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Incomplete Application Halts Jelliff Mill Discussion

The Inland Wetlands Commission will continue debating the application at their meeting Monday.

 

members found out at a special meeting Tuesday evening that the   does not yet have an approved septic system or floodplain permit. 

While discussing the potential for underground pollution and chemical release into the wetlands, Town Attorney Christopher J. Jarboe pointed out that the Sanitarium never approved or disapproved of the development's septic system. 

"In absence of septic system approval," said Commissioner Toddy Turrentine, "we can not be certain that there will not be any underground pollution." She said that she would be inclined to reject the application due to it being "incomplete."

Commissioner George Blauvelt suggested that, while he would consider a conditional approval for the application with the condition that the septic system will be approved, he would not issue a conditional approval without a floodplain permit. 

"This is so much bigger, I don't think we can stretch this to a conditional approval," said Blauvelt.

Commissioner Colm Dobbyn noted the potential danger of the property flooding. 

"I think we’d be negligent in our duty to approve this without taking into account flood hazards," said Dobbyn, "It’s a matter of public safety. I understand state statute can push things through, but I don't think it was intended to say residential buildings in flood zones would be subjected to harm." 

The Commission also expressed their concerns with the repair of the dam and bridge and whether or not repairs would be completed before construction of housing commences. 

"Right now it’s a safety issue," said Commissioner Dan Stepanek. "The dam is in disarray and, if it’s going to flood, I can’t imagine FEMA would provide insurance for that. Once the dam is repaired, I think FEMA would welcome something like this. It has just taken the applicant so long to get that dam repaired...it’s paramount he get that thing repaired."

The such as sediment, fertilizer and pesticides running off into Jelliff Mill pond was also addressed. 

Blauvelt cited a statement by the applicant that the Flexi-Pave driveway on the property would be pitched in a way that no additional sediment would run off into the waterways. Commissioners Dobbyn and Turrentine expressed their scepticism. 

"With the amount of cars on this piece of property, I find the applicant's statement that there will be no additional run-off to be suspect," said Dobbyn. "It seems like common sense dictates that there would be." Turrentine agreed.

Commissioner Sven Englund addressed destruction and degradation and noted that the application showed a dedication to this issue. 

"This would be a concern with any wetland application we would receive, therefore the applicant has shown they’re willing to make sure there’s no silt running down into the river and this particular case is showing more than ordinary ways of stopping pollution from most of other applications. I think the application addressed this," said Englund. 

"They have to be very vigilant about not letting it happen," added Stepanek. "They say it won't, but it still could. It's very important to take it slow, there's so much activity going on on these four acres. They have to watch it. I hope they will."

Turrentine agreed that the project was very large for such a small area and also brought up of the project's affordability. 

"There are so many moving pieces and parts that require specialized maintenance and we’ve never seen any dollar figures for this," said Turrentine. "To me it seems like an odd fit with an area that includes some affordable housing. The Condo Association might not be able to afford the special care for affordable housing condos." 

Dobbyn stated that Turrentine's statement may just be speculation. 

The Commission also agreed with Englund's suggestion that, as has been done in the past, the applicant should appoint an individual to make sure that everything concerning pollution of wetlands as described in the application is taken care of by the construction workers. 

The Commission will review and potentially edit a revised application at their May 21 meeting. Members have until June 4, 35 days from April 30, to vote on the application. 

Elmcrest May 16, 2012 at 03:22 PM
Thanks for covering this story. Second paragraph -- what "Sanitarium" are you referring to? Please tell me that's a typo.
Chris May 17, 2012 at 12:38 AM
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