The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 4, 2000

Let's work together to protect bog

To the Editor:

I grew up on and still live on Fiske Street and for 35 years I have watched the bog slowly change. What was once open water across the street from my house has now grown in with marsh grass and trees. The east reservoir was once filled to the top with water. Now due to levee reconstruction and drought, the water level is way down. The west reservoir would stay full all year. Now, during the late summer months, it sometimes turns into a giant mudhole. I used to be able to row a boat and go fishing in these waters; today I have to go someplace else. All these reservoirs are getting smaller, not larger. This conservation area is slowly (at nature's pace) turning back into what it once was, field and forest.

Now the Chelmsford Water District wants to put in six wells in the Chelmsford portion of the conservation area. These questions come to my mind: 1) How will this affect the wetlands/reservoirs around the bog in both towns? 2) How will this affect the wetlands beyond the Cranberry Bog and into Great Brook State Park? 3) How will this affect the private wells in Carlisle?

We should not count on the average rainfall or a winter's snow pack to replenish the watershed area! The past year's rain and snowfall have been poor.

Our local farmer is not the only one using fertilizers, etc. (if any) to help his crops grow. There are plenty of homeowners and other farmers up and down stream who may use fertilizers.

This is our problem, not just Mark Duffy's problem. We own the Cranberry Bog. We have all benefitted from Mark Duffy's hard work of reconstructing the Cranberry Bog. For those of you who haven't explored the bog, please do; there is a lot to offer.

I think we should all work together to find a solution. Let's protect this area for future generations.

Phil Dumka

Fiske Street

Quote was inaccurate

To the Editor:

After the paper's recent comments concerning verification of letters to the editor, I am troubled that you would publish a letter such as Mr. Bing's. While Mr. Bing, of course, has every right to air his opinions in a letter, he attempted to bolster his opinions by fabricating a somewhat outrageous quote ("We want it all.") and assigning it to me. I found his treatment of John Ballantine similarly maligning and self-serving.

Two Mosquito staff members attended that Chelmsford meeting. Your editor could have verified Mr. Bing's reporting of that meeting. In response to one of the water district member's comments that Mr. Duffy wanted all the water, I did state that the Town of Carlisle wanted to be assured that the town would be able to continue to withdraw its registered quota of 360,000 gallons per day. Also, it was Mrs. Duffy, not me, who handed out the cranberry brochure in support of Mr. Duffy's presentation to ConsCom.

Tricia Smith
Carlisle Conservation Commisioner
Indian Hill Road

Letter was misleading

To the Editor:

Years ago I was taught to turn the other cheek. Today's politics and recent spate of letters to the editor, unfortunately, have altered that reasoned response.

Mr. Bing's recent letter regarding Carlisle's water rights for the Cranberry Bog, in my opinion, mischaracterized the tone of the Chelmsford Conservation Committee meeting and misquoted me. I noted that the Carlisle Board of Selectmen and Carlisle Conservation Commission had many of the same concerns about the impact of the proposed withdrawal of water that were raised at the meeting. Many of these questions are largely technical which we feel require further study and a peer review by qualified engineers.

Mr. Bing certainly has a right to express his opinion about the proposed wells, but mischaracterizing the meeting does not help answer the complex technical and legal issues surrounding the Barnes Terrace wells. I believe that the conservation hearings in Chelmsford and the Department of Environmental Protection review will consider most of the facts and concerns in their deliberations.

John Ballantine
Fiske Street

Commend, don't condemn

To the Editor:

I would like to reply to points made in Edward Bing's letter on the Chelmsford wells issue. I felt that he and I had been attending different meetings.

First, if Tricia Smith said, "We want it all," surely she was quoted seriously out of context. Tricia has been following the progress of the Chelmsford wells for quite some time, and no one understands the complex issue as well as she.

Second, John Ballantine is correct in saying that the Town of Carlisle, not Mark Duffy, owns the agricultural part of the Cranberry Bog, and the state water rights belong to us. It is proper that Chelmsford deal directly with the owners; Mark is our tenant, farming the Bog under a lease.

Third, Mr. Bing describes pesticide-laden water flowing through the state park and back into the Mill Pond, to contaminate other Chelmsford wells. He compares it to the Woburn hazardous waste site, raising the specter of cancer and birth defects. This is, to say the least, over-dramatized. Mark is a responsible farmer, using the minimum pesticides, and he is studying how to recycle irrigation to prevent pesticides from entering Meadow Brook. He probably contributes less to pollution than neighboring lawns. Fourth, Mr. Bing asks why Carlisle bothers with the Bog, given the current low price of cranberries. We, with Chelmsford, acquired the Bog because it was valuable conservation land. The annual cranberry harvest is an unofficial town festival, and signs explain the operations to families that walk around it.

The Bog has the greatest diversity of birds, mammals, reptiles, trees and wild flowers of all our town lands. The Bog creates a unique range of habitat open fields in the eastern half, ponds, wetlands and forested upland. If the Bog is abandoned, it will become just another maple swamp.

The Bog is a town treasure. Commodity prices come and go, but the value of that land, with its agricultural use, can't be dismissed so cavalierly. The conservation com-mission, Mark Duffy, the board of selectmen, and our water rights counsel are closely watching the wells project. The Chelmsford Conservation Commission is concerned that the wells could dry up ponds north of the Bog, which are the source of Bog water and also their beloved conservation land. They deserve commendation, not condemnation.

Jo Rita Jordan, chairman
Carlisle Conservation Commission
Pheasant Hill Lane

Police department says thanks

To the Editor:

The Carlisle Police Association members would like to thank all those residents who participated in our sixth annual Christmas Tree Pickup Program, which we ran on January 8. The program was a huge success once again this year. We went to over 140 houses and with the unusually good weather afforded to us, we were able to haul away all the trees in record time. We had six trucks (with a driver and "lumberjack") going door-to-door removing the trees and bringing them to the Department of Public Works yard to be disposed of.

Your generous donations and overwhelming support is greatly appreciated. Without you, the program wouldn't be such a success.

We hope to see all of you (or at least your trees) again next year!

The Carlisle Police Association

Common driveways in Carlisle

To the Editor:

Two neighbors living on a common driveway in Carlisle are currently embroiled in a court case. The case involves one neighbor whose driveway crosses the property of the other. This was not discovered until some 17 years after the driveway was built.

In the process of attempting to resolve first the gravel and current paved driveway encroachment, civil engineers were hired to complete a land survey. The survey confirmed that the driveway is partly encroaching. During the survey process the civil engineer indicated that homeowners with large lots of land are often unaware of any encroachment or trespass situation until such time that a survey is completed. (If you have a large lot, you might want to consider a survey of your property lines.)

In an attempt to resolve the encroachment, several options have been suggested, but the stalemate has ended up in court. The plaintiff's (the property owners whose property is being trespassed on) are suing their neighbors to have them remove the driveway.

The defense being put forth by the defendants is that the Carlisle bylaws covering common driveways allow them to place their driveway over a neighbor's property.

If the defendants are successful with this defense, then it will legitimize any of your common driveway neighbors' desires to place a driveway on your property with, or more importantly without, your consent.

Needless to say, we find this quite a revelation. Can Carlisle residents living on a common driveway legitimately annex their property under the Carlisle bylaws for common driveways? If this is true, common driveway residents beware. Are you comfortable with such a bylaw? We ask townspeople, "Do all Carlisle common driveway bylaws need to be amended to 'support' this action or 'prevent' this action from taking place?"

Good people can disagree, but this situation has the potential to impact all Carlisle residents living on common driveways.

Lionel and Susan Williams
Carroll Drive

Next step in footpath plans

To the Editor:

Mothers with strollers, bird-watchers, weightwatchers, familiesall can enjoy and use footpaths. They give a safe place off the street to walk, slow down and enjoy the wonderful views this town offers. Footpaths welcome people in the community to spontaneously meet and talk. And they are safe.

The goal of our committee is to have such footpaths on the five major roads in Carlisle: Bedford Road, Lowell, Concord, Westford and East Streets.

Most recently our committee has requested bids for a design proposal of what we call the "school children loop." The school children loop starts at the rotary and goes from the library side of Bedford Road down to Church Street and further on to the new Banta-Davis Fields. It also loops because it will include a path from the

rotary up School Street to Church Street. It then will cross over to the school side of Church Street and extend past the playing fields to the end where it intersects with Bedford Road.

The design criteria in the proposal asks for a rural look. We asked that the paths not hug the road, but instead be about five feet off the road wherever possible. We also asked that the path be wide enough to handle strollers and people walking side by side, as well as wheel chairs.Our goal is to create a meandering path similar to those found in Lincoln and Hamilton. We are also researching different surfaces for the path other than asphalt. One alternative surface, which can be seen on the new Minuteman Trail in Concord, is made of stone and/or clay combined with an organic nontoxic stabilizer. It gives a country feel, is safe for the environment, is safe for wheeled vehicles, and is a great surface for joggers.

Many parents are frustrated when, in order to socialize with a neighbor, you have to make a phone call, get into a car, and drive a short distance to someone else's house. Others dream of a summer evening when the family could safely stroll to the library, followed by a delicious ice cream at Kimballs. The most wonderful part is it would be a guilt-free ice cream because it could be walked off! Wouldn't that be great!

Kristine Bergenheim
Carlisle Safety Pedestrian Committee

Settle dispute in court

To the Editor:

Over 60 years, there have been five different titles and owners of the Bartlett estate and there was no problem until the new owners showed up. All the titles refer to Estabrook Road being the "road leading to Carlisle." In 1775, the Bellows Hill Road was not there, but Estabrook Road was and still is.

The only way to settle the dispute is in court in front of a judge.

Walter Flannery Sr.
Off Baldwin Road

Roundtable moving forward

To the Editor:

The Concord-Carlisle Domestic Violence Community Action Team met on January 26 at the Trinity Church in Concord to continue working on its vision of a community in which domestic violence is not tolerated. The group brainstormed ideas that reflected the basic tenets of their mission: raising awareness, educating about domestic abuse, supporting service providers, and creating new strategies to affirm the safety, dignity and self-worth of every individual. Members broke into smaller working groups, targeting five ideas for further development. By next month members of the leadership team will move these forward and finalize actions to benefit the community.

Members of the leadership team then discussed the funding shortfall. The Roundtable has gotten under way largely through efforts of a paid consultant and facilitator, Jo Romaniello from Connectives, a Carlisle-based consulting firm. Funding for Romaniello to date has been through a Concord-Carlisle Community Chest grant, the Concord Police Department and Clergy-Laity group, which has given additional funds to extend the date through February 2000. Without funds to make up a five thousand dollar shortfall, the project would lose its consultant and, potentially, the momentum already gained.

Donations can be made payable to the Concord Police Department Domestic Violence Trust Fund (note for Roundtable) and sent to: Chief Leonard Wetherbee, Concord Police Department, 219 Walden Street, Concord, MA 01742.

The Concord-Carlisle Domestic Violence Community Action Team's next meeting will be held on February 29 from 3to 4:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, 81 Elm Street, Concord. For more information about the Roundtable, call Romaniello at Connectives at 978-369-3048.

Barbara Howland
Concord-Carlisle Community Chest

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito