By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — A stormwater management plan for a proposed development at the head of the Lake aims to improve the quality of stormwater entering Lake Quannapowitt and reduce onsite flooding, an engineer for developer Cabot Cabot & Forbes told the Zoning Board of Appeals this week.
The real estate giant is proposing to build a 485-unit apartment complex in three buildings on the former American Mutual/Comverse site. The 1950s-era building presently on the property has been vacant since the last tenant, Digital Realty Trust, moved out several years ago. The building would be razed to make room for the CC&F project.
Nicholas Dellacava, an engineer with Allen & Major Associates, noted that the town’s Clean Lake Committee has targeted an 80 percent decrease in the nitrogen and phosphorous load entering the Lake from surrounding properties. Nitrogen and phosphorous from lawn fertilizers and other sources are known to fuel the cyanobacteria (aka blue-green algae) blooms that have plagued the Lake for years.
Dellacava said that the existing phosphorous/nitrogen load entering the Lake from the proposed site at 200 Quannapowitt Parkway is estimated at 176 pounds per year. The proposed stormwater management plan would reduce the load to about 34 pounds per year, which would be an 80 percent reduction.
Dellacava detailed the methodologies that would be implemented to achieve those results, including rain gardens/bioretention areas, underground chambers, infiltration basis, vegetated filter strips and wet basins.
He used a PowerPoint presentation to show the locations of the various elements of the stormwater management plan.
Members of the ZBA noted that wet basins located on the site would mean standing water and asked if they would be a breeding ground for mosquitos.
Dellacava pointed to a mosquito control program in the Operations and Maintenance Plan for the site. In response to a question about maintaining the stormwater control mechanisms on site, he said that spring and fall cleanup of these areas as well as regular maintenance by landscapers would keep the areas free of debris.
There was also some discussion of utilities on the site. Dellacava pointed to the locations of several large electrical transformers along the main roadway through the middle of the proposed development.
In response to a question from ZBA member Chip Tarbell, Dellacava said that the placement of the transformers was dictated by Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department. Tarbell insisted that the transformers should not be placed in such prominent locations, but should be hidden in the rear of the buildings. It was agreed that the development team would revisit the transformer locations with the WMGLD.
Board members also asked about coordinating the simultaneous permitting processes underway before the ZBA and the Conservation Commission. The ConCom discussed the project at its meeting last night.
Brian McGrail, the local attorney for Cabot Cabot & Forbes, said that he would keep both boards informed regarding the concurrent processes to ensure that things remain in synch.
There was no public testimony offered at Wednesday’s meeting.
McGrail anticipated that the development team should be ready to discuss traffic on Oct. 13. The hearing was continued to that date.