Conservation Commission Wants to Save Trees at Amazon complex

Following a site plan visit by the Conservation Commission at the end of August,  it is back to the arboreal drawing boards for the owners of the Amazon building on American Legion Highway, as the Conservation Commission seeks to save trees that surround  the site. 

At the commission’s September 2 meeting, the project manager of the property told the commissioners that the owners want to add additional parking spaces to the lot. The problem lies in the drainage retention system for these additional spaces, as well as for the existing spaces. 

Project manager Suzanne King of BL Companies told the commissioners that the excavation for the new retention tank can only be four feet deep, which means that the entire lot has to be elevated and regraded.  This new elevation will result in many of the mature evergreen trees being taken down and then replaced with smaller saplings. 

However, when the commissioners heard that the newer trees will be put back in almost the same location as the trees that are being replaced, they questioned whether the existing trees can be excavated and replanted and if not, then perhaps the developer can purchase more expensive, mature trees rather than smaller, sapling trees. 

“The smaller trees will change the whole concept of the site visually,” said Commissioner Joseph Lavalle. “We visited the site on Saturday and the trees were to be saved, but now tonight they are to be taken down. No one is happy with this.”

King noted that these trees typically do not respond very well after being excavated and that there needs to be a certain number of new parking spaces that requires the trees to be removed.

Another site visit was ordered and the findings will be discussed at the commission’s October meeting.

In another matter, the commission was informed that invasive phragmites are taking over the marsh area off Bay Road, killing many of the native plants.

Commissioners heard from Don Ciaramella, the Revere DPW Superintendent,  who told about his department’s efforts to control the spread of the phragmites. Ciaramella said that thus far, the control efforts have cost Revere taxpayers more than $30,000 per year “with nothing to show for it.” 

He noted how he introduced goats in the area in May to eat the phragmites.

Ciaramella noted that much of the land at the end of Bay Road is unbuildable and city officials hope to add this land to the salt marsh. He said that the overall plan is to restore the land to a salt marsh by removing all urban fill, as well as getting rid of the phragmites. Returning the land to a functioning salt marsh will benefit the environment and many of the houses in the area.

The commissioners then heard from Kurt Ehrhart of Innovative Mosquito Control, who said that he has been working with state officials since 2003 in successfully eliminating the phragmites in the Merrimack Valley area. To date more than 2,000 acres have been treated.

Ehrhart noted that he could start spraying the local marsh by mid-October, which is a good time to attack this invasive plant species. He estimated that there are six acres to be treated.

Commissioners wanted to find out more about the ingredients in the product before voting.

The commissioners also discussed a request from the Point of Pines Yacht Club to stack and repair the club’s docks around the club. ConsComm Chairman Nick Moulaison noted that this process will not destroy or harm the dune grass. With a site visit planned shortly, the matter will be discussed further at the October meeting.

In other business, commissioners accepted the gift of several parcels of land from the Festa family on Naples Road and Naples Place. The Festa family has been donating buildable lots for conservation purposes to the city for a number of years.

The owners of 69 Sagamore St. came before the commission seeking a Certificate of Compliance for an Order of Condition dating back to 1987 that was never closed out. The commissioners approved the request.

The commission also approved an extension for an ORAD MA File for another three years for 469-473 Revere Beach Blvd.

The Conservation Commission’s next meeting will be October 7. 

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