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Conservation Commission questions Lumber Street condo development’s stormwater plan

by | Dec 6, 2023 | Featured: News, News

The Conservation Commission asked for additional information on stormwater infiltration requirements before deciding whether to issue a certificate of compliance for Deerfield Estates, a condo development off Lumber Street.

Capital Group Properties was listed as the applicant on the agenda. But a Capital Group representative at a commission meeting in September noted that the company no longer manages the property. It now is being managed by Wellington Property Management Group.

The commission previously made requests of the management company involved that did not appear to be followed. Residents were not provided with educational information on stormwater regulations. At that time, catch basins needed to be cleaned, and some gutters apparently were improperly installed by homeowners.

Conservation Administrator Kim Ciaramicoli said that engineering firm Pare Corporation reviewed the project.

Subsurface infiltration chambers were included in the design to assess peak rate attenuation and recharge requirements on the stormwater checklist. While the project met the minimum standard regarding rate attenuation, the units “were not connected, essentially,” she noted.

A special condition when the project was approved required that each roof be connected to infiltration basins or dry well chambers, according to Ciaramicoli.

An analysis the applicant had provided called for 63,995 square feet of roof runoff area to be connected to infiltration systems. The commission previously had expressed concerns about groundwater recharge because of the presence of adjacent vernal pools.

“Pare recommends the commission require the applicant to demonstrate that the stormwater management system was constructed per the approved design and provide as-built condition information certifying compliance or showing deviations,” Ciaramicoli told the commission.

A proposed condition map provided by the applicant showed that, while the majority of units were discharging to infiltration systems, two units marked in blue discharged at grade level. Two units highlighted in green discharged to a separate detention area.

Ciaramicoli said the commission needed to decide if it wanted the project to meet the approved design standards. She added that the management company notified her that 10 units were unconnected.

Said Ciaramicoli: “It does appear that there’s some discrepancy between the proposed condition and the existing condition.”

Vice chair Melissa Recos chaired the two-hour hearing in the absence of chair Jeff Barnes. She requested the as-built and current conditions be submitted to the commission.

Said Recos: “I would expect that it would meet or hopefully be brought to meet the infiltration requirement.”

Board members Ted Barker-Hook and Ed Harrow agreed.

A spokesperson for Capital Group Properties said that the engineering company that had worked on the project is no longer in business, and therefore the as-built conditions cannot be obtained. He had thought Pare was supposed to evaluate the conditions.

Recos stressed that the as-built conditions needed to be assessed, whether by Pare or another company.

Ciaramicoli said Pare didn’t want to do a deeper analysis of the property if it initially found that the standards were being met. Recos said the proposed condition map would “have to be field verified.” A certificate of compliance can’t be issued until the roof area runoff is verified as being infiltrated.

The Capital Group Properties representative said that “a lot of these buildings have infiltration,” and some “dump into the driveways.”

Member Jim Ciriello said excavation wouldn’t be needed to determine the previous work, as the representative had indicated.

Recos said the applicant needs to contact a surveyor or an engineer, especially because there is a well on the property.

“We have certainly had our share of well issues in the 13-plus years I’ve lived here,” said Kevin Murphy, who is on the board of trustees at Deerfield Estates.

After this case, the meeting primarily focused on requests regarding single-family homes. Applicants for the two major hearings of the evening requested continuances beforehand. The Town of Hopkinton will be seeking an abbreviated notice of resource area delineation at 90 and 104 Hayden Rowe Street. Also seeking an abbreviated notice of resource area delineation will be Wall Street Development for property at 12 North Mill Street.

Grasshopper Energy, which owns a solar array off Cedar Street and Wilson Street, also asked for a continuance on its review of a request for a fee adjustment for a new notice of intent hearing. These three continued issues will be considered at the commission’s next meeting on Dec. 19.