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Canton High School Track, Field and Parking Lot Project Gains Wetlands Approval

Zoning Commission to hold site plan public hearing next week.

With Inland Wetlands and Watercourse Agency approval Thursday night, the Canton High School track, field and parking lot project faces one more regulatory hurdle.

That process will continue on Feb. 20 with a zoning commission public hearing for the site plan.

In November, residents by a tally of 3,034 to 2,112 voted to bond $3.615 million for a track, multi-use field and parking lot improvement project at the high school. The plan calls for a 6-lane track with 8-lane sprinting section with an encompassed multi-use synthetic field. Parking lot changes include improved bus queuing, parking orientation changes and an increasing in parking spaces from 228 to approximately 254. The plan also includes changes to the main access to the school, including an additional exit lane and a center island.

It also calls for a second paved, 15-foot wide access for emergency use. 

Land-use approval, including a wetlands permit, is required for the project to go forward. On Thursday, despite considerable discussion about drainage, permeable and impermeable surfaces and further activity in the "uplands review area," or the 100-foot buffer area, outside a wetland, agency members unanimously approved the project.

Agency member David Sinish had emailed several questions to Milone & MacBroom, which were read into the record and addressed during the meeting. Questions included information about square footage numbers for the activity in the review area, the activity and the wetlands. He also asked about the amounts of permeable and impermeable surfaces.

Although Milone and MacBroom shifted the driveway further from the wetland and narrowed the island following an informal review process, Sinish still expressed some concerns that it would be closer to the wetland than it is today. 

At one point he even raised the idea of cutting it back to one exit lane and utilizing police to enforce a right-turn only out of the parking lot after busier events.

In the end, however, several other members said their charge was to assess how further activity in the review area affected the wetland itself. Chairman David Shephard said he felt driveway runoff would go into catch basin just as it does now. 

"I don't see how the proposed changes make any difference for the wetlands and watercourse," he said, in reference to the driveway. 

Shephard also agreed Milone & MacBroom associate Thomas J. Daly that changes in the parking lot could improve wetlands impact over the current parking lot features. 

Member Bob Oswald agreed that he felt the distance to the wetland going from 85 to 70 feet did not in itself mean the wetland would be further degraded. 

Sinish still expressed some reservations. 

"It occurs to me that expanding the driveway is not necessarily protecting the wetlands," he said. 

Sinish, however, eventually joined fellow agency members in voting to issue the permit. 

The agency did set a few conditions, including that catch basins and other systems draining the parking lot runoff be maintained on a regular basis. The agency also asked that more vegetation be added along the access way. 

The Zoning Commission meeting and hearing takes place on Wednesday, February 20, 2013 at 7:30 pm at the Library/Community Center.  Please click here to view the full agenda. 

Ben February 15, 2013 at 01:03 PM
One question where are you going to put all the snow...And one more thing do we really need this. There aren't enough students in canton to fulfill all of canton sports right now. All of the teams have gone down since the late 90's because each team is spread thin and not enough players to keep up with other schools.....just sayin
Andrew Ziemba February 15, 2013 at 01:54 PM
Silly questions, DO IT FOR THE KIDS!!! HA! Someone ELSE'S kids! Who cares, the taxes will pay for it, or we can just borrow money to pay for it. Who cares? It's a good thing "education" is so cheap so that we can afford to lavishly spend like this on absurd stuff.
David Sinish February 15, 2013 at 02:42 PM
The time and place where your concerns will be most effectivly voiced is at the Zoning Commission hearing next week. The appropriation has been approved but not the plan.
Canton Taxpayer February 15, 2013 at 03:14 PM
Thank you Mr. Sinish. I'll be attending but I don't think I can fight the Zoning Commission -- the original stewards have all been replaced and as far as I can tell, it's a rubber stamp at this point. On another note, it should be interesting to see taxpayer reactions when the bills come due.
Andrew Ziemba February 15, 2013 at 03:28 PM
Regardless of the outcome, it will just be an increasing burden on those who have no choice but to pay for the burden. A forced extraction of funds from victim "A" to benefactor with the gun "B". The only difference between it and an armed robbery is that people willingly go and vote to allow it.
Betty February 15, 2013 at 05:31 PM
I hope the Zoning Commission does whatever possible to protect the neighbors, some that predate the school. I don't live in the immediate area, so it does not impact my property value, or my day to day life I am very happy to say. I am not a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard). I would support a super buffer/berm paid for by the town to protect these long time Canton taxpayers/residents and their property. I am very concerned about all the big ticket items that we taxpayers will be paying for over the next 10 years. I am concerned about the possible need to pay to replace roads rather than just repairing them because the cost would be 4 to 5 times greater. Finally I am extremely concerned that our grand list is not going up significantly, we need revenue now more than ever.
Taxpayer February 15, 2013 at 06:23 PM
Not sure why the town is even considering this? Why are they not focusing on fixing what we DO already have...like the roads? Our roads are a complete embarrassment. I moved to this town 7 years ago and noticed back then the roads needed repair. Well, 7 years later and the only thing I've seen in chip-sealing. There are 2 major roads that come to mind, Gracey and East Hill Road. Those 2 are downright treacherous to drive on in the summer with all the potholes and ravines on the side that need to be navigated, never mind adding snow to the mix making them that much more dangerous. Would it kill the town to put salt or sand down once in a while? Just blows my mind how the town will consider spending this type of money on something without fixing what needs fixing first. It's akin to buying a BMW when your roof on your house is leaking and you throw duct tape on it because your out of money. Crazy. Well I suspect in 3-5 years the new track will resemble the condition of our roads. Simply embarrassing!
Andrew Ziemba February 15, 2013 at 09:32 PM
It's like mugging someone who ride a bicycle to work so that you can buy a beach house actually. Ahhh public education...
Canton Taxpayer February 15, 2013 at 09:50 PM
See those 2,112 votes against this very expensive folly / debt? One of those was mine. It's the only voice I have unfortunately. Not enough people stepped up and voted against it.
Andrew Charron February 16, 2013 at 12:17 AM
Ben is sports about winning and having only a few kids participate or should it be about giving a lot of kids an opportunity to enjoy team sports? Studies show that athletics improve student performance, create self confidence and keep kids out of trouble. Anyone that knows me I like to win but offering more sports is a winning for so many kids. AZ and Taxpayer good to see you in prime form. I would think you would be complaining about why we pay so much in taxes and yet they cannot even handle a winter storm - my advice to you both is move to NH - Live Free or Die - that is where I come from and you would be much happier. Betty hear you on the roads but you have been around long enough to know if we waited for what needs to be done I am not sure who would be around. The track is going to be something Canton can be proud of and yes it costs money but at least it is a valuable asset.
Betty February 16, 2013 at 09:12 PM
Andrew, I am afraid Canton will be loosing many people who will need to choose between property tax, fuel to heat their homes, or food. I think the Multipurpose Track and Field referendum question was approved because it’s supporters had the money to run a strong campaign to garner support and votes, the people that could not afford a tax increase did not have the money to spend on a campaign to oppose it. It is unfortunate that everything was not presented to the voters to decide at one time last November. I believe the price tag/tax burden would have been obvious and the outcome would have been different. I have been told the added cost to me would be only $50., we’ll see. Like many others in Canton, the impact to me will be an additional tax burden for many, many years to come. I think that many of these projects would be wonderful to have in Canton, but many cannot afford the additional tax burden for all of them, especially all in one year. Regarding the roads, more than likely if someone lives in a recently built home/neighborhood they live on a drivable road, many in Canton do not. My road is okay, but again I fail to see why we should wait to fix the roads until they are so bad that the cost to replace the roads will be 4 to 5 times greater than it would be to repair them, it seems just plain foolhardy to me. I believe it is reasonable for anyone to expect drivable roads throughout Canton.

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