Cell Signaling Checks in With Manchester Coastal Stream Team


Water flowing in Sawmill Brook and Cat Brook that abut Manchester’s Limited Commercial District will be improved, not diminished in any way, by the construction of a research and development laboratory by Cell Signaling Technology at the end of Atwater Avenue, according to officials that met with the Manchester Coastal Stream Team on Monday night.  

CST’s Peter Gourdeau and Chris Comb, a Manchester by the Sea resident, and Charlie Wear of Hancock Associates presented an overview of the proposed project, including CST’s commitment to environmentally friendly construction and sustainability. 

Much of their presentation was a repeat of what was presented to the town’s Planning Board in February.   The company will be formally presenting to Manchester boards as early as next month.

For the Coastal Stream Team, the focus was on how the project would affect the nearby Sawmill Brook, which flows downhill from the project and under Atwater Avenue and across Route 128 behind the Manchester Athletic Club, and Cat Brook, which is runs along Mill Street on the opposite side of Route 128.  

Wear explained that currently the old quarry site, where most of the project will be built, is in such bad condition that water runoff from storms carry a certain amount of “suspended solids including sand, other material right down to clay particles,” said Wear.   

Wear said the infiltration systems that will be part of construction will “capture and collect those suspended solids,” cleaning the stormwater before it reaches either brook.  

“With the site in the condition that it’s in today, I can state unequivocally that there will be a huge improvement to the water quality, to the temperature of the water, and to the amount of water that gets recharged to the groundwater,” said Wear.  

Stream Team Chairman Jessica Lamothe asked if there would be any blasting on the site as part of the construction.  Comb said there may be some blasting, but it would be limited.  Wear said they would use the lowest necessary charges for any blasting, in order to limit any disruption to the ground.  

Team member Lynn Atkinson asked if the project would be visible from Route 128.  Wear said that the vegetation that already exists (and won’t be removed) and the steepness of the hill between the highway and the project will prevent it from being seen from Route 128.  

Member Francie Caudill asked if the company would develop the northern section of the property if it decided to expand sometime in the future.  The current plans call for the northern 28 acres of the property to left as is, with only hiking trails created.  The trails will be open to the public.  Comb assured her that expansion into the woods was not in the plans.  

They were also asked about how much material would be removed from the property and how much material would have to brought to improve the land.  Wear said that there are currently no plans to remove any rock or soil but that a certain unknown amount of crushed rock, loam and other materials would be needed at the property.  

Goudreau said that the project would begin appearing before the town’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission in May or June, a process that is likely to extend into mid-2024.  They hope to begin some of the preliminary work by the end of 2023. 

If approved, the CST plan estimates 18 months for construction with completion expected about the beginning of 2026.

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