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Drainage problems stymie sale of Milton Woman's Club

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 11, 2013 10:00 AM

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An extensive peer review, coupled with a sternly worded memo from the director of Milton's Department of Public Works, has the proposed sale of the Milton’s Woman’s Club on hold while engineers work to fix drainage problems.

In a memo to Milton’s planning director sent on Oct. 9, DPW Director Joseph Lynch said the proposed drainage system would only “worsen existing neighborhood water problems, [or] create new neighborhood water problems,” a conclusion he reached after reading through a peer review of the engineering.

“The proposed drain system will not work,” Lynch said in an email. “The soil testing is not consistent with assumptions and analysis. The analysis itself reaches conclusions not supported by the existing or proposed conditions, nor the numbers generated within the analysis. The whole proposition of infiltrating water is highly suspect and would likely result in a non-approvable project.”

Lynch also said there are design elements that aren’t physically possible, including pipes without covers, water flowing uphill, and drains that tie in below the water table.

“It is my position that the Planning Board NOT issue any DRAFT decision under any condition until all of the project review is 100% complete,” he wrote.

The peer report was delivered to the developer John Morrill, and Morrill’s engineer, McKenzie Engineering Group, shortly before the Wednesday night meeting, where Planning Board members were preparing to issue a final vote on the project.

Both groups asked that the Planning Board continue a hearing pending remedy.

In an email to The Globe on Friday, the project's engineer, Scott P. Henderson, said: "We are very confident that the issues raised in the letter can be addressed to the satisfaction of the engineer and Planning Board and we look forward to presenting our revised plan at the 10/24/13 Planning Board meeting.''

Plans have been under way for months to sell the aging Milton Woman’s Club to Morrill, which would replace the structure with four single-family houses.

Though square footage for the houses has not been decided, the lots on the acre of land would vary range from 6,000 to 8,600 square feet apiece.

Planning Board’s approval of the project is contingent on drainage problems, said Planning Director William Clark. The project also needs some drainage easements from abutters, but they shouldn’t be difficult to get, he said.

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