2011-12-02 / Front Page

City, Hyde join forces against runoff

BY BETH BROGAN
Times Record Staff

BATH

Pending approval by the Planning Board, the city of Bath will partner with Hyde School to make improvements to a stormwater management system near the school.

City officials deemed the step necessary before Hyde can build a new $ 3 million dormitory to replace a 1970sera residence hall on the private school’s High Street campus.

The new, 17,000-square-foot dormitory, to be known as the “ New Dorm II,” would replace the existing “ New Dorm,” about 350 feet south of the historic Hyde Mansion. Despite a stormwater management report prepared by Pinkham and Greer Consulting Engineers of Falmouth that concluded the project “is not expected to generate any changes to the peak flows ... and should have no adverse effect on adjacent properties, downstream drainage or receiving waters,” Planning Board members and Bath Public Works Director Peter Owen said at a Nov. 15 meeting that they worried about excess stormwater that would result from the new dorm as proposed.

Hyde officials subsequently determined that off- site improvements designed to separate stormwater from the Hyde site would be the most effective way of addressing those concerns, according to a Nov. 29 memo from Bath Planning Director Andrew Deci to the Planning Board. Deci wrote that Owen agrees with Hyde’s plan.

“Since the improvement (1) assists the city with a statemandated correction of storm water infrastructure and (2) can be implemented more cost- effectively as a partnership, Hyde School and the city of Bath have mutually agreed to enact the improvements,” Deci wrote.

Terms of “ a hand- shake agreement ( have) been resolved” that would require Hyde School to pay for the survey, design and engineering of the stormwater system, all materials and all nonlegal costs of obtaining offsite easements.

City staff would construct the line, and the city would obtain easements for the line from affected property owners.

At a meeting scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Planning Board members will consider granting site approval for the new dormitory. They also will consider approving a memorandum of understanding drafted by Bath’s city attorney.

Stormwater from the area currently drains into the city sewer system, adding to the volume of discharge treated at the sewer treatment plant, according to City Manager Bill Giroux.

During storms, “ you get more water than you can treat, which is bad for the river,” he said. “The idea is over time to continue to separate the stormwater from the sanitary system.”

Deci said that, should the project be completed, stormwater from Hyde would be redirected through the new line and drain directly into the river, rather than mixing with the line headed for the sewer treatment plant.

“It’s good for everybody,” he said.

Giroux said that if Hyde had to complete the project alone, “it might be a project killer.”

Instead, city staff — which Giroux said “builds projects like this every year” — would essentially dig a ditch and lay “a few hundred feet of pipe.”

The plan would not require city funding, he said, and so would not require approval by the City Council.

Should the project be approved, Deci said Hyde officials expect to begin demolishing the existing dormitory at the end of this school year.

Prior to Tuesday’s meeting, the board will hold a workshop at 5 p.m. to discuss with city attorney Roger Therriault the board’s authority, legal issues the board may deal with, making defensible decisions and other legal issues, according to an agenda.

The workshop and meeting will take place at City Hall, with the workshop in the second floor conference room and the meeting in Council Chambers on the third floor.

bbrogan@timesrecord.com

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