April 11, 2021

Old Lyme Zoning Approves Lyme-Old Lyme Schools Proposal for Turf Field — With Conditions

This image, courtesy of Milone & MacBroom, shows the current field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School (left) and the proposed synthetic turf field (right.)

OLD LYME — At their regular monthly meeting held virtually last Monday, Dec. 14, Old Lyme’s Zoning Commission members unanimously approved Lyme-Old Lyme School’s Special Permit Application to “modify the playing geometry ” of the athletic field behind Lyme-Old Lyme High School and change the “playing surface from manicured lawn to synthetic turf.”

The motion to approve the application did, however, have one significant condition.

At the November meeting, commission members had requested that Tom Metcalf, the engineer for the Planning and Zoning Commission, should review the project plans and report back to them.

Commission Chair Paul Orzel was expecting Metcalf to be on the phone during the meeting but Metcalf was not present. Commission member Jane Marsh reminded Ozol that Metcalf had submitted a letter to the commission with details of his review.

Ozol then requested that Marsh should read the letter aloud for those present and everyone attending the meeting virtually.

Marsh noted that in the letter Metcalf stated he had reviewed a set of project plans prepared by Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and recently visited the site to view existing conditions. 

His comments read verbatim by Marsh were as follows:

  • Presumably the synthetic turf is a proprietary product. The project plans do not specify the synthetic turf type or manufacturer. Therefore, I assume the details associated with the synthetic turf and collector (drainage) pipe system shown on Sheet SD2 are compliant with the synthetic turf type and manufacturers requirements and specifications for the application proposed at the Lyme – Old Lyme High School. ] suggest the applicant confirm this. Additionally, it appears the Sheet SD2 details for the synthetic turf and collector pipe system are general in nature and do not provide sufficient information for construction/installation purposes. While perhaps not necessary for permitting purposes, Prior to construction, I suggest the applicant provide the Town with final construction plans and specifications for the project.
  • Similar to the synthetic turf installation, additional information for the turf stone grid pavers (detail on Sheet SD-2) should be included on final plans to facilitate construction.
  • Additional information and details for the French Drain System” should be included. The information and details should include elevations, materials and construction details to facilitate installation. Reference: Sheet UT. 
  • Although Grading Note 3 on Sheet GR and the existing conditions shown on Sheet EX acknowledges the presence of the existing geothermal well system within the project area, presumably the layout and design of the synthetic turf field and associated drainage have considered potential conflicts and impacts to these proposed improvements as well as to the existing geothermal well system. 
  • I recommend that the construction/installation of the synthetic turf and associated drainage be monitored/inspected by the design engineer to assure improvements are satisfactorily constructed. Additionally, I suggest that an asbuilt survey/plan (horizontal and vertical/elevation) be prepared of the drainage system to verify improvements have been constructed per design plans and for future reference. A copy of the as-built plan should be provided to the Land-Use Office.
  • Given the lengths/runs of the 12″ perforated collector (drainage) pipe (873 linear feet and 170 linear feet) and the inclusion of angle/bend points along the lengths/runs, consideration should be given to placing manholes and/or accessible cleanouts along the pipe length at critical locations to facilitate future maintenance.
  • I did not review the playing field(s) layouts, slope and dimensions or the associated fencing for the fields. I assume the field layouts and fencing were developed in conjunction with the school and meet their use needs.
  • An elevation bench mark should be included on the plans to facilitate construction.
  • To avoid any misunderstanding of the intent of final landscape plantings, you may want to confirm the size, type and number of shrubs. Reference: Sheet LA.
  • Presumably the 8 fiberglass hand-holes shown on Sheet LA are associated with the electrical conduits to be placed around the field perimeter as shown on Sheet UT.
  • Plan graphics of existing drainage pipes and flared end sections at the Detention Pond should be checked. (FES inv. = 7.6′ is outlet from pond through the pond berm; FES inv. = 7,4′ is outlet from pipe through pond berm). Reference: Sheet EX. Accordingly, the proposed 18″ HDPE outlet pipe from the manhole to the Detention Pond should include a flared end section or other suitable outlet type and suitable scour protection at the pipe outlet. Reference: Sheet UT.
  • Construction sequencing, procedures and timing is unclear. I suggest the plans include basic construction sequencing, procedures and timing information. In addition to facilitating construction, this information is necessary to assist with implementing temporary erosion control measures during construction.

Metcalf concluded by asking Old Lyme Land Use Coordinator Daniel Bourret to forward a copy of his letter to the design engineers Milone & MacBroom, Inc. and the Regional School District since he did not have their emails.

Bourret reported that he had not complied with that request since the Public Hearing was closed and rules prohibit the applicant from supplying more information after that point.

Marsh commented that in the past it has been permissible for the engineer to talk with Zoning staff in order to resolve outstanding issues. She then proposed that in this case, since the project had been under their review by the Zoning Commission for some time, that the commission should approve the project with the condition that all the requirements stated by Metcalf are met. Further, as part of her motion, she said Bourret would be required to ensure the condition were enforced.

The motion with the condition passed unanimously.

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