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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Conservation Commission Closes Y Hearing

By Jennifer Connic

After a record five months of meetings on a single issue, the Conservation Commission tonight closed its public hearing on the Westport Weston Family Y’s controversial application to move its facility from downtown to Camp Mahackeno.

The audience applauded the vote to close the hearing, but the commission’s work is not done. It will not need to spend time in work session deliberating and rendering a decision on the application.

The commission held a record number of meetings on the application that started Oct. 18.

The commission spent tonight asking questions of the Family Y’s consulting team that is working on the project, including on the septic system, which some opponents have said has a high risk to fail.

Gerald Kagan, a commission member, asked a series of questions of what procedure is in place in case the septic system fails, especially during the first early days of the system.

Larry Weisman, attorney representing the Family Y, said the draft permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection requires bi-weekly reports on the system, and those reports will be available to town officials.

Family Y officials would also want to avoid shutting down the system during its start-up phase so water can continue to flow, but the definition of failure needs to be determined.

Failures at facilities such as the Gunnery School were due to the fact that the system was made too small for the facility, he said.

“If it’s a design problem (that causes a failure), we will shut it down,” he said. “We’ll get input from the operator, the DEP and the town to help us decide what to do.”

Weisman said there should be limits on when the system should be shut down if there is a problem, he said, but he can’t say what it should be.

“We could have an independent person suggest a remedy,” he said.

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Posted 03/29/07 at 01:50 AM  Permalink



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