Friday, May 8, 1998

Disputes article

To the Editor:

I am writing to demand an apology and a retraction of an article about me written in the Mosquito (May 1 issue) stating directly or indirectly that I cut down trees in wetlands, and without consulting any town officials did landscaping and construction of a septic system.

How could anyone know if I cut down trees and removed brush in the wetlands on my property before I had any landscaping done? For that matter there were no trees in the wet areas except for two or three down on the south part of my land. At least one of those trees was cut down. This winter the last white pine there went down in a winter storm. The rest of the trees that were cut down were on higher ground and away from any wet areas.

Several years ago, before I started landscaping the middle area of my property, I called the town clerk's office. A woman at the office told me that I could proceed with the work because my property had no wetlands. She based this ruling on the fact that there is no water in this area all year.

After having my plans for my leach field approved by the board of health, I was told by a member of that board, not an engineer, that because some grading on one side of the leach field went over the 100-foot buffer zone of the wetland that I would have to consult with the conservation commission before I could proceed.

As for walking the property to assess the impact of the proposed septic system, I never walked the property with ConsCom administrator Katrina Proctor nor did I have the conversation that was reported in the article. The only time I have spoken to Katrina Proctor was over the phone or in her office.

Welma Kornfeld

Heald Road

Ed. note: When contacted by the Mosquito, ConsCom administrator Katrina Proctor said that the above-mentioned Mosquito article, reporting on a ConsCom meeting, was substantially correct. Proctor added that while she did walk Kornfeld's property alone, the reported conversation occurred subsequently over the course of many phone calls, not in person. She stressed again that any work done appeared to be an "innocent error" on the part of the landowner and reiterated a caution that wetlands change over time and need not be wet all year long. If there is ever a question, homeowners should call her at the conservation commission office before any landscaping begins.