Citizens angered by lack of input on Chopmist Hill Estates

Citizens angered by lack of input on Chopmist Hill Estates

Plans for the Chopmist Hill Estate include six- three-unit buildings on a 6.7 acre site off Chopmist Hill Road. Neighbors are worried the water demand from 18-units would dry out their wells.

SCITUATE – From the start to the very end of the meeting, angered residents shouted against presenters of the Chopmist Hill Estates plan during a comprehensive permit hearing last Thursday, Aug. 30.

The hearing concluded at its 10 p.m. adjournment time before the commission could hear comments from members of the public.

Representing Town Council President John Mahoney, owner and applicant of the estates, his attorney, William Landry, presented the project to the Plan Commission and around 50 members of the public.

Landry said he practiced the presentation twice, which took under two hours to complete and would leave plenty of time for citizens to speak. Constant interruption and yelling from the crowd extended the presentation to 15 minutes before the 10 p.m. cutoff.

Mahoney said the meeting was “baffling,” and attended by “the most disrespectful bunch of people I’ve ever seen.”

“We were interrupted so much it brought us to the end of the night,” he said. He said his opinion was that those yelling were planted by the “good ol’ boys” to raise opposition to him politically.

“This is the rudest group of people I’ve ever encountered,” Landry said when ending his presentation.

Moments prior, a police officer escorted Chopmist Hill Road resident Paul DiPippo out of the meeting after he shouted to the commission that it was unfair not to leave time for the residents to speak.

“You’re unfair, that’s unfair. Let these people talk. Town of Scituate, speak up now, or forever hold your peace,” he said. In the hallway, he could be heard shouting about “liars” and “cheats.”

Many members of the audience were abutters and nearby neighbors to the six-building, 18-unit development proposed on a 6.7-acre site off Route 102, Chopmist Hill Road.

Mahoney’s development is planned to add five low-to-moderate-income housing units to Scituate.

The development would not reach the three-acre minimum per development, and residents are concerned that the density of the development will negatively impact their well function and water supply.

With two wells already dug, and an additional third well planned to be dug for “redundancy,” Alexander Bishop, of Northeast Water Solutions, said the wells could “not only provide enough water for development, but it can sustain a yield for an extended period of time.”

Bishop said the average daily demand of the system will be a flow rate of 1.9 gallons per minute, or 2,760 gallons per day.

Pumping tests showed no impact on a nearby well when the two wells were pumped at full capacity, according to the applicants. Only one neighbor, at 32 Cooke Drive, approximately 620 feet away from the closest project well, approved of Northeast placing testers in their well.

Additionally, a pumping test pulling at a constant rate of eight gallons per minute over 48 hours showed water level recovery in the well occurring rapidly, they noted.

“There really is no connectivity in the wells on the subject site and the wells in surrounding residential area along Cooke Drive,” Landry said.

The audience laughed and asked how the results would differ in the dry season, or during a drought. Plan Commission member Nicholas Piampiano said without information from nearby wells, there was no way to know if other wells will be impacted by the development.

“If there were to be any sort of connection between wells and concerns about people not having enough yields from their wells, it may be more associated to the density of the wells on Cooke Drive,” Bishop said.

Factors in water availability rely on fractures in bedrock, and it’s porosity level, Bishop said. He said due to the unpredictability of nature and bedrock, a variety of conditions can impact a well’s pumping flow.

Public testimony will be heard at the next special Plan Commission meeting for the Chopmist Hill Estates on Wednesday, Sept. 19, at 7 p.m. at the North Scituate Community Center, 546 West Greenville Road.

Mahoney has received an Ethics Commission advisory opinion and promised to recuse himself from voting on any Plan Commission appointments until after the election cycle or construction of his project is complete.

Paul DiPippo raised his hand to speak to the Planning Commission but was removed from the meeting for speaking out of turn. No members of the public were heard Thursday night, as the meeting ran past the 10 p.m. cutoff. (Breeze photo by Jacquelyn Moorehead)