November 30: Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act Site Visit to Fairgrounds

We encourage concerned citizens to attend this Fairgrounds site visit relating to its redevelopment plan:

MEPA Site Visit and Public Consultation
EEA# 14509 – Three County Fairgrounds, Northampton

An Environmental Notification Form (ENF) has been submitted for the above project, which consists of redevelopment of the 51-acre fairground site. The project site is located within Bordering Land Subject to Flooding (BLSF) and will result in creation of approximately 7 acres of new impervious area for a total of 16.34 acres of impervious area. The ENF indicates that the redevelopment will impact approximately 2.1 million square feet of BLSF. The project involves demolition of structures that are listed on the Massachusetts Inventory of Historical and Archaeological Assets of the Commonwealth. The project requires an Order of Conditions from the Northampton Conservation Commission (and, on appeal only, a Superseding Order from MassDEP) and is subject to review by the Massachusetts Historical Commission.

Site visit date/time: Monday November 30, at 10am

Location: On-site at the Three County Fairgrounds, Fair Street Northampton. We will meet at the Fairground administration building prior to the site walk.

Comments Due: December 14, 2009
Decision Due: December 23, 2009

Project contact: Jeff Squires, The Berkshire Design Group (413) 582-7000

MEPA Analyst: Aisling Eglington (617) 626-1024
MEPA Web site: 
ENF (first few pages)

Aisling Eglington

MEPA Analyst
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114-2524
Phone: (617) 626-1024
Fax: (617) 626-1181

See also:

Northampton Media: “EcDev Czar Anderson and Councilor Reckman: Limit Environmental Review of Fairgrounds Project” (11/23/09)
[Click the link for] the text of an email sent from City Community and Economic Development Office (CEDO) Director Teri Anderson to members of the Three County Fairgrounds Redevelopment Corporation, to Planning Board member Marilyn Richards, and to out-going Ward 3 City Councilor Bob Reckman.

Note that newly-elected Ward 3 City Councilor Angela Plassmann was not copied.

Anderson is urging the group to submit public comment as part of the MEPA process (see related article) and to specifically ask state regulators to not require a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project.

Video: Conservation Commission, 11/12/09: Three County Fairgrounds
The meeting included discussion of the impact of stormwater runoff on abutting properties, with comments by abutter and former Ward 3 City Councilor Maria Tymoczko. The hearing on the Fairgrounds was continued to the December 10 meeting of the Conservation Commission. Watch the City Calendar for details.

Northampton Media: “ConsCom to Fairgrounds Developers: More Info Needed on Drainage Plan” (11/12/09)
Former Ward 3 City Councilor Maria Tymoczko, an abutter to project, said that the drainage swale designated for overflow stormwater output was on her property. “The City owns no right of discharge at that location,” she said. “The swale is on my land. I want no ‘improvement’ to my swale without my input. I don’t want my tree line ‘improved’ away. The city does not own that property.”

November 12: Conservation Commission Hearing on Three County Fairgrounds for a Wetlands Order of Conditions
Three County Fair Redevelopment Corporation has submitted this Environmental Notification Form and supplemental diagrams:

Three County Fairgrounds – Environmental Notification Form (PDF, 3.33MB)
Three County Fairgrounds – Existing Conditions (PDF, 1.96MB)
Three County Fairgrounds – Overall Site Plan (PDF, 2.50MB)

Video: Presentation of Three County Fairgrounds Master Plan (7/25/08)
The development’s marquee attraction will be a new 80,000-square-foot, climate-controlled exhibition building to be constructed near the back of the fairgrounds at the corner of Fair Street and Cross Path Road…