The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 7, 2000


Proposed Chelmsford wells grab Carlisle ConsCom's attention

The Chelmsford Water District's plan to locate six wells with a 350,000-gallon per day pumping capacity on that town's portion of the Cranberry Bog Reservation has certainly gotten the attention of Carlisle officialdom. After individual members of the Carlisle Conservation Commission attended a Chelmsford Conservation Commission walk at the Barnes Terrace well site and heard a preliminary presentation of the district's proposal at Chelmsford Town Hall, they sought Cranberry Bog farmer Mark Duffy's reaction at their December 16 meeting.

Duffy's stake in the proposed well field is obvious, since he depends on the holding ponds that lie in large part in Chelmsford as his major source of water for the bog. He assured the commission that he would be present on December 21 for the Chelmsford commission's first official public hearing on the water district's application for approval of its plan (His hard-hitting presentation at that session is summarized starting on page 1)

Amazed that the water district's permitting documents made no mention whatever of the fact that the bog has a "registered water right" to take 357,000 gallons of water a day from the Heart Pond watershed, Duffy asked for legal corroboration of two seemingly established facts: first that the Town of Carlisle, as owner of the bog, has water rights to the unnamed holding ponds or impoundments, and second, that they have the the right to pull water from Heart Pond in a drought. "I would not be so concerned if I knew I could go to Heart Pond when water ran out in the unnamed ponds," he said, but noted that, in the past, he had encountered strong opposition from pond abutters when he exercised his historic rights.

At the commission's request, the board of selectmen voted on December 28 to ask town counsel to ascertain the exact status of Carlisle's rights apropos of the Cranberry Bog and the Heart Pond watershed. Since that time, the commission has invited their Chelmsford counterparts to accompany them on a site walk with Duffy at 8 a.m. on January 8. The continued Chelmsford public hearing on the water district's application to establish the well field on conservation land will take place at 7:30 p.m. on January 18 at the Chelmsford Town Hall.

Routine business

Two items of routine business were transacted at the ConsCom meeting, which was abbreviated due to an executive session requiring consultation with town counsel. The first applicant, Bruce Wheeler, owner of Lot 4 at Buttrick Woods, received approval of an amended Notice of Intent. The amendment sought to revise a building envelope approved last summer.

The second, a continued hearing, concerned a new grading plan for Lot 1 on Hutchins Road. Owner Brian Coffey wanted to regrade a steep slope and stabilize it with juniper and periwinkle in tandem with a fibrous mat. The plan was accepted and an Order of Conditions issued after conservation administrator Katrina Proctor reported approval from Pat Huckery of the Massachusetts Natural Heritage Program.

ConsCom meetings have been rescheduled to January 6 and 20 rather than the usual second and fourth Thursdays of the month.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito