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Planners worried about Meadows flooding

July 08, 2009
Though they have no official say in the matter, the Planning Board decided at its meeting Monday to send a letter to the School Board explaining their concerns with the Meadows Project.

"I asked that it be put on the agenda," said Dennis Corrigan, alternate member of the board, "because we moved on from it at the last meeting and never went back to the law which allows us to write a letter stating our position on the Meadows."

Corrigan said that he felt the board should contribute their opinions to the process, because the Planning Board also acts as protector of the land. He said the phased plan outlined by the Department of Environmental Services doesn't make any sense to him and he has concerns about the flooding of the area.

"I think we should wait and see what the permit says," said Selectman Kevin Hayes. "We don't know what they are going to recommend or ask the school district to complete. We can look at that and add additional comments if we feel they missed something. I think the School Board will listen to us in the best interest of the town."

Corrigan asked the board if they shouldn't make their feelings known before they do anything, rather than waiting until after the process is further down the road. Hayes said that in his experience DES doesn't let much get by them, and they go by the book. He repeated his opinion of waiting for the permit.

Paul Fluet, from Fluet Engineering, presented the plans for the fields to the conservation commission and planning board as well as the zoning board and school board previously. H explained that there are five fields planned and the borders of the wetlands is 500 ft. from the new fields. One field is planned for football, another for soccer, a softball diamond, multi-use field and a practice field.

The commission received permission from the Board of Selectmen to utilize the environmental attorney retained by the town in the appeal process against the permit for the dredge and fill of the Meadows. The appeal has been sent in to the Department of Environmental Services based on concerns from the commission that there were questions about the project that remained unanswered by the Meadows Advisory Committee.

"We also have concerns about the basin," said Polly Sanfacon, chairman of the Planning Board. "I think we can certainly discuss that."

She reminded the board that they can only make recommendations and they don't have the power to approve or deny the permit. DES has the final determination on whether the project goes forward.

"If we had an applicant that we could say yay or nay to coming to us, we would never say yes to this," said Corrigan. "We wouldn't do it if we had the same concerns about flooding that we have here."

The Planning Board decided to send a letter to the School Board expressing their concerns about the flooding during the phasing of the project. They charged John Ayer, director of Planning and Land Use as well as Sanfacon to draft a letter to bring to the next meeting for approval.

"If you drive by there you can see how bad it is," said Corrigan. "Those houses there get flooded and it's just terrible."

Martin Lord & Osman
Varney Smith
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