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IWC Hears Presentation For Proposed Commerce Road Storage Facility



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A five building self-storage facility was the topic of discussion at the Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission’s (IWC) June 22 meeting at Newtown Municipal Center.

IW Application #21-16 is by 19 Commerce Road, LLC, for a property located at 19 Commerce Road, to construct a self-storage facility with five buildings and more than 37,000 square feet of regulated activity including grading, filling, and construction.

Engineer Larry Edwards, of J. Edwards & Associates LLC — whose most recent project in town includes the Holly Estates Subdivision on Berkshire Road — was representing the evening’s applicant.

He set up his presentation and noted that the parcel of land has approximately 5.6 acres.

“The wetlands that are located on the site are basically a corridor that comes through the property and flows from the west under Commerce Road and then eventually down past the treatment plant,” Edwards said. “The wetlands [are] basically a small extension of the actual watercourse itself. There are very steep banks that come up on both sides, specifically on the northern side of the brook.”

He referred to an area as Building One and that it has already “been developed to some extent” with a parking area. The area to the north side of the brook is wooded and not developed.

Edwards reports that there will be “no direct impact to the wetlands,” but it will have 2.1 acres of activity in the regulated area within the 100-foot setback. He mentioned they will not touch the area with the slope.

He added that the buildings will have underground stormwater detention systems to treat runoff.

According to Edwards, there were two alternative layouts considered: one would have required a wetland crossing and impacted the watercourse, while the other would do the same with a smaller building.

For the current plan, he said, “Basically, we have proposed to wrap the construction areas on building number one and the other building there with a double row silt fence … and we have three erosion control sediment basins proposed.”

Edwards anticipates the site being constructed in two phases. The first would be to get the driveway stabilized, then work their way up the site. He does not foresee “any major blasting,” because of the site’s sandy gravel.

Commissioner Feedback

Sharon Salling, chair of the IWC, mentioned that most, if not all, the commission members have been out to the site in person. IWC member Mike McCabe had two initial questions for the applicant. The first was if the buildings would have interior access to the units.

Edwards responded that they all would and that “the only one that would be exterior access is the smaller building.”

McCabe then asked if there would be any drains inside the buildings in case of spills in the units. Edwards turned it over to the owner of the property, Rob Manna, of 23 Commerce Road LLC, and it was mentioned that there would not be drains inside the building.

IWC member Kendall Horch inquired, “Do you have any hydrodynamic separators proposed at all?”

Edwards said not at this time, but if the commission wants it to be a condition they would “be happy to comply with that.”

She then wanted to know if there was a limit of disturbance line there, and Edwards said they do not, but they intended the silt fences to serve that purpose.

“My greatest concern is Building One and its proximity to the river/stream,” Horch said.

After reviewing the site plan, Edwards said that from the edge of the pavement to the edge of the wetlands is about 28 feet. Horch also asked if they have all the trees marked and if they are showing which trees are coming down as well as which are remaining based on the grading.

Edwards said no, they have not.

“I feel that is very important in relation to Building One. I’m concerned about the canopy,” she said.

Edwards said they will look into that.

On the topic of the trees, McCabe wanted to verify that they would not be removing trees from the steep slopes on the northern side, and Edwards confirmed.

Stormwater Management

IWC member Craig Ferris requested Edwards go over the stormwater management plan. Edwards said that instead of an aboveground stormwater basin, they are proposing underground stormwater basins, which he noted are more expensive.

He added, “As far as the overall amount of water, the flow rate coming off the property on [the] site, is going to be less than previously exists. We are holding back all the increased runoff in the impervious areas and releasing it so that the peak flows do not ever reach those of the existing conditions on the site.”

Ferris also asked how the water will get to the bottom basin he sees located on the driveway side. Edwards said that is a temporary basin for construction. He then clarified that while he said there were three basins on-site there will actually be four basins.

While discussing stormwater, McCabe requested Edwards walk them through how the different drainage areas will work, including the area “B3” on the site plan.

“Drainage area B3 will go into the underground system,” Edwards said.

Salling wanted to know about how the drainage discharge that goes into Tom Brook will be treated.

“All of it eventually comes down into Tom Brook. Basically, we are taking the water from the whole development area up above and that goes into the two stormwater detention basins,” Edwards said.

He noted they can install separators for the road water.

Horch asked if they did a perc test, and Edwards said they were done for the detention basins. However, after looking at the paperwork, it was brought up that they were not put in the stormwater management plans. Edwards will check the data and get back to them.

McCabe asked if they were considering fencing along the wetland areas. Edwards said no, but that the property will be secured with a fence.

Salling brought up that there are two wetland functions listed in the Wetland Assessment Report by JMM Wetland Consulting Services. They have brought up the groundwater recharge and discharge, but they have not gone over the fish and aquatic habitat portion.

Soil Scientist Jim McManus, of JMM Wetland Consulting Services, said, “I didn’t really pay too much attention to it because the steep slopes were going to keep all those trees there, and the shading will be there, and the heating of the water won’t happen. Not only that, but we are not going to have direct discharge to the brook.”

When discussing the stakes on the property, it was noted by McManus that he walked the entire site but did not flag the areas where there were steep slopes.

Town Concerns

Senior Land Use Enforcement Officer Steve Maguire brought up that he has concerns about the loss of buffer near the lower building, Building One.

“When we originally signed off on administrative approval for this, I kind of wanted to keep a 30-foot to 50-foot buffer along the wetland area. So looking at the disturbance limit now, it looks like some areas now are getting within five to ten feet of the watercourse,” Maguire pointed out.

Edwards said they are all two-to-one slopes, but they can change it to one-to-one slopes. He will consider alternatives to that.

Later in the discussion Maguire had concerns pertaining to water untreated entering the stream and Edwards said he would look into other options.

During the public participation portion, no one came up to speak.

The public hearing from the application will continue to the next regularly scheduled IWC meeting on Wednesday, July 13, at 7:30 pm, in the Council Chambers at the Newtown Municipal Center, 3 Primrose Street.

For more information, visit newtown-ct.gov/inland-wetlands-commission.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Newtown Inland Wetlands Commission conducted a public hearing, on June 22, for an application proposing to construct a self-storage facility with five buildings and more than 37,000 square feet of regulated activity at 19 Commerce Road. Currently, the property has woods and is located between The Newtown Bee’s former print publishing plant and Natural Lawn Care of America. —Bee Photo, Silber
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