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Auteur Topic: Project ontwikkeling in leefgebied Terrapene carolina carolina  (gelezen 637 keer)
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« Gepost op: 5 Februari 2009, 16:27:05 »

Rare turtle slows Mattapoisett developers


By DON CUDDY
Standard-Times staff writer
February 05, 2009



Terrapene carolina, the Eastern box turtle, counts the wooded construction site off Brandt Island Road as part of its ever-dwindling habitat, and developers are hiring a team of biologists to survey the property before committing $350,000 to a system of protective tunnels and barriers.

"We are going to do an intensive survey in May and June," said Steve Johansen, project manager and a principal in the development with Curtis J. Mello of New Bedford, the man behind the plan to construct a mixed-use development at the former Lincoln Park.

"It will cost maybe $20,000 for the survey, but if they don't find turtles then we won't have to build turtle tunnels and barriers," Mr. Johansen said.

He told members of the town's Planning Board Monday night that mitigation would cost developers roughly $350,000. "It's about $100,000 for a precast tunnel, and we need two of those," he said.

Developers also would have to construct 18-inch turtle barriers along roads, sinking them 12 inches into the ground to prevent the turtles from burrowing underneath.

Eastern box turtles are listed as a species of special concern by the Natural Heritage and Endangered Species program. State records indicate that Rare Species Observation Forms for the Eastern box turtle were submitted in both July 2006 and July 2007 in close proximity to the proposed development.

Under existing regulations, 70 percent of the property and 50 percent of the upland must be reserved for the turtles, according to Mr. Johansen. "It's well worth our while to do the study. If we don't find a turtle, they're out of the picture totally, and maybe we can use more of that open space for a community center or something."

Tom French, assistant director of the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, said the department would accept the private survey results if the required conditions are met.

"It depends on the timing, the intensity of the effort and the experience of the people performing the work," he said. "Normally, a survey runs the whole summer but, if they have time constraints, it will take a lot more effort on their part."

The move represents something of a gamble, according to Mr. French. "If they find a turtle, they are right back to where they started," he said. "Turtles are dispersed. If you find one, it doesn't necessarily mean there is only one. They are part of a population."

Brad McKenzie, of McKenzie Engineering, who accompanied the developers, said, "It's huge money. ... Retaining walls, turtle tunnels, turtle barriers, the conservation restriction. It all adds up."

If no turtles are found, it will allow more space for individual lots without increasing the density of the project, Mr. McKenzie said. "We already have restrictions on impervious coverage."

Mr. McKenzie also presented details of a reconfigured drainage system that will divert more runoff into the marshes surrounding Brandt Island Cove. This was done to alleviate concerns about storm water inundating homes on the southern edge of the area to be developed.

Seven of the proposed 41 units will have three bedrooms. The remainder will have two bedrooms, for an occupancy estimated at 123 people.

"We're trying to do an upscale, gated community. It is directed at empty-nesters, but it will not be restricted in any way," Mr. Johansen said.

Developers of the $15 million to $20 million project must return to the Planning Board in March and will meet with the Board of Health to discuss plans for the on-site septic system.

Contact Don Cuddy at doncuddy@s-t.com







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