Hampden Planning Board hears about wastewater problems in storage facilities

HAMPDEN – Opposition to a proposed self-storage facility at 2 Somers Rd. In Hampden changed tack at the Planning Council meeting on November 10. While citizen organization Save Hampden had previously highlighted the damage to land values ​​and the “rural character” of the city as the main grounds for opposition, at the last meeting the potential for chemicals entering the aquifer from the city took center stage.

Before Save Hampden spoke about the matter, attorney Daniel Garvey was joined by Robert DiBenedetto from engineering firm Frydryk & Douglas. Earlier, the council had heard about the project from another engineer of the firm, Joseph Peznola.

Garvey told council plans for the facility had been changed to incorporate previous council requests, such as 50-foot setbacks that would remain intact. To accommodate this, two 30-foot storage unit buildings were shortened to 20 feet and two more were completely removed from the plans. The total area of ​​units increased from 54,000 to 43,000 with the changes.

The new design included a distance of 100 feet from all neighboring wells. Matthews has confirmed that all retention ponds on the plan are outside of the water retention district.

Other board requests that had been included in the new plans included a sidewalk along the frontage of the East Longmeadow Road property and an 8 foot solid aluminum fence around the site, instead of the fence at 6 foot diamond mesh that had been proposed.

Garvey noted that the changes that have been made are the result of feedback from council and residents.

Mary Grassetti, one of Save Hampden’s executives, spoke on behalf of the group as her attorney, Seth Wilson, was unavailable. She said the group would focus on the water supply that evening and had “experts” to speak to the board about the risks associated with a hazardous material leak or spill, despite a contract planned with customers prohibiting hazardous materials on site.

The first person was Patrick Coyne, a resident who said he had experience in investing. He spoke of the “financial risk” associated with the possibility of a hazardous material spill at the site.

Addressing the client contract the company would employ, Coyne read in an industry advocacy source that clients may not always follow the rules of the contract.

Coyne said each of the two public water wells is within 850 feet of the proposed facility. He said the storage of hazardous materials is considered a medium to high risk to the water supply by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP). He read what is considered dangerous by various state and federal agencies.

Coyne told the board of directors that one gallon of oil can contaminate up to 1,000 gallons of groundwater. He said cleaning up contaminated water can cost “thousands to millions of dollars” and cited a document from the Federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). He cited the contamination of four domestic wells on Main Street and the $ 500,000 American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) being used to fix the problem.

When Coyne told the public that insurance policies would not cover any contamination that spreads off the property, planning board member Jason Barroso intervened, saying it went against his experience as a Senior Industrial Accounts Manager at Waste Management. He said he had worked in a lot of field cleanups that had been covered by insurance.

Barroso asked Garvey if he would provide written documentation of what is covered by the company’s insurance policy, which the lawyer agreed to. Turning to Coyne, Barroso said: “You are not telling these people the truth.” President John Matthews interrupted the interaction.

Later, a resident working in insurance told Barroso that general insurance coverage was changed in 1986 to exclude environmental pollution. According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, environmental insurance, which provides coverage for spills and subsequent cleanups, is often a separate policy.

Resident Mark Feeney, who did not share his area of ​​expertise, read bylaws and MGL Chapter 40A, which regulates planning councils. He said the purpose of zoning bylaws is “the protection of residents.” He read the prohibited uses, including the storage of hazardous materials, for a water supply protection district, in which the property is partially located.

He said undercover bases must be more than 100 feet from neighboring properties so residents can move their wells, if necessary. He called it “common sense”.

Barroso pointed out that the infiltration basins are not in the stacking neighborhood, but Feeney responded that neighboring houses are and that the bylaw would apply to them if the facility were to be located next door. Barroso told him he would get clarification from the Board of Health.

Feeney went on to say that a self-storage facility is not “commercial” in nature, one of the permitted uses, but rather a “commercial” use. Matthews read him the definition of commercial – “for monetary gain” – and said he was taking articles of the regulation out of context. He then explained that Feeney confused “uses” and “zones” as terminology.

Feeney questioned Garvey’s plans to use impervious asphalt and the proposed adjoining facility for 16 Somers Rd. Planned to use permeable asphalt. Each developer has previously said their choice is the best.

He said the permeable asphalt would not treat the sewage. Matthews asked him if he was happy with Garvey’s infiltration system. Fenney said yes, but then backtracked, saying he might find fault.

The two traded for several minutes over whether the nearest neighbors’ infiltration basin was too close to the water table before realizing that Feeney was referring to the specifications of another basin on the plans.

Like Feeney, resident Joe Sibilia did not explain his area of ​​expertise, but spoke about the process of obtaining a stormwater permit from the building department. Sibilia said neither Garvey nor the petitioner for the adjoining self-service storage facility had obtained a wastewater treatment permit before the special permit began, which could make the apps flawed.

The issue Sibilia referred to came from a decision taken on November 9 at the board meeting in which Building Commissioner Wendell Hubert was chosen as the board’s designated officer for the issuance of building permits. ‘waste. The bylaw states that a wastewater treatment permit or license waiver must be obtained “prior to the issuance of any site plan or development permit approval.”

Matthews told Sibilia that city lawyer Rose Crowley had been in contact with city administrator Bob Markel about this. Matthews quoted her in an email to Markel saying, “the stormwater permit process and the special permit are separate” and, therefore, that is no reason to deny the special permit. In fact, the email states that a delay in the timeline for a special permit by the Planning Council to obtain a stormwater treatment permit “may lead to constructive approval.”

Although the two projects, the special permits of which were initiated under a different chairman of the planning board, have not been submitted to the building department, Matthews said all projects in the future will adhere to this process before to be submitted to the town planning council.

Grassetti ended Save Hampden’s presentation by saying, “We’re not people here just to shut something up. We are here because we have real and valid concerns.

After a vote by the town planning council on whether to close the hearing, they decided to continue it so that more information could be gathered, especially if the town’s engineering consultant, Tighe & Bond, approves the sanitation system changes and Garvey’s insurance company document. . The continuation date is December 1.

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