Renovation of Bates Woods Park. Site: Chester Street

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Renovation of Bates Woods Park. Site: Chester Street
Regular Meeting
Thursday, April 8, 2010 7:00 pm
Stanton Building, Conference Room
111 Union Street, New London, Connecticut
Chairwoman Rasmussen called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
The Following Members Were Present:
Elizabeth Rasmussen, Chairwoman
Robert Stuller, Secretary
Milton Cook
Patricia Zalesny
Naomi McClure
Armand Beaudette (A)
The Following City Staff Members Were In Attendance:
Michelle Johnson – Wetlands Enforcement Officer
Shelly Briscoe-Recording Secretary
Dave Denoia, Dept. of Public Works, Tree Warden and Arborist
Application for a Wetlands Permit. Proposal: Renovation of Bates Woods Park. Site: Chester
Street- Map A-1/Block 118/Lot 90. Applicant/ Property Owner: City of New London. Agent:
Milone and MacBroom.
Bill Camosci, Public Works Consultant for the City of New London addressed the Commission giving a
brief history of the process the project had been through prior to coming before the Inland Wetlands/
Conservation Commission.
Mr. Camosci stated that the proposed plan is a culmination of
recommendations & suggestions from staff, community members and the Parks & Recreation
Commission. He noted that the plan includes increased parking area, a new playscape, walking trails, and
bleachers. He said that eventually all three ball fields will be redone. Mr. Camosci stated that Bates
Woods Park host State Tournaments and provides the first impression of New London for many of the
visitors. Mr. Camosci explained the funding for the project, said that there is a tight timeline for the
project and hoped that the Commission would approve the application so that the project could move
Ms. Johnson explained that procedurally, the Inland Wetlands Commission must first determine if the
proposed activity has the potential to significantly impact the wetlands. She explained that there is a fourpart “test” that the Inland Wetlands regulations call for and if the proposed activity meets the criteria any
of those items in the test the Commission, by State Statute must hold a Public Hearing. If a Public
Hearing is to be held, it could be held at the next regular meeting of the Commission, which is May 13,
Nicolle Burnham P.E. and William A. Root, M.E.S. of Milone & MacBroom addressed the Commission
on behalf of the applicant (City of New London).
Using an aerial photograph, Ms. Burnham pointed out different areas in the park and gave an overview of
the existing conditions on the site. Ms. Burnham said that the site is “tired”; there has been a fair amount
of erosion and loss of material in the grassy area near the parking lot as well as the access area near the
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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dog pound because there is really no storm water management. She said that the proposed plan would
address this condition.
Mr. Root addressed the Commission to give an assessment of the existing conditions of the wetlands on
site. Mr. Root said that he flagged the wetlands on the property, which are to the west of the site
development. He explained that the wetlands consist of a very small watercourse that flows under
Chester Street, gathers overland drainage and flows to the south into Waterford. Mr. Root went on to say
that the edge of wetlands in
this area is mostly forested and is disturbed; the upper part of the
wetland area in the park has experienced some discharge, fill and some brush piles and there are invasive
species. Inside the wetland, past the Waterford town line is a more natural area. He stressed that it is
important to protect the water quality that flows down into the wetlands and that part of the application is
to take corrective measures to protect the water quality in the watercourse.
Ms. Burnham stated that there is no direct wetland impact associated with this application. She said that
all the activity will take place is within the upland review area.
Ms. Burnham gave an overview of the drainage plan, explaining to the Commission how each element
would work and how they function together. She said that the proposal is the standard design for water
quality basins and that the DEP Storm Water Quality Manual that was published in 2004 was used as the
design criteria. Ms. Burnham said that this project meets the requirements of the manual. There was a
lengthy discussion about the drainage from the parking lot, proposed catch basins and the construction
and design of the wet bottom basin.
Ms. Burnham explained that the Ledge Light Health District was present when the soil testing near the
septic system was done and that an additional leaching field would be added.
Ms. Burnham provided the Commission revised plans, which included the following: title page, LA-3,
GR-3, SE-1, and SD-1.
Ms. Johnson said that she had received an email from Maureen Fitzgerald from the Town of Waterford.
Ms. Fitzgerald said that the application had arrived at the Waterford Town Clerk’s office on March 23rd
but that she had not seen the application until April 7th. Ms. Fitzgerald requested an opportunity for the
Waterford Inland Wetlands Commission to have an opportunity to review and comment on the plans.
The Waterford Commission will meet on April 15, 2010. Additionally, Ms. Fitzgerald indicated that a
site walk would be a good idea.
The application was peer reviewed by CLA Engineers, Inc on behalf of the Commission. Ms. Burnham
addressed the response from Robert C. Russo, Soil Scientist, CLA Engineers, dated March 31, 2010.
Ms. Burnham stated that the response to question #1 wasn’t necessary because CLA was requesting
additional information but then provide a series of comments that gets to the additional information that
was requested.
To question #2, Ms. Burnham said that it is the opinion of Milone & MacBroom that there is no impact to
the wetland and that the project provides storm water management where there is currently none,
improves the water quality, and there is no direct disturbance of the wetlands, and the disturbance of the
upland review area is less than 4/10th’s of an acre.
To question #3, Ms. Burnham said that an alternative was not provided because there is no direct wetland
impact. She said that she has always understood feasible and prudent alternatives were for direct impact
to the wetlands. Ms. Burnham explained that there were three different locations considered for the
water quality basins. She noted that the key to the water quality basin is that it needs to be down gradient.
She said that the area near Davis Farm Way had been considered, but it wasn’t really low enough and
additionally, it was one of the few grassy areas near the picnic pavilions, which made this an awkward
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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location for the basin. Ms. Burnham said that the original master plan, in the concept phase, called for the
basin to be where the old Boy Scout building was located, but there wasn’t enough room.
When asked about the septic system, Ms. Burnham explained that it would be dug up, inspected and
pumped. If the system requires replacement, it would still remain in the current location.
To question #4, Ms. Burnham noted that the tributary of Fenger Brook is what was meant. She then
noted that the alternatives basin locations have already been discussed and as Waterford will express any
concerns that they have about potential impacts to your watersheds.
Ms. Burnham noted that CLA Engineers, Inc. had included a list of comments in addition to the answers
to the four questions asked of them; Ms. Burnham addressed those comments individually.
To comment #5, Ms. Burnham noted that the revised title sheet has been provided.
Chairwoman Rasmussen called for a recess at 8:14 p.m. and then resumed the meeting at 8:16 p.m.
To comment #6, Ms. Burnham noted that this had already been addressed.
To comment #7, Ms. Burnham noted that the revised plan GR-3 addresses this. She further stated that
ultimately the whole leaching system area will be removed and that the standard practice for abandoning a
leaching field under Public Health Code is to simply abandon it in place.
To comment #8, Ms. Burnham noted that this septic system is going to be removed therefore this
comment had already been addressed.
To comments #9, 10, 11 Ms. Burnham noted deal with the existing activities at the site and referred to
staff to address them. Mr. Denoia said that there are two different type of materials stockpiled. The Parks
Department has playground material on the asphalt stored in bins. Mr. Denoia said that there is also a pile
of dirt on the edge of the asphalt area that has been there for years, has invasive vegetation growing in it
and gives the appearance as being part of the landscape. Ms. Burnham noted that even if the material is
removed, it isn’t going to be earthwork.
To comment # 12, Ms. Burnham noted that Milone & MacBroom met with Waterford staff around March
10, 2010 and were aware of 95% of what is being proposed.
To comment #13, Ms. Burnham noted that the data is site specific, appropriate and included in the revised
SE-1 plan sheet.
To comment #14, Ms. Burnham noted that generally speaking the bulk of the activity is the parking lot
and the storm water basin. Down by the basin is silt fence and hay bale, which is standard practice.
Notes on the plan talk to the proper maintenance. The removal of the slab of the Boy Scout building is
isolated but silt fence will be used around that. Silt fence will be down gradient of the parking area. The
construction of the parking area will take some excavation near the concession stand and some fill on the
lower end. There will be a series of staked hay bales around the down slope portion of it and there are
temporary swales proposed that would intercept runoff from the parking lot before it is discharged into a
temporary sediment basin. Ms. Burnham said that it is standard practice to use temporary swales and the
concern with the woodchip and/or stone berms is that if a high velocity event occurs, these would wash
out much faster than a staked hay bale.
To comment #15, Ms. Burnham noted that two test pits were done in the basin area, which appears on
sheet GR-3. Excavation of material will be done during construction to the 100’; test holes and the
planting material will be adjusted.
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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To comment #16, Ms. Burnham noted that there are planting clusters of shade trees around the basin
To comment #17, Ms. Burnham noted that it doesn’t really matter how water moves through the basin
because water won’t be discharged out of it except during higher flow events.
To comment #18, Ms. Burnham noted that sheet LA-3 has been revised.
To comment #19, Mr. Root noted that the groundwater would be monitored from the time of construction
through the finalization of the basin and then for a year or so onward to see how the basin performs. Mr.
Root noted that the 90-day period is just the initial period of monitoring.
To comment #20, Ms. Burnham noted that the information is included in SD-1 and that when the project
is bid it will have a list of technical specifications for the contractor to follow.
To comment #21, Ms. Burnham noted that in revised Title Sheet, note 15 this comment is addressed.
To comment #22, Ms. Burnham said there is a wood chip berm.
To comment #23, Ms. Burnham noted that the catch basin inserts has been removed and that staked hay
bales would be used; unnecessary details removed from the plan.
To comment #24, Ms. Burnham noted that this has already been discussed.
To comment #25, Ms. Burnham noted that this is now shown on SE-1 to the East of the Basin.
To comment #26, Ms. Burnham noted that modifications were made.
To comment #27, Ms. Burnham noted that normally it would, a conscious decision was made not to do
that for two reasons. At the concession building there isn’t really area to achieve this. There is the
potential of the roof drains to erode the grassy area, which is intended to be a play area. Additionally, for
the long-term park maintenance for the volume of water, it was easier to have the drains connected to the
drainage system.
To comment #28, Ms. Burnham noted that this is addressed on the revised Title sheet, construction note
To comment #29, Ms. Burnham noted that this has been discussed at length.
To comment #30, Ms. Burnham said that yes, indeed it is the four bay and wet bottom basin are the
primary treatment mechanism as defined by the Storm water quality manual. The removal efficiency of
the wet bottom basin is projected at 90%.
Commission members discussed the importance of waiting for the comments from the Waterford
Inland Wetland Commission as well as conducting a site walk of the area, especially for new
Commission members. Chairman Rasmussen noted that this site is right on the New London/
Waterford line; historically our two towns have cooperated on projects; and the town of
Waterford has requested time for their Commission to review the application. Additionally, she
noted that CLA has not had an opportunity to see the responses to their comments or the revised
plans. The Chairwoman said she understands that the City would like to move this project along,
but she said that the Commission couldn’t make a determination on the application in accordance
with the City Inland Wetland Regulations at this time.
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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Chairwoman Rasmussen explained the timeline for review by Waterford. Ms. Johnson provided
an overview for the timeline for holding a public hearing from the date of receipt.
A motion was made by Mr. Stuller, seconded by Mr. Cook and voted unanimously to schedule
a site walk as soon as possible at a date determined by staff, and continue the application to a
date on or before the next regularly scheduled meeting to make a determination of significant
• Draft Revisions to the Inland Wetland & Watercourses of the City of New London –
Date to be set for public hearing.
Ms. Johnson explained to the Commission that changes in the Inland Wetlands and watercourses Model
Municipal Regulations require revisions be made to the City’s Inland Wetland Regulations. Ms. Johnson
has sent the draft revisions to the State and suggested that the Commission hold a Public Hearing at the
next regular meeting of the Commission, which would be May 13, 2010.
A motion was made by Ms. Zaleszny, seconded by Mr. Cook and voted unanimously to hold a Public
Hearing on the Draft Revisions to the Inland Wetland Regulations at the regular meeting of the Inland
Wetland/ Conservation Commission on May 13, 2010.
STAFF REPORT – By David Denoia (City Arborist & Tree Warden-DPW)
Mr. Denoia provided a verbal his plan for West Pleasant Street and expressed hope that the
Commission to approve the plan so that the work could move forward.
West Pleasant Street:
Mr. Denoia said that after looking at the maturity and health of the plant materials, sidewalk
issues and the fact that the houses are so close to the scaffold branches and the utility wires on
West Pleasant Street he proposes the following:
Keep South side trees, large oaks; removing two or three trees due to their condition and
are hazardous;
Remaining plants would be pruned for health;
Eliminate the sidewalk area on the South side.
Move the road out a couple of feet which would extend the planting area;
On the North side, remove all the plant material, elimination of 11 trees, which include a
couple of Bradford pears.
Michael Passero, City Councilor, of 46 Admiral Drive said that after talking with residents from
West Pleasant Street he is under the impression that the residents do not want all the trees taken
down and that a plan such as what is suggested by Mr. Denoia makes sense.
Adam Sprecace, City Councilor, of 125 Gardner Avenue said that he likes this plan because it
combines several of the elements proposed by both Public Works and City Council last fall.
Councilor Sprecace noted that this could be a model for the rest of the City; saving as many trees
as possible.
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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Discussion followed about reduction of roadway widths and possible “bump ins” being created
to allow for tree growth and still allow for street parking.
A motion was made by Ms. Zaleszny, seconded by Mr. Stuller and voted unanimously that the
Shade Tree Commission adopt the proposal as verbally presented by David Denoia, the City’s
Arborist & Tree Warden regarding the proposed tree removal and possible reconfiguration
(narrowing of the roadway width) of West Pleasant Street.
A lengthy discussion followed about the need for cooperation and better communication between
the Council, the Commission and staff. Commission members expressed their frustration about
the tree moratorium approved by City Council.
Ms. Johnson noted that communications from the Shade Tree Commission are forwarded to the
City Manager with an attached spreadsheet of approved tree removals.
Mr. Denoia noted that as the Tree Warden he has the authority to have trees removed that are
hazardous. Mr. Denoia suggested that an accurate inventory of all the trees in the City, along
with their condition survey incorporated into the replanting plan.
Chairwoman Rasmussen suggested that the City create a Street Tree Commission consisting of
City Council members, the Tree Warden and citizens as part of the Conservation Commission,
and separate from the Inland Wetlands Commission. Commission members agreed.
Councilor Passero asked Deputy Mayor Sprecace to add to the Administration Committee
agenda, the separation of the Inland Wetlands Watercourse Commission from the Conservation
Commission and to place the Shade Tree Commission to Conservation Commission.
Chairwoman Rasmussen asked Mr. Denoia to provide Council with the updated version of the
excel spreadsheet of trees that have been approved for removal by the Shade Tree Commission.
Mr. Denoia noted that he would get that from Mr. Camosci.
A motion was made by Mr. Cook, seconded by Mr. Stuller and voted unanimously for the
Shade Tree Commission to request the moratorium on tree removal be lifted and that any tree
recommended for removal that does not fall under the two criteria for removal in the
Arboricultural Standards & Specifications, as revised by Council) must be brought before the
Shade Tree Commission.
There were no comments from the general public.
Approval of the Minutes of the March 11, 2010 Regular Meeting
A motion was made by Mr. Cook, seconded by Mr. Stuller and voted unanimously to approve the
minutes of the March 11, 2010 Regular Meeting. Ms. Zalesny abstained from the vote.
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Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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There was no other business.
The handouts were accepted for the record.
A motion was made by Mr. Cook, seconded by Mr. Stuller and voted unanimously to adjourn the
meeting at 10:21 p.m.
Respectfully Submitted,
Shelly Briscoe
Shelly Briscoe
Land Use Assistant
Conservation Commission
Regular Meeting April 8, 2010
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May 13, 2010
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