EAST LYME — At its meeting on Monday night, members of the Inland Wetlands Commission questioned plans for a 108-unit affordable housing development on North Bride Brook Road that would in part extend into a 100-foot wetlands setback along the project’s western extent.
At the meeting, attorney Harry Heller, of Uncasville, represented the developer, Jason Pazzaglia of Pazz & Construction, of East Lyme, who has proposed a housing development for the 20-acre site at 90 North Bride Brook Road under the state’s 8-30g statute for affordable housing. The development would consist of 11 buildings of eight units and two buildings of 10 units.
Heller referred commission members to soil scientist James Sipperly’s report, which was included in the application. Sipperly was hired by the developer to review the overall plan, as well as the erosion and sedimentation control plan for the project, and to assess the relationship of the development to wetlands on the site.
“His professional opinion is if the erosion and sedimentation control plan is followed, there will be no impact to the wetlands or watercourses as a result of this development,” said Heller.
Heller said he also received a report on Monday from Town Engineer Bill Scheer which concluded that if the plan was properly implemented, the construction would have no adverse impacts.
The project would include a stormwater detention basin, sized for the entire development and designed to accommodate different-sized storm events. The basin design follows guidelines from the 2004 stormwater quality manual, which “is designed to create sufficient residency time within the structure to accommodate the removal of 80 percent of total suspended solids,” he said.
The project would use municipal water and sewer. The East Lyme Water and Sewer Commission granted Pazz & Construction, LLC, 35,400 gallons per day of sewer capacity for Phase I of the project on August 27, 2019.
Commission Chair Gary Upton asked whether some of the buildings could be combined to move them out of the upland review area.
Heller explained that although portions of three buildings, and some impervious surface including a cul-de-sac and a parking area, would overlap the setback area, all of the stormwater runoff would be captured. Some runoff from the three buildings’ roofs, which is considered relatively clean compared to stormwater, would be channeled to recharge the wetlands, he said.
During public comment, Christopher Hanney, who lives on North Bridge Brook Road, told the commission that the area around the proposed site is prone to flooding.
“Go up there in April, wear your boots, it will be up to your knees, probably your waist,” he said. “When I hear there’s no problems, I can’t go with that. Someone’s going to have to do their homework, there’s a lot of water up there, a lot.”
Phyllis Berger, secretary of the commission, questioned whether the stormwater basin could hold the volume of water from torrential rain storms that she said could drop more than 8 inches of rain in a 24-hour period.
Heller said the basin was sized to accommodate a 100-year storm, with an additional swale for any overflow.
“There is no regulation that we design for more than the 100-year storm,” Heller added.
After an hour and a half of testimony, the commission voted to keep the public hearing open and to continue it to February 24.