Conservation Commission shows support for Depot St. condos

SOUTHWICK — The Conservation Commission indicated last week that it will soon vote to approve the project proposal for a 100-unit residential development at 42 Depot St., after alterations were made to the plan at the commission’s request.

Ryan Nelson of R. Levesque Associates told the commission during its Nov. 15 meeting that the newest draft of the plan has one section of the condo-style units moved farther from the 50-foot wetlands buffer zone. The site surveying company altered the plan after commission members expressed concern that the buildings too close to the buffer would give residents too little space for a backyard, and prompt them to do unauthorized work within the buffer zone to accommodate.

Units 5-12 were shifted to be as near the roadway as they could be without needing to redesign the rest of the project. Nelson said that the developer for the project was agreeable to adding a fence along the buffer line, as well.

Conservation Commission Chair Dave MacWilliams said that he thinks the commission should approve the project on the conditions that a composite material fence is added to the plan, a conservation restriction is added to the neighboring wetlands for additional protection, and the full project plan is updated.

Kevin Solek, the newest commission member, said that his only remaining concern about the project is the possibility of erosion into the wetlands during the course of construction. He suggested requesting a larger bond from the builders to account for the potential risk.

“A lot of earth needs to be moved,” said Solek.

The public hearing for the project was continued by the Conservation Commission until its Dec. 6 meeting so that the applicant can make the requested changes to the plan. The same project is also being considered by the Planning Board, where it needs approval for a special permit, site plan approval, an earth excavation special permit, a wellhead protection district special permit, and a stormwater management permit.

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