HIllside Road new house construction approved

WESTFIELD – A plan to keep stormwater away from Hillside Road as a result of new single family home construction was approved by the Conservation Commission on Oct. 13. The plan was presented by Ryan Nelson of R. Levesque Assoc. on behalf of Ralph DePalma for a house on 505 Hillside Road which is adjacent to bordering vegetative wetlands (BVW).

Nelson said after a couple of visits from the commission and city public works officials, there was concern expressed about stormwater management at the site. He said they have since added a swale to catch runoff from the driveway as well as a rain garden, an excavated basin that would be vegetated, to direct the flow to an improved catch basin and existing wetlands. He said they also planned to install a new pipe under the driveway.

Nelson said the 100-foot by 30-foot rain garden which is on a sloping hillside would be planted with silky dogwood and spice bush shrubs, and woulid capture all the runoff that could go to the road. He said there is a culvert under the road to the field across the street.

Conservation Coordinator Meredith Borenstein said that the Engineering Department had suggested the vegetative swale following a site visit, because the DPW did not want any more water to enter Hillside Road.

“Levesque (Assoc.) has gone above and beyond to keep stormwater on the site,” Borenstein said, adding that the stormwater coordinator and others were in agreement that the swale above the catch basin would be adequate to keep water off of Hillside Road.

Commissioner Thomas Sharp asked why on such a large property the house was set on BVW.

Nelson said there is a subdivision of the property on paper, although never constructed. “We wanted to keep this house on its own lot, so it didn’t exclude any plans for the future,” he said.

“I’m always troubled when new construction goes within the bordering area. In this case, you will be disturbing within the 50-foot line in the northeast corner,” Sharp said.

Nelson said it would be a temporary disturbance to mark the area around the house to achieve grading, and that after construction the line would be marked with monuments, and the BVW left as an upland meadow, with once yearly mowing after the growing season.

“Then I’m okay with this. Historically, Hillside has problems with stormwater,” Sharp said.

The public hearing was closed, and the Notice of Intent (NOI) approved with the special conditions that there would be no mowing in the bordering vegetative wetlands for 12 months after construction, that New England Conservation seed mix be added, and afterwards only mowing once a year after Oct. 31 be permitted. A bond was set for $5,000.

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