Depot St. condos gain Conservation Commission’s OK

SOUTHWICK — The Conservation Commission approved the proposed 100-unit residential development at 42 Depot St. on Tuesday, after changes were made to some of the units that were the closest to the wetlands buffer zone.

The project is awaiting approval by the Planning Board, which may vote for the project at its next meeting Dec. 20, after further review.

The Depot Street project consists of 100 units of connected townhouse-style homes that will sit within the 100-foot buffer zone of a nearby wetlands area. Right Hand Clyde Real Estate had been seeking approval from the Conservation Commission for the ability to build within that buffer. The developer has also gone before the Planning Board for a special permit, site plan approval, an earth excavation permit, a wellhead protection district permit, and a stormwater management permit.

The proposal had been seen by both boards with heavy public participation in the wake of the Carvana proposal, the most recent major development to be proposed in Southwick. Some residents had expressed concerns about the effect on area traffic and water usage. Planning Board members, including Chair Michael Doherty, said that they were not convinced that traffic would be significantly impacted by this project, and that it would not be an overly significant water user.

The project faced a delay before the Conservation Commission when former Chair Chris Pratt, and other members who remain on the commission, expressed concern that some of the units were too close to the 50-foot wetlands buffer zone. The commission members were concerned that the future residents of those units may try to extend their back yards and build structures inside the wetlands buffer zone without the permission of the Conservation Commission.

To mitigate those concerns, the site surveyors at R. Levesque Associates agreed to move the buildings farther from the buffer, and possibly install a permanent fence along the boundary.

It is not yet clear when construction would begin if the Planning Board does approve it.

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