MIDDLEBURY — The Conservation Commission, meeting Tuesday, October 29, approved a plan for mitigation at 288 Watertown Rd.
Brian J. Baker, P.E., with Civil 1, Woodbury, represented property owner Peter Vileisis, and presented plans that would be used during inspections and steps on how Mr. Vileisis expected to stabilize the land.
Near an open meadow is an existing driveway and smaller culverts that have become clogged.
Those will be changed to larger culverts to facilitate water movement and the applicant’s soil scientist described how there would be no erosion on site.
However, the plan is to remove existing stockpiles in the regulated area, ensure slopes at the driveway were addressed and topsoil be seeded.
There is a water course on the property with an existing detention basin that should be stable; Mr. Baker suggested monitoring the basin in the spring.
His observations were conducted in July, when weather was relatively dry.
Chair Paul J. Bowler commented that the plans address all of the concerns raised by Conservation Enforcement Officer Deborah Seavey. Town Engineer John Calabrese concurred that all his issues were addressed.
As the commissioners voted, Commissioner Curtis S. Bosco strongly reminded Mr. Vileisis that any future activity in the regulated area must be brought to the Conservation Commission prior to work being done there.
Members of the public spoke following the commission’s ruling, during public participation, to note that they’d previously shared concerns about dumping of material on that site and those comments were noted during the last Planning and Zoning Commission meeting.
Mr. Vileisis’ application had been tabled during that meeting to wait for a ruling from the Conservation Commission.
Mr. Bowler responded that the commission had made its determination on the application and referred the neighboring property owners to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
In other business, the commission approved an application at 3 Sandy Beach Rd.
Before conducting business on the matter, Mr. Bosco recused himself and Mr. Bowler noted that neighboring property owners had retained counsel and submitted a letter asking the town to refrain from permitting activity on the site.
The letter described the neighbors’ observations: “The owners of 3 Sandy Beach Road consistently make improvements to 3 Sandy Beach Road, often without town review and permits, to the undocumented peril of the lake and neighboring properties.”
The letter also requests a peer review of engineering reports and plans submitted by the applicant to ensure no adverse effects from concrete blocks installed along the shoreline.
Speaking to the commission, property owner Paul Anderson said 13 blocks had been installed approximately five years ago to reinforce an existing, yet unstable, wall against erosion.
He confirmed that the blocks are documented in the plan, which seeks to upgrade the existing plumbing system to include a bathroom with a holding tank and reserve area.
The health department has reviewed the plans for the seasonal residence, but the system could support a full year of occupancy.
The commission debated whether to vote on the matter or keep the application open in light of the letter before questioning the use of concrete blocks at the shoreline.
“He’s basically looking for forgiveness, not permission,” Mr. Bowler noted to the other commissioners after Mr. Anderson admitted he did not receive a permit to install the blocks.
He emphasized that there would be no more blocks added in the future. “My eventual goal is to come in to get permission to build a new wall and the blocks would go away.”
The commission preferred the blocks remain in place given their usefulness in preventing erosion and their approval of the application noted the temporary nature of the existing blocks.
The commission emphasized its expectation that the owner would return to the commission for permission to install a permanent solution.