The Conservation Commission at its Tuesday night meeting continued the hearing on the Leonard Street three-lot subdivision project because of ongoing drainage and erosion control issues.
Lou Petrozzi of Wall Street Development Corporation told the commission that there has been some progress made on the site since the last meeting.
“Over the weekend, we installed a culvert and a head wall so that the water is now draining how it was intended to drain,” he said. An inspector from BETA Group, the town’s engineering consultant, was on site during the installation.
However, the construction of the swales down to the detention basin was delayed because the basin was filled with water on Saturday. Petrozzi said he was unsure of how much the day’s rain impacted the situation, adding, “We will more than likely have to de-water that area.”
Environmental consultant Matt Vrabel brought up some concerns on revisions to the plan. On the Bucklin Street side, he noted that the revised grading design would appear to cause stormwater to flow from two of the lots onto the abutting properties on Bucklin Street (which is a paper street — in name only).
“There really isn’t any kind of a swale or anything proposed,” he said. Also, the swale on the eastern side of the property does not seem to address the drainage that could flow into the abutting property.
Petrozzi explained that the homes originally were proposed to have walkout basements, but that has been revised. The roofs will be smaller, which he said will direct the water into infiltration basins and culvert chambers. A small swale could channel water into the basin.
However, Petrozzi did not present a revised plan noting these proposed changes.
“I think we do need to see that on a plan, Mr. Petrozzi,” Chair Jeff Barnes said. “Our preference is not to kind of wing it. We like to have some science and engineering behind what is being proposed.”
He added that there is still some concern about water running onto abutting properties.
“I do want to get the project moving,” Petrozzi said. “We want to try to get this thing buttoned up before December 1.”
When Barnes reiterated that the plans needed to be updated, Petrozzi said he hoped the commission would close the hearing with the condition that the plans be revised.
“With all due respect, the drainage is an issue with the project,” Barnes said.
Replied Petrozzi: “It’s only an issue for the water coming onto our site. Our site is managed pretty well.”
He added that the revised plan “is a significant improvement to what was previously proposed.”
Barnes said the hearing needed to be continued until the next meeting on Oct. 19, which appeared to frustrate Petrozzi.
“I just want to make sure that the proper controls and the proper drainage are in order before we approve the project,” Barnes said. “So hopefully that makes sense.”
After the hearing was continued, members expressed consternation about the continued issues with the project.
“Mr. Petrozzi has created his own delays aplenty at this point,” said member Ted Barker-Hook. “I really resent him pressuring us to say, ‘I really want to get this done.’ … I don’t think his delays are our problem to deal with.”
Conservation agent Kim Ciaramicoli said that the “project needs to be a slam dunk” at the next meeting and not have incomplete plans, which could cause delays for other projects being heard.
“The burden really is on Mr. Petrozzi to present something that is easy to review,” she added.
There have been previous violations at the site over the past couple of months because of flooding and poor stormwater management.
Flooding at The Trails causes concern
Ciaramicoli said that earlier Tuesday she observed a discharge of water at The Trails, Hopkinton, a 55-and-over housing development located off Legacy Farms North Road. Cease-and-desist orders previously were issued by the commission as well as the town’s Building Department after sediment ran into the Hopkinton Reservoir, impacting the town of Ashland as well as Hopkinton.
“This was not as severe as past events,” she explained. The discharge flowed from one point into the reservoir.
She added that she met with project engineer Peter Bemis on the site, where he explained that workers are in the middle of constructing a swale. Silt sacks were filled with sediment.
There has been a history of violations on the site since 2018. A cease-and-desist order is in effect because of violations and fines, but the developer is seeking to move forward with foundation work. It is still out of compliance.
“I’m almost at a loss,” Ciaramicoli said.
Member Ed Harrow added: “It’s just the same thing over and over and over again.”
Said Barnes: “The complacency here is just ridiculous.” He suggested that Vin Gately, president and general manager of Heritage Properties, the firm that built The Trails, Hopkinton, be invited to the Nov. 2 meeting for a hearing on how to address the ongoing problems.
Vrabel said that one suggestion is to have the commission hire an independent consultant to design and monitor the site, at the owner’s expense.
Barnes said another option is for Gately to hire another contractor or find out if a subcontractor is not performing the work correctly.
Several hearings were continued, including the Massachusetts Laborers’ Training Center on East Street and the Connelly Farms subdivision. Also continued was the 103 Wood Street project.