Fall River Commission Deliberates on Wetland Restoration and Rail Trail Construction

In a recent meeting, the Fall River Conservation Commission addressed a series of environmental concerns and development projects that have implications for local conservation efforts. The commission reviewed wetland restoration plans, debated the conditions for a swimming pool installation, and discussed the progress of the Quequechan River Rail Trail Phase 4A construction, among other agenda items.

One notable issue discussed was the Notice of Intent for a property on Hayfield Lane and zero Field Stone Lane, where an after-the-fact filing for an inground swimming pool construction raised concerns due to its encroachment into an approved bordering vegetated wetland. The commission scrutinized the wetland violation and the potential impact on a drainage easement. The applicant’s engineer presented a wetland revegetation plan, which included replication efforts on an adjacent parcel. However, the commission stressed the importance of obtaining approval from the Department of Community Utilities, citing the Wetlands Protection Act. The commission’s dialogue with the applicant’s representative revealed a history of errors in the initial plan submission and the steps taken to address the wetland alteration.

In conjunction with the wetland restoration debate, the commission also focused on the installation of a swimming pool at the same location. The potential for pool backwash to contaminate the drainage system was a concern, leading the commission to request the installation of a dry well. Additionally, a 3x3x3 crush stone pit for backwash was mandated to be situated 25 feet from the wetlands.

Another major topic of discussion was the ongoing development of the Quequechan River Rail Trail Phase 4A. The project, which involves the creation of an 800 linear foot path connecting Kekan Street to Father Travassos Park, required careful consideration of wetland resource areas, setbacks, and the extent of permanent impacts. The commission evaluated issues related to construction access and the gradual development of the project. The city, identified as the applicant, was noted to be working in conjunction with multiple landowners. The commission’s engagement with the rail trail construction is indicative of its role in overseeing projects that intersect with environmental conservation.

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The commission also revisited the alterations to the design of the rail trail near the Fall River Knitting Mills, necessitated by changes in the area’s layout. The need to expedite the usage of OPA funds for the project was mentioned. Additionally, the commission discussed the 69r Alden project, expressing concerns about the size of the housing units and their potential effects on easements.

In another development, the commission noted the completion of the 185 Napoleon Street project, which had been issued a certificate of compliance. The project, now finalized, reportedly had no negative impacts on the resource area. In contrast, the Florence Street project faced a denial of the superseding order of conditions, and the applicant had filed an appeal with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), effectively taking the matter out of the commission’s hands.

Apart from specific project deliberations, the commission handled routine matters such as tabling the request for a certificate of compliance for road construction and a determination of accessibility due to incomplete submissions. A cease and desist order for a property on Bart Street and Bronson Street was also discussed, with the property owner hiring a consultant to develop a restoration plan, leading to the removal of the item from the agenda to grant time for plan formulation.

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The meeting concluded with administrative actions, including the assignment of a commission member to the Community Preservation Committee (CPC), reviewing the yearly operational plan of the KAO’s commuter service, and examining a notification filed by the South Coast Rail regarding a special project designation permanent extension and modification.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.

Mayor:
Paul Coogan
Environmental Commission Officials:
Paulo J. Amaral, Christopher Boyle, John Brandt, James Cusick, Luis Ferreira, Reverend James Hornsby, Nikita Lynn Valencia, Daniel Aguiar (Conservation Commission Agent), Nina Krueger (Head Administrative Clerk), Nina Pavao (Head Clerk)

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