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ConsCom not pleased with proposed wetlands crossings

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

PEPPERELL — The Beaver Creek Circle open-space residential development off Julia Lane has run into another roadblock at the Conservation Commission.

Meisner-Brem engineer Charles Strickland, representing applicant Robert M. Hicks Inc., gave commissioners their first opportunity to comment on a revised plan showing a new wetlands crossing.

The proposed crossing would allow water and sewer connections to reach the 13-acre lot, which will be served by a private driveway following an existing cart path off the circle. The revised plan calls for a trench cut through more than 300 feet of wetlands to lay the pipes for town sewer and water, now required by both the Planning Board and the Board of Health.

“This is a tremendous disturbance of an area we think is important,” said conservation administrator Ellen Fisher.

“I’m not in favor of this at all,” added Commissioner James Casserly, who noted that the total disturbed area would be more than 5,000 square feet due to the water and sewer lines.

Fisher noted that the proposed area of disturbance was rich in vegetation, essential to the viability of the wetland and is full of mature trees. “How could they ever replace that?” she asked.

Chairman Robert Elliot suggested that the cart road and its current wetlands crossing would be a more appropriate route for the utilities. “I prefer you do something in the existing roadway,” he said.

Strickland’s opinion was that the existing structure and crossing could not accommodate the separation requirements of both the water and sewer lines, and that a complete reconstruction of the culvert would be required to fit them.

A suggestion was also made that the piping be laid using a directional drilling technique. It was not clear to either the commissioners or Strickland if that would be a viable option without further investigation.

Strickland also provided the commissioners with an alternative route, passing through more wetlands buffer zone south of the cart path and through the proposed open space. That route was likewise not endorsed by the commissioners.

The Beaver Creek Circle hearing was continued to a later date.

In other business before the Conservation Commission:

* The commissioners sent engineer Jack Visniewski back to the design phase after reviewing his plans for a residential four-plex on Shawnee Road. The notice of intent, filed by P. Edward Hayward, calls for changes to the parking area of an existing apartment building, as well as the new residential construction and various drainage structures.

The commissioners expressed concern over the placement of a new detention basin within the 50-foot wetlands buffer and the nearby river. At the recommendation of the commissioners, Visniewski agreed to revise the plan without the detention basin, instead relying on new and existing drainage to a planned detention basin outside of the buffer zone. The hearing was continued to June 20.

* The commissioners also continued a hearing for applicant John Chapman, who filed a notice of intent for construction of a single-family home at 60A Nashua Road. Although the commissioners were able to approve a new wetlands delineation for the lot, submitted by engineer Doug Smith, they felt the lot might be too tight, based on the new delineation, for a required septic system while still maintaining an acceptable wetlands buffer.

The commissioners asked Smith to look into a possible town sewer connection, and requested that he return with a more complete and detailed plan for further review on July 11.

* The commission issued a certificate of compliance to Paul Wozniak for work being done at 70 Wheeler Street.

* The commissioners approved plans for the construction of a farmer’s porch on a home owned by Bruce Lutz at 7 Ridge Road.

* Applicant Paul Joyce had his initial public hearing continued until June 20. Joyce is planning a 1,050-foot common driveway to serve two new homes on Jewett Street, but 260 feet of the driveway would pass through the 100-foot wetlands buffer.

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