Conservation Commission Meeting Minutes 01/15/2019

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Location:  Otis Town Hall, One North Main Road, Otis


Conservation Commission Members present:  Dave Sarnacki; Roger Meyer; Domenic Battista; Bruce Wall; Jeff Laramy.


Conservation Commission Members absent: Rene Dube.


Staff and others present:  Kristen Brown OCC Admin Secretary; Mike Parsons; Donald Chartier; Bob Mason with MA DCR; Mark Stinson with MA DEP; Rudolph & Lori Mazzeo; Richard & Dora Bleier; Arthur Tripp Jr.


Opening items/Introduction of Commission members and staff.  Dave Sarnacki opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m.  He noted that the meeting is being recorded. The deadline for applications for the February 19th 2019 meeting is on Wednesday February 6, 2019 @ 6:00 PM. The next office hours, for the February 19, 2019 meeting, is February 6th,  from 6:00 –9:00 PM. Dave introduced the members of the commission, and asked everyone to turn off/down their cell phones for the duration of the meeting. Dave also introduced Mark Stinson with MA DEP, Western Region Circuit Rider, who was also in attendance to observe and assist if needed.


Minutes:  Dave made a motion to approve both the revised November 20, 2018 and December 18, 2018 meeting minutes; RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the revised minutes from the November 20, 2018 and December 18, 2018 meeting minutes.


  • Public Hearing – RDA – Continuance – Submitted by Donald N. Chartier, 27 South Bay Road, map 17D lot 22, regarding the removal of 2 unsafe docks & replacement with new dock structure & boat lift; rebuilding of existing retaining wall and removal & rebuild of cottage and walkway out of home. *** Continued for more info back on Chapter 91, confirmation of tree removal/clarification (only 7 approved from previous RDA – none below HWM), and a property Print with the 50’, 100’ and HWM setbacks, as discussed at last meeting. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicants to address the Commission. Mike Parsons and Donald Chartier were in attendance for this continued hearing. Mike began his presentation to the Commission, and Dave asked if they wanted to start with the previous RDA approval for the trees, and he agreed. In regard to the previous RDA, for which they were provided an NDA approval from this Commission, to remove a total of 7 trees, in the BZ of OR, it seems that there was an error in the issuance of the paperwork in that one tree – 20” Hemlock in the SE corner – is below HWM, and on state land, and was approved in error on the NDA, as this Commission does not have permission to allow work that has not been approved on state property; therefore, and per Mark Stinson, as a means to correct the record/approval for the previous RDA, an email should be sent to the applicant, stating whether or not any tree(s) may be removed below HWM, after inspection by Bob Mason, as an addendum. That will serve to correct the NDA paperwork that approved the tree(s) on state land in error, and only trees outside of HWM were approved to be removed. All parties agreed that is OK with them as a means to correct the paperwork on the previous RDA/NDA issuance. Don did mention that there was another tree that with the water down, he can see the roots are compromised so Bob should look at that one also, that is it – 2 trees only are in question. This has been recorded on the plans for the record. Kristen will facilitate a site inspection of the tree(s) below HWM. That issue being settled, we now turn to address the current RDA continuation on hand, and Dave asked the Commission to review their questions on this RDA. Per BW, at the last hearing, and to reiterate from earlier, OCC wanted a stamped engineer’s print that displays elevations, including HWM (High Water Mark), as well as the 50’, 75’ and 100’ respective setbacks; they also wanted to know about a chapter 91 license for the property. As for the Chapter 91 license, per Mike, they have all the completed paperwork ready to file, they just wanted to get their decision from us first, since MA DEP requires a decision from this Commission, in order to issue a chapter 91 license. Therefore, we are good on the chapter 91 as long as applicant understands that he is expected to complete this process, until he is issued the dock license. Roger stated that all that is left is to outline the work for them, which Mike proceeded to do for the Commission. Mike clarified which docks are being removed and replaced for the record, which was identified on the plans. An old rotten dock is being completely removed. Bruce asked how the new docks would be installed on the bottom of the lake and they are just aluminum plates that will rest on the bottom. Bruce also asked how they would remove the old dock and Don confirmed work would be done by hand, and that there would not be any cutting in the resource area. Don also indicated that he would put all debris into a little dump trailer and remove from the area daily, or as needed, so that debris is not left lying around. Bruce asked if the dock would be attached to the shoreline, and per Don it will be an aluminum ramp just like the dock, that will rest on the bottom of the lake, and will not be attached to the shoreline, in a manner that would disturb anything on the bank at all. Bruce indicated that he does not think there is any issues with the dock, as they are resting it on the bottom. Dave asked if there were any other questions or concerns about this RDA, and Bruce asked about the boatlift, and per Don, it will be just like the dock, aluminum and will not be permanently installed into the lake bottom, but resting on the bottom, just as the dock(s) will be done. Bob confirmed that the boatlift would not be a permanent structure and Don stated no, they are not digging into the bank at all. Retaining wall will also be repaired, but will be removed from this RDA, as applicant will need to hire a bio-engineer to do that piece of the project, so the retaining seawall is officially removed from this RDA per applicant request, and approval paperwork will only apply to the rest of the work, not the seawall. The balance of work of walkway and new cottage, Bruce asked to clarify the lines on the plans as to what is new and what is old. Per Mike the old structure is coming down, and the heavy outline on the print is the new cottage, which is moving back away from the lake so that he is in code, and there will be a front porch, that is still within code. Techno-piers will be used for the porch, with no disturbance to the ground, they are just screwed in. Bruce asked where the EC wattles will be installed and Mike pointed it out on the plans, as entered. Bruce asked how they were taking down the cottage and Don stated with an excavator, with all debris coming out immediately. Well and septic are not a concern either as they are out of the way in the back area. Don will have 2 side by side containers for debris that will be removed the same day. Bruce asked what would be underneath the porch area, and Don said ¾ to 1” trap-rock, and the Commission agreed that will be best for the area, especially for run-off. KB also noted that on the print for reference on the project since it was added. Roger stated that 6” to 12” was fine for the depth of the trap-rock also. Bruce asked if we missed anything, and it appears that everything was covered. Dave asked if there is any other discussion, and all stated they are done, so Dave made a motion for a -3 determination for all work with the house, and a -2 determination for all work associated with the docks, with the following conditions: EC to be installed and inspected prior to work start; all debris to be removed from the resource area immediately; area beneath dock needs ¾” trap-stone, approx. 1’ in depth; no heavy equipment in the resource area; OCC reserves the right to inspect property for 3 years from date of approval. BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the work as stated above.


  • Public Hearing – NOI – Approved in December – Submitted by Berkshire Engineering, Inc., on behalf of Sally Laufer, 20 Soucie Lane, map 6 lot 116, regarding the removal & construction of existing single family home with attached deck, install of stone drip edge and extension of existing gravel drive, all within the 200’ riverfront area of the west branch of the FR in Otis. *** This is on our 1/15/19 agenda for Follow Up * To clarify an Error in Issuance *** Dave opened this hearing and explained that OCC jumped the gun in approving the project too soon as we found out that there was an old OOC still open that needs to be closed out before another OOC can be issued. Per Mark, since we already issued and closed, we will have to re-open again, and get onto another legal notice, and agenda, for resolution. Per Dave, we will do this, and KB will facilitate for next meeting, and notify applicant.




Enforcement Orders/Letters:


  • Reminder to discuss Reservoir Heights Road, and the enforcement order issued (and ratified on 10/30/2018), and sent via USPS mail to the owners, requesting them to attend our meeting to review how to correct the issues with material run-off into OR. *** On this Agenda for Follow Up *** EO Paperwork was resent via USPS certified mail, and apparently everyone has now received as all but one owner (who is not able to attend tonight) is in attendance. Dave asked if everyone understood why the EO was issued, for the issue of silt and run-off into the ROW from Reservoir Heights Road. Bottom line is that owners are in compliance with the EO, as they have attended our meeting as requested. We now have to ratify the EO, with a change of date to tonight, and decide how to move forward from here, through discussion and decision by the Commission. Ralph asked if they paved the road, will that resolve the issue, and per the Commission, they cannot design this for them; they will have to hire an engineer who can design something to correct the run-off of the water, and mitigate the fines and debris running into the ROW (Reservoir Road). Per RAM there are many ways to fix this and it is their responsibility to figure out how to correct. Dave recommends that we do not issue another EO, but rather ask the owners to file investigate a fix, and file with this commission by March 20, 2019 meeting, for a project design to fix once and for all. That being said, Dave made a motion to ratify the EO, and change the date to January 15, 2019; RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to ratify the EO and change the date to 1/15/19. Dave then stated that the owners should try to get something filed with OCC by the March 2019 meeting. One of the owners asked how the responsibility is divided when they are not all equally in Town the same amount of time; Dave stated that with all due respect, that would be something that they will all have to work out amongst each other, with investigation, and discussion. Per Dave, no other action will be taken, unless nothing is done by the March meeting. The Commission agreed.



Emergency Certifications:

Forest Cutting Plan

Extensions of Orders of Condition:

Certificate of Compliance Requests:

Unanticipated Business:


  • Hayes Pond Weed Issue: William O’Brien, potential work: Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant William O’Brien to address the Commission. Per Bill, the Scuba association was inquiring about doing something to mitigate the weeds issue that has exploded within the pond. Any kind of work in Hayes pond, diver activity, weed mitigation, water level, etc., is required to have a permission from OCC via a decision on a RDA or NOI. The owner of the dam is currently in violation as they did not have permission; dam safety will be contacted if any filings are received, so this is a huge can of worms that they will have to rectify. Unofficially, there are multiple existing violations, which should be addressed by an engineering firm. Per Bill he will FU with the association and owner of the dam. Also, Solitude Lake Management is the primary company in the area that handles chemical removal and maintenance of invasive species within the lakes, and would be the ones to contact about invasive species mitigation. Other than that, nothing can be done, particularly without permission from jurisdictional authorities. Bill thanked the Commission for their time and bid them good evening.


  • Review with Mark Stinson, MASS DEP Western Region Circuit Rider. Dave opened this item as unanticipated business, since we did not have an agenda from Mark. However, Mark simply wanted to attend to observe the meeting as he typically does a couple times annually, and be available for any questions, concerns and or updates with which we should be made aware.


Next office hours:  Wednesday, February 6, 2019 from 6-9 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.

Next meeting:  Tuesday, February 19, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.


Dave made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:59 PM. RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting.