Friday, January 22, 1999
ConsCom proposes $500K 'back-up' request for conservation fund
Thanks to the last minute cancellation of two public hearings January 14, the Carlisle Conservation Commission took advantage of a half-hour time slot to discuss a "backup" article for spring Town Meeting. Commissioners were aware that the municipal land committee is hard at work crafting a multimillion dollar serial bonding proposal that would allow town officials to initiate land purchases for a variety of specific community requirements, including conservation. However, the five members present agreed that they should be prepared to air their own most pressing needs should the consolidated request fail to pass.
The commission's representative on the municipal land committee, Christine Bopardikar, explained that the bonding authorization will be sought to permit the town to act if a really large parcel should become available, one large enough to allow for possible mixed use for such purposes as school construction, municipal utilities and/or conservation. Or, in another situation, it might permit the town to negotiate credibly on more than one property at a time.
Bopardikar was reluctant to discuss details this early in the process, especially since the matter is under study by the finance committee and other officials. She defined the overall purpose as giving the town the means to preserve significant parcels before they have been gobbled up for development. The land acquisition body is scheduling a preliminary public hearing on February 1
Chair JoRita Jordan commented that there was strong support within the commission for a backup ConsCom item requesting $500,000 to replenish the "depleted" conservation fund. The fund now boasts a total sum of $4,000, not enough to pay for appraisal of a tract. After a brief discussion, conservation administrator Katrina Proctor was asked to draft a first-pass article embodying the $500,000 request.
Update on land banking
Commissioner Claire Wilcox noted that Massachusetts Speaker of the House Thomas Finneran has called for legislation to permit towns to adopt "land banking" without further referral to the legislature and that Governor Paul Cellucci has concurred. However, a subsequent check with land bank sponsor, Representative Pam Resor, revealed that this endorsement does not apply to a fee levied on real estate transfers, but rather to an authorization to impose an across-the -board raise in real estate tax rates to fund a bank.
Request from Fish and Wildlife
Proctor called the board's attention to a request from the U.S.Fish and Wildlife Service for information pertaining to rare, endangered or merely interesting flora and fauna in the vicinity of the Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge. The Carlisle commission was asked more specifically for such information as might pertain to the O'Rourke Farm, Greenough or Foss Farm. The service is also looking for input as to what local boards or private citizens, might like to see included in their management plan for O'Rourke. There was a strong intimation in their communication that they might be interested in purchase of land contiguous to the Concord River flood plain, properties such as those currently owned by the Woodward or Anderegg families. Their major interest lies in the protection of water quality for the entire watershed. There will be a public meeting March 3 in Concord at which public input will be solicited. Wilcox made a strong recommendation that the local board stress its desire to see existing trails maintained on any property that the service now controls or might acquire in the future.
The board next turned its attention to the latest version of Theodore Treibick's 6-lot development plan for land between East Street and Bedford Road, abutting the Shohets' lron Mill Farm and the Seawrights' daylily gardens. The proposal was presented as four Notices of Intent, the first describing an 800-foot common driveway off East Street and the second three house lots with driveways. The new plans would replace the developer's Laurajon Drive subdivision proposal which was disapproved by the planning board in 1996, a decision that resulted in a lawsuit against the board. The original. plan would also have required over 5,000 square feet of wetland fill and would thus have activated stringent state requirements.
Board members studied the series of maps shown by Treibick's environmental spokesman Dave Crossman, who pointed out that the new route for the common drive would require no wetland fill. Nevertheless, board members were obviously concerned about its proximity to the wetlands and questioned rather sharply as to whether a large area designated as "isolated wetland" really fell in that category. Proctor also quizzed Crossman about a "flood hazard area," indicating that the flood plain should be clearly demarcated and that it should conform to a 1988 federal map.
Although Commissioner Steve Hinton made it clear that the board would not consider individual lots until the planning board and board of health had acted, Crossman did display plans for Lot 6 on the other side of the wetlands The driveway for the house would require 3,600 square feet of wetland fill and 4,680 square feet of wetland replication. The discussion of replication brought a commentary from auditor Fred Lewis, who termed replication areas "false wetlands" and said he was more than a little dubious about their efficacy. Proctor indicated that the commission follows strict state standards in approving these areas and checks them for successful functioning over a three year period.
Noting the many wetland issues raised by the latest Treibick specifications, the board scheduled a 9:30 site visit for the morning of January 23. The public hearing will be continued to January 28 at 8:30 p.m.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito