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Conservation Commission focuses on violations at The Trails, Leonard Street

by | Sep 13, 2023 | Business, Featured: News, News

Editor’s note: In a previous version of this article, the Edgewood at Hopkinton development was misidentified as a subdivision off Blueberry Lane.

The Conservation Commission at its meeting Tuesday night reviewed violations incurred by several ongoing development projects, including The Trails and Leonard Street.

The Trails project engineer Peter Bemis was not present initially for the violation hearing to discuss fine assessments of $141,600, which was a continuation of a hearing at the previous meeting. The commission voted 5-0 to assess them.

In Bemis’ absence, chair Jeff Barnes indicated that Bemis did submit information since the last meeting. He noted that commission vice chair Melissa Recos, an engineer and stormwater management expert, reviewed it on her own time and had some follow-up comments, which were directed to Engineering Design Consultants.

What frustrated Barnes was that no calculations, design or notification about a constructed swale were provided to Conservation Administrator Kim Ciaramicoli, even after Bemis was chastised at previous meetings for not providing more details about remediation efforts.

“The same kind of mess continues to go on, unfortunately, at the site,” Barnes said. “The message, I think, isn’t completely getting through to these folks.”

Despite her input to Bemis during a site walk about possible strategies to implement, the swale was constructed without any town feedback, Ciaramicoli said. The site is now stabilized, and a detention basin was cleared out since the last meeting.

Member Ed Harrow said that the fines should be assessed despite the absence of Bemis and owner Phil Gately. Member Janine LeBlanc agreed, noting, “Anything the commission requires just gets ignored.”

Bemis arrived near the end of the meeting, which lasted for 2 1/2 hours. He said that the calculations were received by the commission and were shown on the overall plan as “chutes” to the basin. The swale was built to prevent further erosion and “a recipe for disaster” in the wake of anticipated rain.

Violation at Edgewood at Hopkinton reviewed

The violation hearing for Edgewood at Hopkinton, a subdivision at Chamberlain Street and Whalen Road, was continued until the next meeting because the applicant had a family emergency. Violations and potential fines were discussed at the previous meeting for three violations that occurred between late July and mid-August. Sediment had flowed beyond the limited area of work into the wetland resource area in one instance.

She updated the commission on the status of the work. Lots 4 and 5 of the project had been adequately stabilized since the last meeting to prevent sedimentation flow, as well as land between lots 10 and 11, Ciaramicoli noted. Iron was found in the soil there, giving it a reddish hue. Lots 24 and 26 were hydroseeded, which was “doing well” because of the recent rains.

Her concern was that Lot 12, where one previous violation occurred, was not secured. Loose soil was visible even though check dams had been installed.

There were no new violations. Ciaramicoli drafted an enforcement order that requires a stabilization method be employed and recommended a “stabilizing as you go” strategy for the developer. Sedimentation also must be removed by hand and observed by a wetland scientist.

Barnes said the project will continue to be monitored as construction progresses. The applicant will appear at a future meeting to update the commission.

Leonard Street violations tabled after developer notes water flow from street grading

The commission discussed an April violation with developer Lou Petrozzi of Wall Street Development Corporation. The site at 8, 10 and 12 Leonard Street has experienced stormwater management issues since July 2021. A couple of stormwater pollution protection plan (SWPP) reports that had been delinquent were provided, but only one each for the past two years. Petrozzi said Goddard Consulting had been hired to supply them but had not done so as the commission requested.

Petrozzi said the first two houses are “occupied and landscaped.” Landscaping needs to be completed on the third house that has been hampered by the rain.

He added that a problem on the site “is not Wall Street’s doing.” The water flow, he said, is coming from off-site onto his property, including catch basins on Box Mill Road. He said one catch basin is “an inch too high.” Grading work on Leonard Street also has diverted stormwater across the street to his property, he said.

Petrozzi asked for a riprap slope to be placed where the erosion is problematic and causing water to flow onto the development. Barnes was amenable to that proposed solution and said the catch basins need to be repaired. Petrozzi said he will mark off the area for the proposed riprap for the commission’s consideration.

The fine discussion was tabled until the Oct. 10 meeting.

Deerfield Estates certificate of occupancy discussed

Deerfield Estates, a condo development, explained Ciaramicoli, was completed “about 20 years ago.” Two reviews were conducted by Lucas Environmental over the last two years. The commission was seeking operations and maintenance reports for the past three years, and these reports were received for 2022 and 2023; a management company had taken over in 2021, causing a delay.

Catch basins needed to be cleaned, and some gutters apparently were improperly installed by homeowners. Ciaramicoli asked that residents be made aware of stormwater regulations and educational information. She said the management company refused to do so.

A Capital Group Properties representative noted that this company no longer manages the property, but Wellington Property Management Group does. He has been “on top of them for the last couple of months” to provide the commission with needed documentation.

The representative added that a memo was sent to residents about adding downspouts, but not the educational information Ciaramicoli proposed. The overgrown basins were mowed, but he said “there is only so much we can do” since Capital no longer manages the property.

Member Jim Ciriello said the application is in the name of Capital Group Properties, which makes that company ultimately responsible. Barnes said Capital Group should hire an outside consultant.

Chamberlain-Whalen trail extension approved

The commission approved by a 5-0 vote a request for two exemptions that will allow for the extension of the Chamberlain-Whalen trail submitted by the Hopkinton Trails Committee.

The proposed trails system will connect the Chamberlain-Whalen and Edgewood neighborhoods to the Center Trail and the school complex, explained Ciaramicoli. That leg of the proposed extension is earthen with stone dust and will be 8 feet wide.

The second exemption request involves two trail boardwalk crossings over bordering vegetated wetlands on the lower portion of the proposed extension. The commission has approved this type of construction in the past, Ciaramicoli noted.

She added that she surveyed the area with Trails Committee chair Peter LaGoy and member Chuck Dauchy and agreed with the trail delineations. LaGoy explained that this design avoids the trail system going into the wetlands. It was put together by Dauchy. The upper part of the trail was adjusted northward in response to neighbors’ concerns that it be further away from their homes.

There was some discrepancy about the name of the committee filing the application. Member Jim Ciriello pointed out that the Hopkinton Trails Committee filed the application, but he did not know if the town recognized it as such. The Trail Coordination and Management Committee at its meeting on July 19 voted unanimously to rename itself as the Trails Committee. 

LaGoy explained the committee still is officially known as the Trail Coordination and Management Committee. Because of the lengthy name, he said Town Manager Norman Khumalo “signed off on that about a year ago” regarding referring to the committee as the TCMC and/or the Trails Committee.

Harrow provides information on grant application, management of invasive species

Harrow said he recently submitted an application to the Southeast New England Program Network (SNEP) for a grant. SNEP provides technical assistance to municipalities such as free trainings on stormwater management and ecological restoration. He hoped that water analysis training could be offered at the high school.

He also prepared a one-page document on the management of invasive species that he hoped would educate homeowners.

NOI hearings for subdivision off Blueberry Lane rescheduled to Oct. 10

Three notice of intent hearings were continued until Oct. 10 for a five-unit subdivision off Blueberry Lane. Ciaramicoli said via email Thursday that this development will be marketed by owner Toll Brothers “as an extension of Edgewood at Hopkinton.”

1 Comment

  1. Ed Harrow

    Correction! The SNEP Application was the work, primarily, of Julia Chun and Kim Ciaramicoli. I played a very minor role.

    We are hoping that water analysis, which may be needed for the project, can be done by students and faculty at the high school.

    I regret the confusion.

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