Members Present Absent
Bob Yarmo, Chairman Frank Culbert
Marc Duquette Bill McDevitt, Selectmen Rep.
Shirley Wakefield (Alternate)
Chairman Robert Yarmo brought the meeting to order at
The dredge and fill is in the water, in the buffer and on the banking of Beaver Brook. This is a standard Dredge and Fill. There are no changes to make the channel wider.
MOTION: (Sanjay Kakkad/Paul Gagnon) To sign dredge and fill permit.
VOTE: 6-0 to approve
This case was already heard and suggestions were given to
Dave Brouillet of Edward Herbert Associates about reducing the number of homes
to lessen the impact on the wetlands. Mr. Yarmo asked Mr. Brouillet if the plan
before the Commission has any changes or anything new? Mr. Brouillet said he conferred with the
developer and the developer has agreed to reduce the number of house lots from
five (5) to four (4) as suggested by Conservation. Initially, Mr. Brouillet came before the
Conservation Commission with a plan for five (5) house lots and with the
intention of connectivity from
PUBLIC INPUT: None.
MOTION: (Mr. Gagnon/Mr. Duquette) to accept new plan with a positive recommendation to the Planning Board, Conservation Commission would accept responsibility if easements were placed on the land, ask for site specific of the houses and approve the dredge and fill for the wetlands crossing.
VOTE 6-0 to approve.
Members Paul Gagnon and Shirley Wakefield stepped down for reasons of conflict of interest.
The environmental report has been received. Mr. Yarmo asks Dave Brouillet if there is
anything new re: the environmental report.
Mr. Brouillet said the last time he was before the Commission that there
wasn’t a quorum. Mr. Jim Gove, Gove
Mr. Gove says that the concerns about the sedimentation going into the pond don’t seem to have a lot of backup data associated with it. He said, “We fully expect there will be appropriate sedimentation erosion control that will be maintained. Our suggestions include no-cut zones, etc.” He states that as long as the BMP (Best Management Practices) are followed he does not see this as a detriment to Little Island Pond.
It is the recommendation of Mr. Gove’s firm to plant trees
(as the plan indicates), have a cutting plan; retain, identify and maintain
large oaks, maintain stone walls as much as possible and structural elements to
have 50-ft set backs. He also suggests a mulch berm in place of silt fencing, a
minimum of clearing and
Dave Brouillet says one of the recommendations of Conservation was to have a protection buffer. This site is 9.85 acres. Mr. Brouillet says according to the town’s regulations for minimum land area for an elderly housing project is 5 acres and that they are well above that. He relates the comparison to single family housing impact versus the 15-unit proposal that is much less. Mr. Brouillet says the actual impact in the WCD is approximately 11,000-sq.ft. which is less than 2% of the total wetland area. Mr. Brouillet says that he has provided a plan that meets the regulations and has gone beyond that and have provided additional conservation area, and have accepted the recommendations of Gove’s office re: the tree line and keeping it to a minimum and adding 60 trees but not sure how many will be lost for the road.
Mr. Brouillet said that his client doesn’t want to get political in terms of why this particular project should or should not get approved. He says the politics has already been taken care of by the selectmen and that they tried to negotiate with Little Island Pond Watershed Association. Mr. Brouillet asks that Conservation reconsider their letter so as to allow for access to usable portion of the land, which is in the regulations.
Mr. Yarmo says that Conservation has never seen any road, by any developer, where 40% or more of the road is in the WCD, and that there is no public benefit, there is no connectivity, no transportation issues and for the sole purpose of accessing this land and increasing the density for this use. Mr. Brouillet does not agree with Mr. Yarmo’s statement. He says the reason why he is there is for a special exception granted and the regulations is to allow for somebody to access their usable portion of their land. Mr. Brouilett says he believes that the town has two legal opinions that basically say the same thing.
Member Marc Duquette questions the amount of WCD impact stated on “an as drawn” impact, but when we look at the design you have maximized the use of the high and dry land but if you take a look at the buildings, we find it hard to believe that you can build those units without encroaching and into the WCD and impacting additional WCD in addition to your as drawn number.
Mr. Brouillet said one of the first comments that had been received from T.F. Moran who is the new engineer for the town was a concern of the proximity of the buildings to the WCD. We revised the plan said Mr. Brouillet.
Mr. Yarmo addressed Mr. Gove and questioned the forested block statement and said that he didn’t think it was accurate. He thinks it is accurate if you look at the natural resources inventory but the natural resources inventory didn’t consider the parcels across the street from this, which is 130 acres of forested block then you go across the power line and there is additional acreage said Mr. Yarmo. Mr. Yarmo also asked about the vernal pools that were pointed out on the plan. Mr. Gove said that the information had been taken from aerial photos and that it was consistent with the areas that are poorly drained. The fact that it has a foot of standing water during the wettest time of the year does have the potential for a vernal pool. He also stated that the one (vernal pool) that would be most impacted would be the one where the drive is or where road comes in.
PUBLIC INPUT: Alicia Hennessey, Dutton Road. She would like to see a 50-ft buffer around the vernal pools.
Shirley Wakefield, abutter, 38 South Shore Drive is concerned about the road going over the wetland. She states that the builders own the property to the east and asks why the road couldn’t be moved down in order to keep it out of the pool.
Mr. Brouillet said that that had been looked at and that the builders do own the front portion, which is the same area as the wetland impact. He explained that they had tried to make it safe for fire trucks, etc., but it was not feasible because there needs to be proper radius’s on the curves. Also, they had tried for an 18-ft. road and the Fire Chief said it needs to be wider so that the fire apparatus can pass each other on the road. Mr. Brouillet also explained that the Fire Chief requested an emergency access, that it’s required by the town, and that is another impact to the wetlands conservation district That has been done says Mr. Brouillet. If we didn’t have to do that it might have been reduced from 40% to 30%. Mr. Brouillet states that this plan has been before the town since May, that they have gone through 3 sets of reviews by the town engineer, have provided an environmental impact assessment and feel they have complied and addressed all the comments we have received to date.
Shirley Wakefield asked about the drive. She is still concerned with the density of the piece of property. She says the high and dry land that is being developed is very little. She asked if there was a possibility of having only one (1) building rather than two (2), that it would eliminate some of the density. It would relieve some of the pressure on the septic system and the problem with widening on the road.
Mr. Brouillet says that that could be discussed with his client, but to keep in mind that there is 9.8 acres and of that there is 1-½ acres of wetland. In terms of wetlands, that leaves over 8 acres – he does not see the problem of density. Mr. Brouillet spoke of the density nearest the pond and argued that his client has the right to develop his land. Mr. Yarmo said we are not doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past and that it is not a healthy situation around the pond.
Holly Saurman, Scenic View Drive. She would like the record to reflect that this is not a road, that it is a driveway, that it meets all the current zoning under the guidelines of the town of Pelham for senior housing, and that there is a need for elderly housing. She asked if the Conservation members if they had read the impact study from cover to cover before they came to the meeting tonight. Mrs. Saurman noted that Mr. Gagnon and Mrs. Wakefield had stepped down and questioned the remainder of the members sitting whether anyone else was or have ever been a member of the Little Island Pond Association. The answer was no.
BACK TO THE BOARD: Mr. Yarmo asked members if they wanted to reconsider the letter that had been sent to the Planning Board and whether or not to consider a conservation easement or deed restriction on the back portion or to be the steward of this area. Member Deborah Scott referred to page 62 of the report that states that half of the parcel would be impacted during construction.
Member Marc Duquette had questions about no cutting, landscaping and whether this was a revised drawing and how are we sure that this is the map. Mr. Brouillet says the plan being shown has already been submitted to the town. Jim Gove says what’s being suggested is a condition that approval and construction and are different than what you typically see on other subdivisions. Mr. Gove said our client is prepared to stake, flag and maintain in the field all through construction and that the area of concern never gets disturbed. This is different than merely saying no cutting inside the WCD says Mr. Gove. Mr. Yarmo said Conservation is concerned about the WCD, the road impact, but the wetland is only as good as the buffer around it. He referred to page 65 of the impact assessment and said it is recommended that there be a 100-ft buffer. Mr. Gove responded by saying there are several areas that have been met with the 100-ft buffer. Mr. Brouillet says the curved roadway will eliminate sheets of storm water that collects on the roadway from going into the wetlands by going into the treatment swale. Mr. Yarmo says that treatment swales do not work very well in the winter.
Sanjah Kakkad is not in favor of reconsidering the letter. Marc Duquette says that some of the changes made do elevate some of the buffer impact but it doesn’t change the configuration of the road, that the road going through that buffer does not change his recommendation. Deborah Scott said she stays with the original recommendations sent to the Planning Board.
MOTION: (Deborah Scott/Sanjay Kakkad) To stand by the original recommendation sent to the Planning Board. VOTE 4-0 to support the original letter.
9:08: Mr. Gagnon and Mrs. Wakefield return to their seats on the board.
There are no plans yet, and no environmental impact report. Mr. Brouillet said the plans should be ready by next week.
Mr. Yarmo says that Conservation can make a comment to the Planning Board about the impact on the wetlands. Although the crossing is not at the narrowest point, it is per square footage. The Conservation Commission took no vote, and will re-visit this pending information available.
MINUTES - Approved minutes of 10/15/03 (Sanjay Kakkad/Shirley Wakefield)
VOTE: 6-0 to approve as amended.
OLD BUSINESS: None
MOTION TO ADJOURN: Meeting adjourned at 10:05 p.m.
Glennie M. Edwards