Whiting Reservoir Study Committee 1-19-21
5:00 pm Remote by Zoom
Notice of Committee Meeting
There will be a regular meeting of
The Whiting Reservoir Study Committee
Meeting to take place remotely on Zoom Meetings on Tuesday 1/19/21 5:00PM
*** Meeting will take place remotely and can be accessed via www.zoom.us Meeting ID: 895 7863 7299 or by call in at 1 (929)205-6099 with same Meeting ID ***
Review and adoption of Minutes of meeting, January 5, 2021
Review of laws affecting Whiting Street Reservoir and surrounding properties Introduction by Marlene Connor
Attorney Crystal Barnes
City of Holyoke Law Department
General discussion of properties surrounding whiting Street Reservoir, their size,
ownership, use, relevance to Whiting Street Reservoir to include (but not
necessarily be limited to) Castle Hill Apartments, Wycoff Golf Course, open air
Concert venue, Mt. Tom, all properties which comprised the former Mt. Tom Ski
area,Trustees of Reservations property, State Department of Natural Resources
properties, Holyoke Golf Course.
Brief discussion of material to cover at meeting on February 2, 2021
Whiting Reservoir Committee Meeting
January 19, 2021
Attending: Chair Sue Ellen Panitch, Vice Chair Marlene Connor, Jeff Horan, Harry
Craven, Kip Foley, Dave Moore, (not present Theresa Sheppard, Marcos Marrero
/Aaron Vega). Others present: Crystal Barnes, Scott MacPherson.
Chair brought the meeting to order at 5:05 pm.
Minutes from the 1/5/2021 meeting were approved.
Legal Issues related to Whiting Street Reservoir – Crystal Barnes – Acting City Solicitor
Crystal discussed briefly the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act (WPA):
Included and highlighted in yellow below (but not discussed in detail during the meeting)
is important information related to the WPA from the City’s website.
In Massachusetts, most of the regulatory authority for wetland protection is held by the
Conservation Commission of each municipality. The Massachusetts Wetlands
Protection Act (MWPA, 310 CMR 10.00) defines the different kinds of inland wetlands
and the standards for their protection. These include:
Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (any swamp, wet meadow, bog, or marsh)
Land Under Water Bodies (any river, stream, pond, or lake, including canals)
Banks (any naturally occurring banks or beaches adjacent to the above water bodies)
Land Subject to Flooding (as defined by the National Flood Insurance Program)
The MWPA also includes Conservation Commission jurisdiction for work within the 100
foot Buffer Zone, which extends in all directions from the boundaries of any of the
above wetland types.
The Massachusetts Rivers Protection act of 1996 (and included in the updated MWPA,
310 CMR 10.58) extends protections to Riverfront Areas, defined as the land area
measured from the mean annual high water line of any perennial stream or river 200
feet in either direction. Note that Riverfront Area can encompass other wetland
resources and does not have a buffer zone. Rather, this entire land area is considered a
wetland resource in its own right. Perennial streams in Holyoke include: Tannery Brook,
Broad Brook, Green Brook, Paucatuck Brook, Bray Brook, Serendipity Brook, Barry
Brook, and Whiting Brook. The CT River riverfront from the Holyoke Dam south to
Berkshire Street has been designated as an Historic Mill District.
In addition to these state regulations, the Conservation Commission also enforces the
provisions of the Holyoke Wetlands Ordinance (HWO), adopted in 2001. This
provides additional regulations that include protections for isolated wetlands and vernal
pools, and establishes a No-Build Zone within 50 feet of any wetland resource.
Q: What protections does Article 97 afford to the Whiting Street Reservoir?
A: Article 97 protections can be reversed with City and State legislative approval.
Q: What is the relationship between the City of Holyoke and the Water Department?
How are decisions made related to Lands managed by the Water Department?
A: Crystal Barnes will research this and get back to the committee.
Brief Discussion on Properties in the Whiting Reservoir/Mt. Tom Area (Jeff Horan
added some information from: Holyoke Map Geo Property View)
Whiting Street Reservoir (Map-Lot 213-00-006) – owner – City of Holyoke – Water
Department – 371.80 acres. Under Article 97 protections. Water Department wants to
keep in reserve for future potential water use by Holyoke or surrounding communities.
Construction on spillway expected in 2022. Water Department also wants to continue
restricted passive recreation. Only current reservoir access is a very hazardous access
from Route 141.
Mountain Park (Map/Lot 213-00-009) – 47.87 acres – owner Mountain Park LLC –l ast
purchased 9/29/2006 for $1,600,000. Current land valuation is $710,360. Harry Craven
researched and talked with Eric Suher, owner of Mountain Park LLC. Eric would like to
develop this property in the future. He would like to come and talk to our committee.
Holyoke Country Club (Map/Lot 226-00-001)- 81.92 acres – owner Eshcc, LLC– Last
sale 2/9/2012 for $850,000. Current valuation is $643,218. Property has some of the
more obvious opportunities for development.
US Fish and Wildlife Property (Map/Lot 217-00-008) – owner US Fish and Wildlife –
140.82 acres/purchased 8/1/2002 for $1,100,000 with federal Land and Water
Conservation Funds (LCWF). Current Valuation $3,141,700. Use – protection of fish
and wildlife. Open dawn to dusk for passive recreation, hunting and fishing in season.
Previously major portion of MT Tom Ski Area and including the B-17 Memorial.
Currently nets the City of Holyoke an average of $5,800 annually in revenue sharing
from paid from Fish and Wildlife Service.
Boys and Girls Club (Map/Lot 217-00-006) – 21.74 acres – owner was Boys and Girls
Club of Greater Holyoke – previously purchased 1/7/2003 for $300,000, and valuation is
$998,300. Recently sold to owners of Mt Tom Ski Area/Quarry property for a reported
$100,000 in December 2020 after an attempted and failed exercise of purchase rights
by State of Massachusetts DCR.
Quarry Property (Map/Lot 217-00-005) – 16.15 acres – owner Mt Tom Ski Area Inc. –
purchase 12/301996 for $23,140. Current valuation $549,900. Currently subject of an
ANRAD to determine location of wetlands on site under Mass WPA. Proposal under
discussion for rubble fill. Estimate of 20 years of operation to fill quarry with ”clean”
rubble/fill. Truck traffic would be extensive and may not be consistent with recreation.
Due to wetlands located on site, wetland mitigation would be required if a rubble fill was
Trustees of the Reservation (Map/Lot 217-00-007) – 73.53 acres – owner Trustees of
the Reservation –last purchased 8/1/2002 for $300,000. Current land valuation
$1,930,500. Sue Ellen Panitch will contact Trustees for more information.
Wycoff Golf Course Property (Map/Lot139-00-003) – 81.91 acres – owner – ARMENT
& VANZANDT REALTY, INC. Last purchased 12/13/2019 for $650,000. Current
valuation $1,825,900. Kip Foley will reseearch in more detail and attempt to talk to new
owners. The golf course itself is very close to the Whiting Reservoir property and close
to the spillway work being done at the reservoir.
For next meeting: Invite Jennifer Howard from DCR to discuss DCR’s interest in
purchasing the Boys and Girls Club, quarry properties and possible additional
protections for Whiting Reservoir through a CR. Aslo invite Yoni Glogower – Director of
Conservation and Sustainability to discuss existing protections in and around the
reservoir. the next meeting
Proposed Agenda for February 2, 2021 at 5:00
Crystal Barnes – report on relationship between Water Department and decision
Jennifer Howard – DCR – DCR’s interest in properties surrounding the Whiting
Reservoir/Mt. Tom area and potential for purchase/sale of development rights on the
Whiting Reservoir property
Yoni Glogower – MA Wetlands Protection Act and Holyoke’s vision for protection
around the reservoir
What information do we want to provide to abutters?
What information would we like from abutters?
When should we meet with abutters?
What information do we want to provide to the general public?
What information would we like from the general public?
When should we meet with the general public?