Friday, March 19, 1999
Must be spring: trails, pool and salamanders at issue before ConsCom
Acting chair Christine Bopardikar looked out the Town Hall window with dismay. It was snowing again for the Thursday conservation commission meeting. Their last meeting had to be cancelled because of snow, even though ConsCom is Mother Nature's best friend. A quorum eventually arrived and the March 11 meeting was held in spite of the slippery roads.
New nature trails
Bill Luther returned for continuance of a public hearing on his Notice of Intent (NOI) to construct a bridge and trails on his property at 542 School Street. Accompanied by his lawyer and by environmental engineer Bob Alvarez, Luther was anxious to ease any remaining concerns about his proposed nature trail. "Two large boulders at the entrance will prevent use by an ATV (All Terrain Vehicle)," explained Luther, referring to previously voiced neighborhood fears. "The bridge and board walkway will be only 36 inches wide, which is too narrow for an ATV to cross."
Luther's only desire is to enjoy his 11-acre property and he has no plans to subdivide, even though there is a buildable lot. To add emphasis to this resolution, he hopes to put the land under a conservation restriction, "so that it can't be built on." Alvarez waxed poetic about the flowering fruit trees, blueberry bushes, fragrant viburnum, and a vegetable garden adjoining the path. "This is a great improvement over last time," decided commissioner Tricia Smith. Satisfied as to design and purpose, ConsCom members closed the public hearing and voted to issue a standard order of conditions for the project.
Theodore Treibick's environmental engineer, Dave Crossman, returned once again to the sound of sympathetic snickers around the Clark room. Crossman, who probably considers the Town Hall as his second home, was seeking approval of three NOIs. "You're probably aware that the planning board has rejected the Treibick ANR plan," he said to acknowledging nods from ConsCom. "I'm not sure how we proceed at this point."
Bopardikar suggested consideration of the three NOIs from a ConsCom perspective and based on their own merits. The first NOI presented by Crossman contained recent modifications to the proposed construction and grading of the common driveway to serve three house lots. This included regrading the first 50 feet off East Street to reduce the 12 percent grade. Commissioners were satisfied and voted to issue a standard order of conditions for the common driveway.
The second NOI involved construction of a single family house, with driveway and grading, on the highest and driest house lot. Commissioner Smith moved that ConsCom issue a standard order of conditions, "valid only if the board of health (BOH) approves the sewage disposal system exactly as shown on the submitted plans." All agreed, and Crossman began to take on a more cheerful demeanor.
This optimism turned out to be short-lived as ConsCom attacked the third NOI. It was a similar single family house, driveway, well, and associated grading, but as they say location is everything. "There's no backyard whatsoever," remarked Smith. "It's ten feet to a stonewall and 30 feet to the edge of wetland. I would feel comfortable denying this."
Commissioner Steve Hinton agreed and stated, "We shouldn't even be looking at this because it doesn't have BOH approval." Smith moved that the project be denied based on (1) lack of information on how the house can be constructed without impact on wetlands, (2) lack of BOH approval, and (3) backyard is too close to wetlands. ConsCom voted 5—0 to deny the project.
William McNary of Stamsky and McNary appeared before ConsCom to request approval of a septic system repair for Timothy Parsons of Lowell Street. "This was made somewhat famous last week in the Mosquito," said Parsons. "It's a mounded system with gravity feed." Town consulting engineer Rob Frado stated at a recent BOH meeting that it is very rare for a mounded system to function by gravity rather than a pump. The commissioners had indeed read about it and they looked approvingly on the unrolled plans. Smith moved to issue a standard order of conditions and the vote was unanimous. Smith asked conservation administrator Katrina Proctor to check the hay bales after they are in place to ensure conformity with the plans.
Pool on Elizabeth Ridge
McNary remained standing to present an NOI for construction of a pool, retaining wall, stairs, and grading within the buffer zone of a vegetated wetland. The new pool will be located on the property of Judy Fowler Seiffert of Elizabeth Ridge Road. "There's a fence around the pool and along the top of the retaining wall," indicated McNary. Plans specify that a "Versa-Lock" wall be used as a retainer, and seeing puzzled looks, McNary added, "They look like Legos."
Commissioner John Lee asked Doug Pillsbury, the pool builder, about accommodations for draining the pool. "There will be a drywell nearby," said Pillsbury. "We typically drain off 10 inches in the winter to allow ice buildup
"Good plans make good neighbors."
without damaging the tile. That's 600 to 1,000 gallons from a 30,000-gallon pool." This prompted Lee to express concern about the chemicals contained in the pool water when it's dumped. Pillsbury rattled off some facts about pH and chlorine and assured Lee that everything magically neutralizes into harmless drain water. "Well, I'm sorry for sounding like an auditorial troglodyte," responded Lee. "I've never owned a pool."
Their defenses aroused, ConsCom requested more details about the drywell. Questions also remained as to the location of the fence surrounding the pool and the fence above the retaining wall. In addition, the plans lacked information on the type of filter cartridge used to clean the pool. "The public hearing will be continued for two weeks so you can add more detail to the plans," announced Bopardikar. "Good plans make good neighbors," solemnly concluded Commissioner Hinton.
Curve Street habitat
Jody Minkle of Stamsky and McNary presented plans for Lot 1A on Curve Street next to the Swanson farm. A portion of the house, driveway, and septic system are located within the 100 foot wetland buffer zone. After a brief discussion, the commissioners decided to extend the hearing for two weeks until they receive a report from National Heritage on endangerment to wildlife in the area such as the spotted salamander.
Buffer zone building
Chris Fielding, contractor for the Klickstein house on the former Hensleigh land off West Street, requested a change in house size and location of the driveway. When asked how much of the house is located within the wetland buffer zone, Fielding admitted, "Almost all of it." He squeezed his fingers together and continued, "There's a tiny triangle in the middle that's outside the zone." This prompted abutter Scott Simpson of Judy Farm Road to ask for clarification on the legality of building in the wetland buffer zone. "Building in the buffer zone is fairly common in Carlisle," responded commissioner Smith. "It's perfectly legal." That said, ConsCom voted unanimously to issue a standard order of conditions.
The next meeting of the conservation commission is scheduled for March 25.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito