Published in the October 6, 2017 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The Conservation Commission wants to make a site visit to 69 Foundry St. where the Melanson Development Group is proposing to build a new five-story, 83-unit condominium complex on the former site of the Wakefield Corporation.

ConCom Chairman Frank J. Luciani Jr. also wants to meet with Town Engineer Michael Collins to get his take on how drainage will work on the site.

Drainage was the main topic of last night’s opening ConCom hearing on the project. Mark Slager of Allen Engineering presented the plans and
discussed measures that the developer proposes
to handle runoff from the site.

He pointed to a man-made drainage ditch off the southwest corner that takes runoff from the site to a culvert that flows under the Galvin Middle School and on into the Mill River along Water Street. He said that the drainage ditch does come under the ConCom’s jurisdiction because it flows out of an up-
gradient wetland.

Slager noted that the site is zoned industrial. He said that between the existing building and pavement, the site is currently almost 97 percent impervious surface. The proposed development would significantly reduce the amount of impervious surface and improve drainage, Slager maintained. The total impervious surface including the proposed building and paved areas would total just 70 percent, he said.

The plan calls for outside paved areas to have drainage directed to grassy swale areas and then collect in a settling basin before flowing to the drainage ditch, Slager said.

He described the proposed building as a “U” shaped structure that would have a ground floor parking garage with 88 spaces and more parking around the perimeter of the building for a total of 125 spaces. Above the garage and inside the “U” an open courtyard with plantings and landscaping is proposed.

Slager talked about snow storage on the site and said that the plan was to pile it on grassy areas along the outside parking area and on a larger swale behind the building. All runoff will be prevented from flowing out onto Foundry Street he said, and will be directed into the on-site drainage system.

Commissioner Lea Tyhach suggested signs or other measures to stop snow from being stored on the portion of the site that is within the buffer zone to the bordering vegetated wetland. Slager was receptive to the idea. He indicated that if onsite snow storage ever proves inadequate, excess snow will be trucked off the site.

Still, Commissioner David Peterson remained skeptical that snow management would happen as proposed.

Luciani said that he didn’t think that the settling basin was big enough to provide much water treatment and would like to see more treatment of the water coming off the paved areas. He also wanted to know how much water could be expected to come off the roof.

Slager said that he did not have that level of detail, but noted that there would be multiple collection points on the roof that would drain into two pipes that would carry the water directly to the swale.

Peterson wanted to know how much water the swale would hold. Slager said that it would be able to handle a 100-year storm.

He said that he had discussed the drainage plan with Town Engineer Michael Collins and Collins was comfortable with the plan. Conservation Agent Elaine Vreeland said that she had also spoken to Collins and confirmed that the Town Engineer was fine with the proposed drainage.

Slager addressed questions about the possible contamination of the longtime industrial site. He said that there was a separate remediation plan for any ground contamination and indicated that a licensed site professional (LSP) was being retained to handle that work.

Commissioner Frank Calandra said that he would like the ConCom to receive copies of any reports filed by the LSP with the Department of Environmental Protection.

Luciani and other members of the ConCom wondered about an easement for the swale and settling basin that leads into the drainage ditch as they are outside of the site and might not always be available on property the developer doesn’t own.

Calandra suggested that some riprap might be needed to slow the velocity of runoff in certain areas and prevent erosion.

Peterson admitted that the plan would be an improvement over the current conditions on the site but said that he would like to see the opportunity used to make even greater improvements.

The hearing was continued to Oct. 19.

Also on last night’s Conservation Commission agenda was a hearing on the four-story self-storage facility proposed at 205-209 Water St. But just prior to the meeting, the petitioner requested a continuance to Oct. 19.