The Sandwich Conservation Commission met for the first time in almost four months on Wednesday night, June 24 to soldier through stockpiled items ranging from proposals for new septic systems to razing and rebuilding seaside homes.
The meeting lasted for almost four hours, prolonged by technical glitches with the remote conferencing software and the sheer volume of agenda items.
The commissioners did not linger on many of the matters before them, but they did have a brief conversation about a new product that was proposed to replace a crushed shell driveway near the coastal dune.
The permeable pavement product looks like cement latticework and allows rainwater to percolate through. It provides a base for vehicles that does not compress as much as crushed stone or shell, landscape architect Wayne Tavares told the commission.
Mr. Tavares, appearing on behalf of the owners of property at 9 Freeman Avenue, said the product had been used by property owners in New Seabury, is “100 percent better than what was there before.”
Grass can grow through the latticework or it can be filled with stone.
“I don’t talk about anything I don’t believe in,” Mr. Tavares said. “It’s a great system.”
Nevertheless, the conservation commission voted against it, finding that although it may be an improvement over existing products, it is still a “hardscape” and is prohibited in the protected coastal dune area.
The commissioners also took some time to discuss a request by the owner of property at 12 Foxcroft Lane to clean up some invasive plants that were growing within a 50-foot natural buffer zone between the house and a natural resource area.
The homeowner’s engineering company proposed using an herbicide to clean up the brush.
Assistant Natural Resources Director Joshua Wrigley, liaison to the commission, warned against supporting the proposal.
“It could be a wolf in sheep’s clothing,” he said, adding that such vegetation clearing is often proposed to improve the homeowner’s view, and does not protect the surrounding resource area.
“I would think carefully on it,” Mr. Wrigley said.
The commission voted to oppose the use of herbicide and disallowed work within the 50-foot buffer zone.
The commissioners postponed decisions on the razing and replacement of single-family homes at 293 and 345 Phillips Road, and on a few other pending hearings.
At the end of the meeting chairman Brett J. Butz announced that he was stepping down from the board, as did vice chairman Tom Shevory.
Scott Boutilier was named as the new chairman and Jack K. Sidar was named as vice chair.
Alternate member Cameron S. Murphy became a full member by unanimous vote.
The commission will be seeking new members.
Although he did not say that the length of this week’s meeting was the cause, Mr. Wrigley said at the end of the night that a potential new commission member had withdrawn her application.
“She said she could not make the time commitment,” Mr. Wrigley said.