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Heritage Park improvements presented to Conservation Commission

WESTFIELD – Brent White of White Engineering in Pittsfield came before the Conservation Commission on July 13 for a Notice of Intent (NOI) on improvements planned at the Heritage Residents Association at 898 Southampton Road, including paving roadways, new water lines and stormwater management with the 200 foot riverfront area of Arm Brook.

White said approximately a year and a half ago the resident of the mobile home park acquired ownership through ROC (Resident Owners Communities), and retained his firm. He said they have discovered a fair amount of leakage in the water system, the road needs repair, and they also plan to provide stormwater management improvements.

White said among their plans are rain gardens and buffer plantings for mitigation of disturbed areas. He said the goal is to completely reconstruct the water distribution system throughout the park, adding that his firm has worked for a number of mobile home parks, and will provide state of the art materials.

White said as part of the repaving, there is some existing gravel that they will pave, and some that they will restore to lawn.

White also provided a filing with the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) along with their comments on the project. He said the site visit with the commissioners will allow them to look at the comments with greater detail.

Commission chair David A. Doe asked where the work will occur. White said throughout the entire property, both inside and outside of the riverfront resource area.

Reviewing the DEP comments, White said his company had failed to identify Arm Brook as a coldwater fishery, which has been corrected.

He said there are a number of exempt activities, such as all work associated with water line repairs, which are clearly needed. Other DEP comments referred to unpermitted clearing or mowing, which White said they are checking into and will address if needed with a mowing plan.

With respect to rain gardens, White said from his perspective as a designer there are relatively small sub catchments where rain will drain, which has resulted in problematic pooling. He said they need to pitch the roads to drain and provide depressed areas to drain, and proposed rain gardens with more natural vegetation, as compared to a rip rap, a hole in the ground with a few shrubs

“My goal is to make conditions of the road safe for residents year-round,” White said, adding that the rain garden would help and would be an improvement to the property, but could be converted to four bays and more planting around Arm Brook. He said there is very little information on the underground utilities, mains and service lines, and they have contracted with a ground penetrating radar company to get that information. “The biggest concern I have is don’t do any more damage than you already have; e.g., don’t hit the water main,” he said.

Doe asked whether White could stake out the proposed rain gardens before the site visit. The NOI was continued to the next meeting on July 27.

Heritage Residents Association treasurer Danny Boyle said the work that is going to be done was structured into the loan agreement when the homeowners association purchased the park through ROC (Resident Owned Communities). He said the work is going to be extensive, giving a ballpark figure of $600,000. “It’s a great thing for our park,” Boyle said.

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