SEYMOUR — The Inland Wetlands Commission closed the public hearing on the Bladen’s Ridge Affordable Housing Project on Monday, January 27.
At the start of the hearing, Atty. Lisa Feinberg of Carmody Torrance Sandak and Hennessey said the project’s engineer, John Paul Garcia of JPG and Associates, and Town Engineer Bryan Nesteriak of B & B Engineering had discussed potential changes to the plan over the past month.
Mr. Garcia presented the changes to the commission: all grid separators were changed to hydrodynamic separators in front of all six stormwater management systems; the lowest stormwater management system was changed from an underground system to an infiltration basin; at the request of the Planning and Zoning Commission, a swale was added just below the snow storage area to pick up any snow melt so it does not go onto the neighbors’ property; phases four and six were swapped; and the back entrance will be gated off for use only as an emergency vehicle entrance.
Mr. Nesteriak responded with a memo that Ms. Feinberg read aloud, which stated that he believes the changes, combined with the other elements of the stormwater drainage system, comply with the standards recommended by the state.
Mr. Nesteriak said there are some suggestions in his memo that commissioners should make conditions of approval, should they approve the project.
After some discussion about additional modifications that were made regarding both Planning and Wetlands, the commission unanimously approved a motion made by Commissioner Tim Connors to close the public hearing,
At the regular meeting, Mr. Connors made a motion to approve the Bladen’s Ridge Affordable Housing Project with 42 conditions of approval with which the applicant has agreed to comply.
Commissioners unanimously approved the motion.
The commission received communication from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection regarding Silver Lake Dam.
According to the correspondence, there are deficiencies at the dam and the property owner has been put on notice to make improvements.
Mr. Nesteriak said that a report on the property was provided five years ago and that the recent letter serves as a reminder for the owner to start moving on repairs.
According to Mr. Nesteriak, some of the needed work indicated in the letter will require a wetlands permit, but Chairman Jim Forsyth said removing trees and other maintenance-level work does not require preauthorization and should be taken care of as soon as possible.
The commission discussed a letter from the South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority to Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer Mike Marganski regarding a public hearing on the sale of 59 Rimmon Rd.
Mr. Nesteriak explained that on occasion, the Regional Water Authority has houses that are within or adjacent to their water catch basin areas and that over time, it tries to sell them.
He continued that the public hearing regarding its sale of the property does not directly pertain to the commission, but that the Regional Water Authority was just keeping the commission updated.
The commission received an application for a filling and grading permit from a resident at 8 Spruce Brook Rd.
Mr. Marganski said the application was a continuation of a notice of violation.
The resident said that when he started the project, which entailed bringing in dirt that is now 100 feet outside of the wetlands, he was informed that his whole property was considered wetlands.
The property was flagged after a soil scientist report was done, which he submitted to the commission.
The applicant is now attempting to fill in areas with soil as needed and would like to continue the project by grading the area down and replanting trees and grass.
Mr. Marganski said the proposed grade does not appear to be significant, and he has visited the property several times.
He continued that by issuing the permit, the fee must be doubled since the applicant performed work without obtaining a permit first.
The commission unanimously approved the application.
Commissioners received a letter from resident James Brennan, who is a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission, regarding 56 Canfield Rd.
Mr. Forsyth said the last he knew, Mr. Brennan owned the property and due to a dispute, he was in the midst of litigation.
Mr. Brennan said this is no longer true; his letter regards a brook that is incorrectly located on the record map of the property.
He continued that he met with Mr. Marganski, who said that the record map did not need to be corrected since the commission did not vote to act on his letter at that time.
The reason he brought it up, he said, is that there may be liability down the road since the property is now for sale and the map included with the online property listing is incorrect.
He said the site plan has no brook or water shown at all, even though there is an extensive watercourse that runs through the property.
Mr. Brennan said he was concerned since he owns the property and potential buyers may be aggrieved due to the incorrect map.
Mr. Forsyth said that commissioners would take the issue under advisement and discuss it amongst themselves before coming to a determination.
The commission received a notice of violation at 2 High Ridge Rd.
Mr. Marganski said he received a complaint regarding work being done on the property.
Upon his review, he found that the work included the installation of a driveway and some riprap along the watercourse of the pond nearby.
In previous years, there were trees, but Mr. Marganski said he was unsure if they were taken down during the project.
Mike Herman, the resident of the property, said he was unaware that the work he was doing was not permitted.
Mr. Herman had taken down trees that were leaning against the house, pictures of which he showed to the commission.
He said he had a soil scientist come and test the area where he did the work, who determined it was not a wetlands.
Mr. Herman continued that with the pond and brook being on the property line, he understands the commission’s concern, but that he has pictures of garbage and asphalt chunks in the water, so the water is not an untouched wetlands but rather a “dumping ground for the nearby development.”
Mr. Forsyth said the commission would ask Mr. Herman for an application, have him fill out an A2 survey and have him submit a soil report with his application.
The board received a stormwater management application for 31 Silvermine Rd.
Mike Judson, who submitted with the applicant, gave a brief overview of the application.
The parcel is a 5.1-acre piece of land located in the GI2 industrial zone. There is a 5,000-square-foot industrial building on the site, with driveway access off Silvermine Road.
The building will be used for warehousing.
The existing driveway is not configured well for vehicles approaching from the south; the intersection makes it dangerous, so access is difficult. Once they are on the site, after cars are parked, there is only about 40 feet for a vehicle to maneuver in and out of the area.
There are currently two catch basins for stormwater on the site and an existing retention area on the northern side of the building.
The applicant is planning to install a retaining wall and to expand the driveway.
The proposed stormwater system will keep the two catch basins and add a new catch basin at the top of the driveway on top of a hydrodynamic separator.
The stormwater management area will be an open catch basin that will improve water quality, as will the detention pond.
Mr. Judson said that the proposed activities are not within a regulated area.
The plan is to considerably regrade the site near the driveway so material will not leave the site, but will fill in the rear of the building.
The commission unanimously accepted the application.
Mr. Marganski reported that to help all commissioners on all boards in town, there will be a presentation by Bruce Hyde on Thursday, March 26, on the Guide for Making Local Land Use Decisions in the State of Connecticut.
Mr. Hyde will discuss all the responsibilities of the commissioners and wetlands officers.
Building Inspector Jim Baldwin said the commission should consider appointing him as the Inland Wetlands Enforcement Officer, because Mr. Marganski is not always in the office, and it could help the department move things along more quickly.
Mr. Forsyth said he would add it to the next meeting’s agenda.