The Sandwich Conservation Commission has again sent architects for a beachside compound in East Sandwich back to the drawing board.
An initial proposal for the “Wings Way” project, located at 14 Beach Way, included doubling the size of the existing home on the lot, as well as adding a pool and a two-story garage with an apartment on the second floor. During an earlier hearing, the commission had asked for the pool to be removed from the plans and that the garage be made more able to withstand flooding.
Revised plans were back before the commissioners at their meeting on Wednesday, July 7. The new plans showed the garage built on concrete pavers.
Department of Natural Resources assistant director Joshua Wrigley said that this is problematic because the property is within the coastal dune area, where one of the standards is that projects shall not prohibit the dune from being able to move.
He said that the commission has always interpreted this to mean that hardscaping—such as concrete, pavers, asphalt, and stone—cannot be installed in a coastal dune.
Jack Vacarro, senior consultant for Epsilon Associates, an engineering firm in Maynard, presented the updated plans to the commission.
Wetlands scientist Robert M. Gray and attorney William C. Henchy were at the meeting to represent the abutting owners of the property. They argued that even with the updated plans, several aspects of the project pose a risk to neighboring properties.
Emails were also sent to the commission from Vikrant Raina, the sole trustee of 1 Maple Place, and Daniel Kiryelejza, the owner of 10 Beach Way.
Mr. Kiryelejza said that he was concerned that plans for the property continue to include a large garage. He also said he had concerns about the plans to install a septic system in an area that regularly becomes flooded, which would pose a health risk to neighbors in the area.
He asked that the commission deny the proposal in its current iteration.
Mr. Raina also asked for the project to be denied, citing the garage and the septic issue, among others.
He said that the project is clearly on a coastal dune, which poses a risk to the dune and his property.
“While the owners of 14 Beach Way would like to take the risk, the consequences will be imposed on us, the neighbors,” he said.
Mr. Raina noted that while the situation on Beach Way is not directly analogous to the recent tragedy in Surfside, Florida, with the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building, one issue that has been scrutinized since the collapse has been how the construction of a nearby building may have impacted the integrity of that condominium building.
“There is potential for severe unintended consequences for a construction project on a dune on a barrier beach,” he said.
Mr. Henchy said that he objected to the lack of notice that he, Mr. Gray, and the neighbors had been given regarding the meeting. Due to the holiday weekend, they had one business day to review what amounts to a new plan.
Additionally, he took issue with the lack of engineering calculations in the new plans regarding flood waters and how the project would mitigate the impact of flooding to the neighboring homes.
The scope of the project was also in question. The plans would nearly double the size of the existing house to 3,570 square feet and add a living space on top of the proposed garage.
Mr. Vacarro responded by saying he objected to everything he had heard from those opposed to the project. He also slammed the comparison to the Florida tragedy.
“It is so offensive and so disrespectful to us to have the tragedy in Florida be somehow used in comparison to our project,” he said. He called the statement horrible and shameful.
The commissioners asked Mr. Vacarro to come back to the board on July 21 with plans that remove the garage and include data from engineering and other testing done on the site regarding soil, groundwater, and flood elevation.