Friday, January 22, 2010
Housing Authority approves $5,000 for Benfield environmental studies
Mark Beaudry of Meridian Associates, project manager for the Benfield 40B affordable housing project, attended the January 14 Housing Authority meeting and discussed the two recent hurdles encounted by developer NOAH (Neighborhood of Affordable Housing) in proceeding with the project. Permits are issued by the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife for projects that trigger certain thresholds of the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA M.G.L. c.30, secs. 61-62H).
If a specific project is subject to a MEPA review, and Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) has records of rare species, e.g. Blue Spotted Salamander, within or near the project site, the project proponent is required to work with NHESP to demonstrate that the project will not have a short- or long-term impact on any rare species, in accordance with the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. Thus a wildlife study will have to be performed for the site. The Housing Authority approved expenditure of up to $2,500 for the study.
Beaudry also said that the Department of Environmental Protection had problems with the project concerning the riverfront delineation. As reported in last week’s Mosquito (“Wildlife protection delays Benfield 40B,”) there are currently two areas of concern. One is the area where a brook runs under South Street and finds its way to Spencer Brook. The other potential stream is on an adjacent property. Beaudry indicated that the current plot plans are inadequate to proceed with the riverfront delineation. Access to the Metrowest Engineering electronic records (CAD files) could permit the delineation to proceed. The Housing Authority approved expenditure of up to $5,000 to procure the files from Metrowest and approved expenditure of up to $3,700 for riverfront delineation and flagging.
A final vote authorized NOAH to expend up to $5,000 to coordinate these activities. ∆
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