Southwick Conservation Commission Tackles Environmental Compliance Issues

The Southwick Conservation Commission meeting held on March 18th addressed a range of pressing environmental compliance issues, including stormwater problems on Mort Vining Road and concerns regarding a subdivision’s certificate of compliance. The commission also grappled with the late introduction of a substantial report for a 5:30 Griffin Road application, raising questions about the adequacy of review time and legal compliance with open meeting laws.

One focus of the meeting was the partial request for a certificate of compliance for the Greens East subdivision. Issues identified at lot 17, such as the absence of a tracking pad and the unsatisfactory condition of the drain and infiltration basins, led to the commission’s decision to table the request pending corrective actions and a site visit to ensure compliance with environmental standards.

Another topic was the discussion surrounding stormwater issues on Mort Vining Road. The commission, after reviewing a map and photos of the property’s flooded backyard, determined that the wetland-related flooding was not a violation. However, the members deliberated on various factors contributing to the situation, considering the landscape and recent weather conditions.

The commission also took up the question of establishing a liaison to the Suffield Conservation Commission. In addition, the commission approved social media posts designed to educate the public on wetlands and conservation topics.

Contentious discussion arose over the last-minute addition of the 5:30 Griffin Road lpp application variant review to the meeting’s agenda. The 40-page report’s late inclusion sparked debate over the sufficiency of notice and the ability of commission members to adequately assess the application. Ultimately, the commission suggested postponing the discussion to allow for proper notification and adherence to open meeting laws.

The commission also tackled a new application for a situational exception involving the placement of docks and the hardship tied to disability aspects. After discussion on the application’s presentation and the need for a review, the commission decided to open the hearing for comments while deferring any action. A site visit was proposed to better understand the dock placement and potential boundary issues, with the idea of using GPS for future dock location marking brought into discussion.

Additionally, the commission addressed a pipe that extended slightly over a property line, debating the use of a permanent exception as a reference point. The commission called for a map on file for each dock and follow-up on the pipe work. This led to discussions on a Noble Steeve subdivision, centering on a deed restriction for open space and the need for a 401 Water Quality certification, including the documentation’s adequacy and the bond amount for the project.

Furthermore, the commission reviewed a case involving a wetland violation on Sam West Road and deliberated on a landowner’s offer to donate 13 acres of land. The members weighed the benefits and potential drawbacks, considering the town’s capacity to maintain and protect the land.

The meeting also delved into a discussion about outdoor cooking regulations at the Tea House, with proximity to the riverfront and floodplain being of particular concern. Additionally, the commission considered the purchase of hats bearing the town’s emblem for official use.

Finally, the commission voted to enter an executive session to discuss the deployment of security personnel or devices.

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.
Chief Administrative Officer:
Karl J Stinehart
Environmental Commission Officials:
Mehmet Mizanoglo, Norm Cheever, Sabrina Pooler, Kevin Solek, Andrew J Reardon, Christopher J Pratt, Dennis J Clark, Jean Nilsson, Gerald G Patria, Maryssa Cook-Obregon, Rose Hanna, David S MacWilliams, Brian E Drenen, Seth Kellogg

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