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Industrial Access Project Gains Wetlands Approval



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Following technical review at a February 26 session, Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) members approved a wetlands/watercourses protection permit for a construction project that would provide vehicular access through a wetland to an Edmond Road site, where future industrial development is planned.

In approving that permit, IWC members placed eight technical conditions on their endorsement. The permit specifies the environmental protection measures that will be taken before, during, and after the construction work to protect wetlands and watercourses in the affected area at 3 Edmond Road, near the Exit 10 interchange of Interstate 84.

Voting to grant the permit were IWC Chairman Sharon Salling, Craig Ferris, Michael McCabe, Suzanne Guidera, Kendall Horch, and Megan Thorn.

Industrial developer 5-K Enterprises, Inc, of 3 Edmond Road plans the construction of a private driveway, including a culvert crossing of a stream, to provide industrial access at the 23-acre site, which it owns.

More than a decade ago, 5-K gained IWC and Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approvals to construct industrial buildings, which were then built at the western section of that property. The proposed new road construction would provide access to the eastern section of the site. The rolling, wet site has M-5 (Industrial) zoning.

At the February 26 IWC session, civil engineer John Mack, Jr, of the Stuart Somers Company, representing 5-K, told IWC members that he conferred several times with town land use officials in determining what would make for a workable project before submitting the IWC application.

Mr Mack explained that plans call for a settling basin to be built near the driveway to trap sediment that would occur as a result of construction work. Mr Mack pointed out that an industrial building, which is depicted in the mapping for the project, is only “conceptual” and was included to provide a sense of how a future industrial project in that area might be configured.

Wetlands specialist William Kenney of William Kenney Associates, representing the applicant, noted that the wetlands lying west of Edmond Road are much smaller today than they were before I-84 was constructed roughly 50 years ago.

“We want to minimize impacts (on wetlands) as much as we can” in connection with the driveway’s construction, he said.

However, “some loss of wetlands is unavoidable,” he said, when considering that the driveway must pass through a wet area to provide access to a dry developable area on the site.

To compensate for the loss of about 2,700 square feet of wetlands due to filling, the developer will provide “mitigation” through the creation of about 6,000 square feet of new wetlands adjacent to existing wetlands, he said. That would be accomplished by altering the geometry of a slope on the site to allow water to spread across the terrain, plus the planting of appropriate wetlands vegetation, he said.

Mr Ferris, however, questioned the wisdom of cutting into a slope to create new wetlands, saying that such a measure could cause environmental problems stemming from earth moving.

Surveyor Charles Spath, Jr, of the Stuart Somers Company, representing the applicant, said that any future development on the site, beyond the planned driveway and culvert crossing of a stream, would include additional facilities designed to protect surface water quality.

The concrete culvert, which would cross below the two-lane driveway, would have dimensions of 6 feet tall by 8 feet wide. That pipe size is keyed to the 100-year storm, or the greatest single storm flow that could be expected during a hypothetical 100-year period.

The developer agreed to indicate on the project’s mapping where soil would be stockpiled on the site.

Conditions Of Approval

Among the eight technical conditions of the permit’s approval, the IWC is requiring that: erosion and sedimentation controls be installed before construction starts and then maintained during construction; the marked limits of physical disturbance at the site must be inspected and approved before construction starts; project plans must not be altered unless formally requested and approved; and work must not occur in areas beyond the erosion and sedimentation control devices; and other requirements.

Construction plans call for altering a stream along 40 feet of its length. The project would require about 500 cubic yards of earthen fill to be placed in wetlands/watercourses.

Overall, there would be 400 cubic yards of earthen cutting and 800 cubic yards of filling.

The driveway would extend onto the site from the western side of Edmond Road in an area about 250 feet north of the rear driveway for the retail complex known as 75 Church Hill Road. The curving paved industrial driveway would be approximately 325 feet long.

The industrial project is the second private development project to take advantage of its site’s proximity to a recent $2.85-million state Department of Transportation (DOT) traffic improvement project, which was done in the Church Hill Road area lying west of I-84’s Exit 10 interchange.

That DOT project, which was completed last spring, shifted the southern end of Edmond Road to the west, thus making Edmond Road part of a conventional four-way signalized intersection with Church Hill Road and Commerce Road. The realignment of Edmond Road was intended to improve travel safety in an area of town that has a high accident rate. That project also improved safer access for heavy trucks to industrial properties along Edmond Road.

The initial private project to take advantage of the improved roadway geometry in that area is a retail center known as 75 Church Hill Road, whose rear driveway intersects with the new southern section of Edmond Road.

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