TOWN OF OTIS
01/19/2021 MEETING MINUTES
Location: Otis Town Hall, One North Main Road, Otis ** Remote Meeting Via Zoom ***
Conservation Commission Members present: Dave Sarnacki, Roger Meyer, Domenic Battista, Bruce Wall and Jeff Laramy.
Conservation Commission Members absent: None
Staff and others present: Kristen Brown OCC Admin Secretary; Daniel Giusti; Jackson Alberti w/Foresight Land Services; Chris Tryon w/BGT; Gail Beauregard; Mark Stinson w/MA DEP; others in attendance unknown, as not announced, nor signed-in with a full name on the Zoom application.
Opening items/Introduction of Commission members and staff. Dave opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m. He noted that the meeting is being recorded. The deadline for applications for the February 16, 2021 meeting is on Wednesday February 3, 2021 @ 6:00 PM. The next office hours, for the February 16, 2021 meeting, is also Wednesday February 3, 2021 from 6:00 –9:00 PM. ** Office hours will be conducted remotely until further notice; in person meetings will be held by appointment only ** Dave introduced the members of the commission, and asked everyone to turn off/down their cell phones for the duration of the meeting.
Minutes: Dave made a motion to approve minutes from the December 15, 2020 meeting, and the revised meeting minutes from November 2020 meeting; BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the December 15, 2020 meeting, and the revised minutes from the November 2020 meeting.
- Public Hearing – NOI – Submitted by Foresight Land Svc., Inc., on behalf of Glenn Steinberg, 32 Fawn Ct., map 10 lot 38, regarding proposed addition to single family home and related site-work, all within the 200’ resource area of Benton Brook. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicants to address the Commission. Dave noted that there were many comments/questions from MA DEP on this project, and as of today, the Commission has not had an opportunity to do another site inspection based on the revised plans. Jackson Alberti with Foresight Land Services was in attendance on behalf of applicant. Dave noted to Jackson that there were several concerns noted from MA DEP, and asked if they received these comments. Jackson said they indeed received said concerns, and they revised the plans as a result. Dave noted that OCC did receive the revised plans but have not yet been able to do another site inspection. Therefore, Dave asked if they would like a continuance for this hearing, to allow OCC to do a follow up site inspection, and Jackson agreed and requested a continuance. Dave made a motion to continue this hearing until the 2/16/21 meeting; RM 2nd and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the continuance.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Submitted by BGT, on behalf of Elisa Romm, 23 N. Lake Ave., map 18 lot 41, regarding the construction of stone patio, firepit, stepping stones along existing path & repair of existing retaining wall & steps, all within the BZ of Otis Reservoir. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Per Dave, there were no issues based on the site inspection, however, MA DCR, Green Docket Division (Dave briefly explained that Green Docket is a group within DCR that just started to review certain projects around Otis Reservoir), is doing a review on this property/submittal, and therefore, project cannot commence until MA DCR Green Docket approves and releases the project from hold. Dave further indicated that in speaking with Rep. Smitty Pignatelli by phone today, and based on that conversation, he feels that the Commission is best served to conduct and conclude its business, and any submittal affected by this MA DCR Green Docket review, will have an additional condition on any approval, that the Green Docket review must OK the work prior to commencement of the project. Chris Tryon, with BGT (Berkshire Geo-Technologies) was in attendance and agreed that he was aware of the additional Green Docket review and believed that it had to do with the stone steps for the purpose of ingress/egress to the water. Dave indicated that either way, because it is out of OCC purview, OCC is best to settle any questions based upon the WPA regs, and have then have a vote, with a condition as referenced above added to any approvals, to work with Green Docket prior to commencement. With that being said, Dave proceeded to address the only comment from the site inspection, which was regarding the stone steps into the water, which is on MA DCR land. No other concerns were noted by the Commission. Therefore, Dave made a motion for a -3 determination with the following conditions: any EC to be installed and inspected prior to work start; no heavy equipment in any resource area(s); all debris to be removed or covered daily; applicant must obtain approval for the stone steps from MA DCR Green Docket, prior to commencement of this specific part of the work, i.e., stone steps on state land. BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously for a -3 determination with the above conditions.
- Public Hearing – NOI – Submitted by Gail Beauregard, 29 S. Bay Rd., map 17D lot 23, regarding the rebuilding of existing seawall and steps into the water, all within the bank of the Otis Reservoir. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Per the notes from the site inspection, Dave asked if applicant would be re-using existing seawall stone, and per Gail Beauregard, yes, they would be utilizing the existing stone of the seawall. Bruce interrupted to advise the Chair that Commissioner Battista was booted from the Zoom meeting, and that he needed to be allowed back in to the meeting. Dave checked and agreed that several were waiting to be allowed into the meeting. Dave asked if DB was back on and he is. Dave proceeded to recap what just transpired above, for anyone who missed it. Per Bruce, he believed applicant wanted to terrace off the area slightly with stone as well. Gail agreed, and that they have a very steep area, and that the second level near the home, will be re-graded using existing soil and just re-level, between the two oak trees, about 40’ in length, and field stone will be used. Bruce asked if they would re-plant grass after the leveling, and Gail stated yes, they would keep that area grass. Bruce then asked if the area was vegetated historically, or was always grass, and Gail indicated it has always been lawn/grass. Gail indicated that there is vegetation down by the stone steps, and that they would not be touching any of the existing vegetation near the water. Bruce indicated that OCC likes to see plantings built up near seawalls for the benefit if the environment. He asked Gail if she had any adversity to planting more vegetation near the water line to build up that natural buffer, and Gail indicated she was not opposed and would agree to whatever the Commission ordered, and is happy to put additional shrubs near the water. KBB will email Gail the list of native plantings for this area after the meeting is adjourned. Bruce asked the Commission what they would like to see: every 2-3 feet to pant a shrub, and the Commission agreed that every 3’ is sufficient, for the area to both sides of the steps. Dave asked if any other discussion, and none being indicated, he made a motion to approve the NOI and issue an OOC for the above project, to include standard and special conditions, including the planting of native bushes/shrubs in the area of the stone steps at waters edge, every 3 feet, to both the left and right of the steps. JL & BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve and issue an OOC with the above referenced conditions.
- Public Hearing – NOI – Continued from December 15, 2020 Meeting – Submitted by Daniel Giusti, 1555 West Center Road, map 6 lot 172, regarding the installation of a WLC device, to mitigate beaver dam flooding, in the resource area of Benton Brook. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Daniel Giusti was in attendance as applicant and property owner. Dave indicated that while there has been a lot of discussion on this one, we believe we have Emily Stockman with Stockman and Associates, acting as a 3rd party peer reviewer on behalf of the Commission, and have this moving forward as needed. To recap, there were violations observed at the MA DEP level based on aerial photos, taken over the years. These violations need to be addressed in the form of Enforcement Order, before MA DEP will move on to issue a DEP file number for the work requested under the NOI submittal. Therefore, the NOI is on hold, until the EO is finalized and the 3rd party peer reviewer can get to the site for a delineation review, etc. Dave asked Mark if he had any concerns outside the original violations noted, and Mark is satisfied that Emily has been retained by OCC to do a 3rd party peer review, and he will issue a DEP file number once he feels like the Enforcement is being accelerated and properly addressed/handled. Therefore, Dave made a motion to continue this hearing once again to address the EO and peer review. Dave asked Dan if he had any questions, and Dan indicated No, he understands and is anxious to get the peer review completed. Dave indicated that he believes that everything right now is weather dependent in terms of site/field work, and KBB chimed in to agree, and state that from today’s POV, Emily can get into the site and do her thing, only when the snowpack is gone, probably some time in April 2021. She has to do soil hydrology tests, among many others as part of the peer review process, and unfortunately, frozen ground does not yield. Dan asked if Emily would work with his representatives, Foresight Land Services, and KB indicated that yes, she would work closely with them, and Dan did not have to get into the middle to facilitate any of this. With all of this being said, Dave made a motion to continue this hearing to the February 16, 2021 meeting; DB 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the continuance.
Forest Cutting Plan
Extensions of Orders of Condition:
Certificate of Compliance Requests:
- Public Hearing – COC Request – Submitted by R. Levesque Assocs., on behalf of Robert T. Goyette, 491 Pine Rd., map 17C lot 49, regarding request for COC for work permitted under OOC 254-0403, which was reconstruction of dry laid stone retaining wall along the bank of Otis Reservoir. Dave opened this hearing and asked the Commission if any questions stemming from the site inspection, based on the site inspection notes, looks like all work was completed great and there were no issues. Therefore, Dave made a motion to issue a COC as requested; JL 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve and issue a COC for this project/OOC.
- 29 Bay Point Road – Dave did a quick overview of the project in question, where the owner at said site, filed an RDA to do work, and OCC did not have an issue, but as land owners, MA DCR DID. Therefore, OCC denied the RDA, and issued a positive determination – this happened at the November 2020 meeting. Fast forward to today, and in Dave speaking with Rep. Smitty Pignatelli as mentioned earlier, MA DCR no longer has issue with the proposed work on the now denied RDA, so what should OCC do to rectify this since we have already issued a positive determination. Per Mark Stinson w/MA DEP, applicant must file another RDA, same as the first, and the Commission can then issue the negative determination under the new RDA. This is the only way to resolve. Dave asked KB to communicate this to applicant, and facilitate him getting another RDA submitted. Applicant must request the withdrawal of the previous RDA, which eliminates our denial, and then he must file another RDA. Bruce asked if everyone was clear on that and they are. Dave indicated once we get the withdrawal request, and the newly filed RDA, we will approve the withdrawal and hear the new RDA. Dave asked if Mark with MA DEP had any questions, and he stated none, that as busy as OCC is, they are doing a great job! Dave thanked Mark.
Next office hours: Wednesday, February 3, 2021 from 6-9 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.
Next meeting: Tuesday, February 16, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.
Dave made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 6:56 PM. BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting.