer review consultant] since the town hires him.” The rest of the commission agreed with King.

The commission agreed to cancel the October 8 meeting of the Conservation Commission due to the Columbus Day Holiday. The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Conservation Commission will be held on September 24 at 6:30 pm in the town hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Conservation Commission

By Marilou Newell


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