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Conservation Commission reviews Mass. Laborers’ request to move gas line

by | Jun 28, 2023 | Featured: News, News

The Conservation Commission at its Tuesday night meeting continued a hearing on a request to move a gas line that previously prompted neighborhood concerns at the Mass. Laborers Training facility.

Located at 37 East Street, the project has been discussed over the course of many months. Previously, the main point of contention was the location of the initially proposed gas line that would involve site work on the Clinton Street right of way from Front Street.

The gas line, which project attorney George Connors continually has stressed is the preferred option for the developer, would run through the main campus and necessitate the removal of about 100 trees. It would begin at Clinton Street and cross the campus, going behind the Maloney maintenance building. It then would continue around the pond to the ball field area and end at the dormitory building.

At this hearing, Connors proposed moving the gas line in a way that does not disturb wetlands and will feed the entire site. He explained that the work will begin on the other side of the property at Front Street and proceed down Maple Avenue, where an easement exists. There it will meet the facility’s property line.

At that point, it will travel in between a well to the west and wetlands to the east. It will run just outside the protected radius area around the well’s eastern side. It then will go southward into the campus proper area and feed into the various buildings.

Said Connors: “There is no additional work to remove vegetation or anything of that nature within the various buffer zones.”

Chair Jeff Barnes clarified that there is no buffer area disturbance at the first leg of this pipeline, and Connors confirmed that. The work in the campus proper is all in previously disturbed areas.

Conservation Administrator Kim Ciaramicoli thanked Connors and his team for “going back to the drawing board” with the new gas line proposal. It appears to be less impactful than the previous proposal, which would have necessitated the removal of several trees. Commissioners echoed Ciaramicoli’s sentiment.

The hearing was continued until the next meeting on July 18 to allow for a review by Joe Orzel from Lucas Environmental.

The commission also reviewed an amended proposal for the pump station and the fire protection line. The proposed pump station, which will be moved to the western side of the site, will provide protection for all buildings, according to Connors.

While investigating the previously proposed site with boring and penetrating radar, Connors explained that the team found “massive boulders” that were about 7 feet deep.

The new proposal will put the pump station adjacent to the driveway that goes around the pond, where a hydrant will be installed. Connors said the Fire Department requested that a draft line into the pond near the culvert that previously was proposed and then removed return to the plans.

Barnes noted that part of the work will be impinging on a previously proposed wetlands restoration area. Connors said he believed that the disturbance would only impact an area of 20 square feet.

Ciaramicoli noted that it would be “a little tight” putting the pump house close to the permanent immovable barriers there. Connors said that not having the pump house in the previously proposed location would compensate for the wetland disturbance to that area. This will be reviewed at the next meeting.

This hearing also was continued until July 18 to allow for Orzel’s review.

Leonard Street violations, fines reviewed

The commission reviewed previous violations cited at 8 Leonard Street that were the result of stormwater erosion over the past couple of years. In April, member Ted Barker-Hook observed turbid water and sedimentation within the isolated vegetation wetland area on two separate occasions. In response, Ciaramicoli drafted a letter assessing $7,100 worth of fines.

In addition, she also cited that there have been “approximately 94 weeks” of missing stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP) reports for the project.

Developer Lou Petrozzi of Wall Street Development Corporation explained that the site has been “the victim of torrential storms.” Sediment was hand-removed since the issuance of the violation, and a silt lot was installed. The nearby house lot also was loamed and seeded.

He added that the project is expected to be completed within about 45 days. All houses have been built, and the yards now need to be loamed and seeded.

There has been additional runoff on the 8 Leonard Street site that appears to be coming from the roadway that has gone into the driveway, creating ruts, Petrozzi added. Instead of loam, he previously suggested riprap but said he did not receive a response from Ciaramicoli. Ciaramicoli countered that she spoke with him about it at the time and explained that it would call for “a minor plan change discussion with the commission.”

Since then, the area was hydroseeded, but that work has been washed away by rain, according to Petrozzi.

At this meeting, he reiterated his request for riprap there. He also said that some erosion controls have been installed 5 or 6 feet beyond the approved limit of work. The site itself basically is flat.

Said Petrozzi: “That’s really the only weakness in the site.”

Vice chair Melissa Recos proposed installing erosion control blankets instead of riprap. Petrozzi said this suggestion can be tried.

Barnes stressed that the SWPPP reports haven’t been received “in close to two years.” Commissioners questioned whether these reports would have been helpful in pointing out the problems at 8 Leonard Street.

Petrozzi countered that he did not believe the period was that long and would check with his consultant. He also said that there shouldn’t be SWPPP reports required for the winter months, when the ground is frozen.

While he hasn’t provided SWPPP reports, Petrozzi said there have been email chains and photos and videos sent to the commission that he believed should suffice.

Another factor, Petrozzi explained, was that in the past, water had been flowing onto this site from the subdivision at Box Mill Road. After pursuing litigation, he said the situation has been corrected, and there is less water flowing onto his site.

The commission voted unanimously to continue the fine discussion until its in-person meeting on Aug. 29 to allow for completion of the loaming and seeding of the houses. In the meantime, Petrozzi will look into getting the SWPPP reports.

Sandy Beach seasonal dock request approved

The commission unanimously approved the application by the Parks & Recreation Commission for a seasonal dock at Sandy Beach. It had been awaiting a permit number from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection, which was received.

Fruit Street home discussion continued

Before the meeting, Rebel Hill, LLC asked for a continuation for its notice of intent hearing on 188-190 Fruit Street. The project was briefly discussed at the previous night’s Planning Board meeting and continued.

Reed to resign from commission to accept DPW role

Vice chair Kerry Reed announced that she will be resigning from the Conservation Commission. She has been appointed by Town Manager Norman Khumalo to the director position at the Department of Public Works, she explained. Reed will appear before the Select Board on July 11, when members will vote on the appointment.

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