Jul 22, 2019
HOME : MEETINGS AND NOTICES

Conservation Commission Meeting

July 02, 2019
Meetings & Notices



CITY OF NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS

Conservation Commission
________________________________________

Meeting Notice

Tuesday, July 2, 2019


The North Adams Conservation Commission will hold a meeting on Tuesday, July 2, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. in conference room 202 in City Hall.

AGENDA

Roll call 6:00 p.m.

Public hearings new business

• A Notice of Intent submitted by Fuss & O’Neill on behalf of Berkshire Gas Company for property located at 1160 South State Street. The applicant is seeking an Order of Conditions for a project that will include disconnection and removal of equipment, installation of new concrete structures, piping modifications and connections, and electrical system modifications.

• A Request for Determination of Applicability submitted by Lincoln Forestry Company on behalf of the City of North Adams for property located on West Mountain Road to determine whether the proposed culvert installation is subject to the Wetlands Protection Act.

Approval of minutes

• Public meeting – May 28, 2019

Adjournment




Jason Moran, Chairman
North Adams Conservation Commission
June 26, 2019
CITY OF NORTH ADAMS, MASSACHUSETTS

Conservation Commission
________________________________________

PUBLIC MEETING

MINUTES

July 2, 2019

Members present Chairman Jason Moran, Jason Canales, Adam Galambos, and Andrew Kawczak

Members absent Tim Lescarbeau and Elena Traister

Call to order Chairman Moran called the public meeting to order 6:00pm with the presence of a quorum.

Public hearings new business
• A Notice of Intent submitted by Fuss & O’Neill on behalf of Berkshire Gas Company for property located at 1160 South State Street. The applicant is seeking an Order of Conditions for a project that will include disconnection and removal of equipment, installation of new concrete structures, piping modifications and connections, and electrical system modifications.

Chairman Moran opened the public hearing to Travis McCarthy, production supervisor with Berkshire Gas. This site is one of 6 gate stations and is a peak shaving facility. In cold weather, when they don’t have enough capacity or the pricing is too high, they mix propane with air to supplement northern Berkshire county. The site is dated and needs an upgrade to the facility for the propane air mixing components.

Matt Kissane, geologist, and Amy Bell, engineer with Fuss & O’Neill explained the project to the commission which will include piping modifications and a new mixer. He pointed out the previously disturbed area, riverfront, BVW buffer area and the 100’/200’ riverfronts. The majority of work will be outside the resource area in previously disturbed area. Some work will be in the 200’ riverfront and BVW area. Nothing will extend to the resource area. Changes to impervious will be a concrete pad for a new mixer but will be in the area where there was a previous mixer already. New pipe supports in 200’ riverfront area that are 2’ in diameter. They are in a National Heritage area; the application has been submitted and is currently under review. For erosion control they will be using straw bales with silt fence backing along proposed work areas. There is no stormwater system on site; setup of site does not really allow for one. Ms. Bell stated that all riverfront work is previously disturbed; they are not encroaching any further on the existing conditions than the bank of the river. The only work that they have is in the 200’ buffer and the 100’ buffer.

Chairman Moran inquired about whether the electrical grounding work is required for this type of project. Mr. McCarthy stated that it is required under electrical code to maintain electrical neutrality to avoid a chance of spark. Chairman Moran clarified that the facility must be grounded. Mr. McCarthy confirmed that the electrical engineers designed it to make the site neutral. Chairman Moran stated that the Act does speak to alternative means but in this case there aren’t any alternative means, it needs to be grounded and done in that fashion. Mr. McCarthy explained that they are hooking into the existing fence as part of the design. Ms. Bell explained that it’s all trench work so nothing above ground is going to change. Once they put it in, it will all be restored back to its original condition.

Chairman Moran inquired about the timeframe of the project. Mr. McCarthy stated that they are hoping to be operational by heating season starting in November. He is confident they will be completed by then based on the last project that they did.

Chairman Moran indicated that there is a file number but no response from Natural Heritage yet. He inquired about a response to the questions from the state. Ms. Bell stated that the whole site is previously disturbed. Chairman Moran clarified question 3 from the state and encouraged a memo with responses. Chairman Moran requested further questions from the board.

Commissioner Kawczak inquired about the logistics of proximity to Osterman. Clarification was made regarding property lines of Osterman vs Berkshire Gas. Mr. McCarthy explained that Osterman has a retail facility where Berkshire Gas does not. The tanks that used to be accessed altogether have been disconnected and no longer accessed by both facilities.
Commissioner Kawczak requested clarification regarding the mixer pad; the air and propane mixer. Mr. McCarthy clarified that the mixer unit is roughly 12’ x 25’ x 10’ tall that has been retrofitted with piping that injects air into the system.
Mr. Kissane clarified that there was a mixer on site already in a separate location. Mr. McCarthy explained that they are moving it to its own separate building.

Commissioner Kawczak requested that the applicant answer the questions from the state line by line so that the DEP knows that the commission is doing their job.

Chairman Moran requested any further questions from the board. Commissioner Canales inquired about the temporary soil stockpile and where would that be stored on site. Ms. Bell stated that it needs to be stored on previously disturbed areas and on pavement areas and indicated the area where they put the soil. Commissioner Canales inquired whether there was pavement within the 200. Ms. Bell stated that there was all gravel within the 200.

Chairman Moran clarified that there were not wetlands across the street. Mr. Kissane stated that the wetlands specialist walked the properties to verify.

Chairman Moran requested a continuation at the applicant’s request so as not to close the hearing due to the Natural Heritage not having responded yet. Chairman Moran stated that the next meeting would be set for July 16.

Mr. McCarthy requested clarification of what work they can do prior to receiving approval from the commission. Chairman Moran clarified that they cannot start any work that they are going before the commission on. Chairman Moran confirmed that the applicant was okay with the continuation to the July 16 meeting at 6:00pm. Chairman Moran requested that the applicant submit responses to the DEP questions to the secretary prior to the meeting. Chairman Moran requested a motion to continue the public hearing. Commissioner Kawczak made a motion to continue the public hearing to July 16. Commissioner Canales seconded the motion. All in favor. Motion carried.

• A Request for Determination of Applicability submitted by Lincoln Forestry Company on behalf of the City of North Adams for property located on West Mountain Road to determine whether the proposed culvert installation is subject to the Wetlands Protection Act.

Chairman Moran opened the public hearing to George Lozier from Lincoln Forestry Company. Mr. Lozier explained that he is the forestry consultant for the city. West Mountain Road is a class 4 road that used to have a culvert. Over the years the culvert got ripped out and thrown off to the side. The state forester says they must have Conservation Commission approval. He explained that the water runs over the road and they want to put in the culvert.

Commissioner Kawczak requested clarification as to why a culvert is proposed as opposed to a bridge which is what would normally happen in a situation like this. Mr. Lozier stated that a bridge would not fix the problem because there is not enough stream channel anymore; there’s no bank. Chairman Moran clarified that there is not enough of a defined channel where it crosses the road so it’s coming halfway across the road and down the middle of the road. Mr. Lozier stated that the state said that if they put in a bridge they were not dealing with the problem.

Chairman Moran clarified that it’s crossing West Mountain Road and that it is city owned. Mr. Lozier stated that it used to be blacktop. Chairman Moran requested clarification of who hired him to do this. Mr. Lozier stated that the state forester is requiring this before approving their forest cutting plan because the stream channel needs to be repaired so that it’s deep enough so that the water won’t go into the road anymore and he assumes that because the brook is running that it involves the wetlands.

Commissioner Kawczak clarified wetlands are also associated with intermittent streams and water contained within banks, even intermittently, due to the vegetation that grows along the banks, would fall under our purview. Forest cutting gets a lot of liberties when the forest plan gets approved. Mr. Lozier stated that it could be bridged but the forester wants to have the culvert fixed. Chairman Moran explained that they might be able to give permission to fix the culvert but he would need permission from the city to work on the road. Mr. Lozier explained his plan to the commission. Chairman Moran explained that replacing a culvert is not that simple any more due to changes that the state made. Mr. Lozier inquired about putting a bridge in instead of a culvert. Chairman Moran stated that he was trying to figure out a way to provide temporary permission as long as it’s removed at the end of the logging project. It could be a negative 4. Mr. Lozier stated that it would actually rebuild the stream channel by taking it out at the end.

Chairman Moran clarified that the immediate problem is to allow him to log and requested thoughts from the commission.
Commissioner Kawczak stated that logging operations are often granted great liberties during this process and he’s slightly puzzled by the process. Mr. Lozier stated that perhaps the forester was under the impression they would leave the culvert in.
Mr. Lozier stated that it would only be a temporary crossing. Commissioner Kawczak inquired on whether the culvert had been procured already. Mr. Lozier confirmed. Commissioner Canales inquired about the diameter. Mr. Lozier stated that there are 3 10” pipes on site and a 14” pipe. Commissioner Galambos inquired about the size of the old one. Mr. Lozier stated that it was 12”. Commissioner Galambos inquired about whether, as a temporary situation, would removing the temporary fix degrade the crossing further. Mr. Lozier stated that he didn’t think the idea was to worry about the crossing as much as the stream channel. It wouldn’t make it harder for the people to go up there. Chairman Moran stated that granting temporary permission would be the only option at this point due to the impacts to the streams, etc.

Commissioner Canales inquired about whether putting a culvert in could divert water in the wrong direction and impact people downstream negatively affecting people. Mr. Lozier stated that the water goes down into a gorge, that won’t change and it won’t impact anyone.

Commissioner Galambos inquired about when the proposed work would start. Mr. Lozier stated they would start tomorrow if they could; they already started on the other side. They have permission from abutter David Krutiak already.

Commissioner Galambos inquired about whether the timber would be skid down or trucked down. Mr. Lozier stated that it would be skid down. Commissioner Kawczak inquired about whether it would be done during the summer months or winter months. Mr. Lozier stated that it would be during the summer when it’s dry.

Commissioner Kawczak inquired about where the lay down area for logs would be. Mr. Lozier stated that the lay down area would be before the old dog pound on the left.

Chairman Moran referenced contact from DCR for temporary permission to issue a negative 4 determination.

Commissioner Canales inquired about wetlands above the property as referenced on the DCR communication. Chairman Moran indicated that GIS maps are outdated.

Commissioner Kawczak stated that he does not feel too uncomfortable with the temporary culverts if they are the appropriate size as the wetlands do recover. Mr. Lozier clarified that there is just one crossing.

Chairman Moran requested a motion from the commission. Commissioner Kawczak made a motion for a negative determination number 4 for a temporary culvert to be utilized and removed at the end of the logging operation to allow the project to move forward. Commissioner Galambos seconded the motion. All in favor. Motion carried.

Chairman Moran advised Mr. Lozier to notify the commission when the work is completed.

Approval of minutes Chairman Moran requested a motion to approve the minutes of May 28, 2019. Commissioner
Canales made a motion to accept the minutes. Commissioner Kawczak seconded the motion. All in favor. Motion carried.

Adjournment Commissioner Kawczak made a motion to adjourn. Chairman Moran seconded the motion. Meeting
adjourned at 6:42pm.


Respectfully submitted,

Michelle Ells
Conservation Commission Secretary


Back