Conservation Commission Approves NOI for Salem Street Apartment Building

In addition to the discussion of the proposed new Revere High at the old Wonderland Dog Track (see accompanying story), the Conservation Commission (Chairman John Shue and fellow members Joseph LaValle, Brian Averbach, and Nicholas Rudolph) voted upon a number of other matters.

Chief among them was the commission’s approval of a Notice of Intent (NOI) for the construction of a  25-unit apartment building at 344 Salem St., at the corner of Clifton St., within a buffer zone of the adjacent vegetation wetland.

Atty. Nancy O’Neill represented the petitioner, Zepaj Development LLC.

O’Neill told the commission that Zepaj will be razing the longstanding auto garage structure on the 18,000 sq. ft., half-moon shape lot in order to construct an apartment building of 22,000 sq. ft. with 24 one-bedroom apartments and one studio unit. There will be parking for 50 vehicles, mostly under the building.

She said that the Zoning Board of Appeals granted zoning relief for variances based on the irregular shape of the lot.

“This project will entail environmental benefits over the prior use. It will remediate the prior use on the site of the garage and will be less intrusive to the neighboring wetlands,” said O’Neill.

Rick Salvo of Engineering Alliance made a presentation to the commission about potential environmental impacts. He explained that the adjacent wetlands area is not a river, but rather is an “intermittent stream.”  All of the paved areas will pitch away from the wetlands resource area and into a deep sump catch basin that will go into a water quality unit with a subsurface infiltration facility that will be able to handle a 100-year storm.

Salvo said the project will comply with all of the 10 standards set forth by the DEP for projects of this nature.

“This is a buffer zone project without any direct impact on any wetland resource areas. but we’ve managed the stormwater to make a significant improvement,” compared to what presently exists, he told the commission.

There were no opponents to the project and the commission voted 4-0 to approve the NOI, though adding special conditions pertaining to a possible septic tank and removal of existing construction debris on the site.

In another matter, the commission took up a request for a Notice of Intent (NOI) on Avon St. in which the city wants to install 220 feet of drainpipe from Avon St. to the storm drain system on Bay Rd. The project will consist of underground PVC pipe that will improve drainage for the area.

Representing the city was Danielle Osterman, the Community Development Program Manager. She said there is a dry-well in front of one of the homes and that the dry-well will be connected to the storm water drain, which will improve drainage in the whole area.

Shue noted that the project is a standard procedure for this type of project.

However, because the state DEP had yet to issue a file number for the application, the Conservation Commission could not take any action on the application per the statute. The DEP presumably will issue a file number in time for the commission’s next meeting, when it then can approve the NOI.

The commission took up a Request for a Certificate of Compliance for 320 Charger St., which presently is a large, paved area storing rental cars. Salvo appeared on behalf of the applicant.

He explained that the project entailed the removal of a crushing yard, the construction of a retaining wall, and installation of a robust stormwater management system with 1000 feet of linear perforated pipe for stormwater that initially is treated by draining into various other systems, before eventually draining into a water infiltration system.

Shue noted that everything is in compliance and recommended that the commission issue the Certificate of Compliance.

“This is a drastic improvement over what it was,” noted Rudolph. “The debris that used to get into the adjacent areas has been removed.”

The commission took up a request for an NOI for the construction of a single-family dwelling on Agneous Ave. on which a portion of the work is being done on land subject to coastal storm flowage

Salvo once again presented the application to the commission on behalf of Cavallo Construction Co.

“This is a 60′ x 60′ vacant lot, which is a ‘qualified lot’ under the zoning ordinance, which makes it a ‘buildable lot’,” said Salvo.

Salvo explained that the proposal calls for construction of a 25′ x 35′ single-family dwelling on pilings, similar to one at the end of the street. The lot coverage is 28 percent. Water from the roof will be infiltrated into a dry well and the building will have no impact on the resource area, other than by the pilings themselves. He said there will be a small retaining wall to create a flat grade under the dwelling for parking.

The galvanized steel pilings, which are only eight feet in length and will connect to each other, will be helical in shape and will literally screw into the ground. Salvo said the pilings will go to a depth of about 33 feet in order to rest on sufficient material needed to support the structure. Altogether, it is expected there will be eight pilings.

“The big advantage is there is no pounding and no impact on adjacent homes,” said Ronald Cavallo, who was on hand to answer questions from the commissioners. “The old-fashioned pounding of wooden pilings is becoming obsolete,” Cavallo added, noting that he built a similar house one street over and that he intends to sell this house upon completion.

Christine McLaughlin, a resident of Newton who owns a neighboring property at 166 Broadsound Ave., had a number of questions about the impact of the grading of the site on her property in terms of flow of stormwater.

Salvo explained that there will be no water flow impact either during the construction or from the completed project.

Michael Morgan of 5 Agneous St. asked about the size of the dwelling and was informed that the 25′ x 35′ size is the footprint of the proposed structure.

Averback, who is a neighbor in the area, said, “I’ve seen the work of this builder and this will be a benefit for us.”

The commission unanimously approved the NOI, though adding special conditions of requiring the maintenance of the dry-well and a permeable surface for the parking area under the house.

The commission will be making a site review visit this Saturday to 801 Washington Ave. in No. Revere, where a developer is proposing to construct an apartment building. Another item on last week’s agenda, a Notice of Intent for new home construction at 6 and 14 Beverly St., was continued until the commission’s next meeting at the request of the applicant.

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