The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 3, 1999


ConsCom issues call to arms: kill buckthorn and save rare violet

Carlisle Conservation Commission members listened attentively, gave an almost immediate go-ahead and then took advantage of a rare opportunity to pick the brains of a wildflower expert. As the first applicant in a long November 18 list, Chris Mattrick from the New England Wildflower Society sought permission to eradicate a buckthorn encroachment on the Greenough Land. The objective was to protect one of the five or six patches of the exceedingly rare Britton's violet in existence in the state. Happy to enlist recruits in their long battle against the reedy enemy, the commission gave the applicant an enthusiastic welcome.

Informing the board that buckthorn has proven very detrimental and tough, a fact of which they were all too aware, Mattrick explained that the society planned to use a hand-powered weed-wrench that has given excellent results in the past. The brush will be collected and any seeds that might be present will be removed and destroyed. The prized Britton's violet, prolific 100 years ago when it was reported turning entire riverbanks to soft purple, requires dappled sunlight to thrive, a condition the project aims to restore at Greenough.

Mattrick extended a welcome to any volunteers who might like to join the New England Plant Conservation group in the salvage operation and learn a technique useful to home landscapers. Recruits should come armed with their own weed wrench. Commissioner John Lee, who has fought the invader on Towle Field and Annandale Farm, added that the commission would love to see every gardener in our buckthorn-prone town not only buy the tool but present a personal weapon to each of his progeny.

While on the subject of invasive plants, commissioner Sylvia Willard asked Mattrick if, in his experience, haybale barriers used to protect wetlands during construction had inadvertently introduced such culprits as loosestrife and canary grass. He considered this a distinct possibility and suggested using coconut fiber. Commenting that this would be overly expensive for most projects, commissioner Tricia Smith recommended salt marsh grass. As to what the experts might prefer for chemical eradication of reedy invasives like buckthorn, Mattrick recommended painting the cut stalks with Brush Begone.

Pine Brook development

The proposal of Betsy Goldenburg and Albert Gould for development of approximately 40 acres off Pine Brook Road, a project under preliminary consideration by the planning board, reached ConsCom last week on wetland resource delineation. Gary Shepard of David Ross Associates presented a wetland delineation report submitted by environmental consultant Frost Carrow of New England Environmental. The resource area included 7,400 square feet of Bordering Vegetative Wetland (BVW), land subject to flooding and a small pond. In the consultant's opinion, none of the wetland features were deep enough to constitute vernal pools.

Shepard noted that the owners have filed with the state's National Heritage Program pending determination of what wetland species might be involved. Declaring satisfaction with the delineation as presented, the commissioners issued an abbreviated order of approval.

Buttrick Woods

Kevin Balboni, a prospective buyer of property in Buttrick Woods, paid a return visit to the board which had turned down a previous request to amend the order of conditions governing development of Lot 11. The new proposal revised the location and shape of the proposed building envelope and decreased disturbance in the buffer zone by almost 1,000 square feet. Engineer Beth Schultz, who had been reprimanded in the previous appearance, was accompanied by attorney and former selectman Wanda Milik. However, no reinforcements were required this time as the commission found the new plan to be, in Smith's words, "a vast improvement."

Hutchins Road

Engineer Jody Borghetti (formerly Jody Minkle) of Stamski and McNary proposed an amendment to an approved Notice of Intent (NOI) on a Hutchins Road lot owned by Denise Judson. An enlarged footprint and a change of position of the garage and driveway brought the area of work to within 85 feet of the wetland. The tightness of the lot necessitated the change, if the family vehicles were to be accommodated. The board found the request reasonable and issued an amended order.

South Street pond area

Timothy Fohl of South Street represented himself in a Determination of Applicability, which essentially asked whether or not he would need to submit an NOI in order to clear some brush and saplings from a man-made pond. He, too, proposed to use a hand lopper and a weed wrench. Chair Jo Rita Jordan and conservation administrator Katrina Proctor had already inspected the site and determined that no further paperwork was required.

South Street septic system

The new owners of the former Diment property on South Street, Frank and Andrea Proctor, also represented by Borghetti, received approval of plans for a new septic system to comply with the requirements of Title 5. The one-acre lot, obviously laid out prior to the two-acre zoning bylaw, left little leeway in construction. The hearing was closed and a standard order of conditions issued, with one special condition that permitted limited clearing within the buffer zone.

Brook Street septic system

Finally, Lewis Sayers of Brook Street received an okay for a mounded septic system to replace one that has failed. The owner is selling his home and 12-acre parcel after many years in Carlisle. He received a standard order of conditions with a special requirement that Proctor approve the haybale lines before the construction begins.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito