The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 11, 2000


Kiely steps up to chair conservation commission

A somewhat disorganized atmosphere prevailed at the February 3 meeting of the Carlisle Conservation Commission as the board's organizational chart underwent some abrupt changes. Jo Rita Jordan, chair for the past year, had already stepped down from that demanding post as scheduled on January 31. However, the unanticipated resignation of vice-chair Tricia Smith from the commission, effective on the same date, left Jordan's successor undetermined. During Jordan's one-night absence from last week's meeting, veteran commissioner John Lee conducted the session.

Unanimous urging from her fellow commissioners convinced environmental attorney Carolyn Kiely to accept the chair as of the close of the meeting, with the proviso that Jordan serve as vice-chairman until March 23. On that date, commissioner Thomas Brownrigg will assume the duties of second in command, while Jordan returns to her post as commissioner.

East Riding Drive development

Opening the meeting for two scheduled public hearings, Lee first welcomed engineer Beth Schultz of Stamski and McNary, who represented developer William Costello and the town of Carlisle. The applicants were requesting acceptance of resource delineation in the 314 East Riding Drive development. The town was included in the application owing to its acquisition of a 2.1-acre lot, which is slated to be serviced by the subdivision road.

Schultz presented detailed maps of the tract which is located between Carleton Road and Brook Street. The plans showed three areas of "isolated wetlands." Wetland consultant Michael Marcus had indicated he felt strongly that two of these resource areas were actually connected and might constitute vernal pool habitat. Even if the areas in question are found to be vernal pools, they must be certified to receive protection. The applicant needs to provide substantiating evidence as to why they should be considered "isolated." After a site visit and report from administrator Katrina Proctor, Kiely and commissioner Sylvia Willard, the commissioners asked for and received a continuation to February 16 to allow for further evaluation.

River Road gas line

Chip Orcutt, owner of property at 1 River Road, had been turned down last year by the board of appeals on a proposal to locate a cell tower there and subsequently ordered to remove an illegal oil tank. He returned to report an apparent violation of the Wetland Protection Act and Carlisle wetland bylaw on the part of Boston Gas. Once the tank was removed, he had hired the utility company to install a gas line that appeared to cross the buffer zone of a wetland. He stated that the company had assured him they would obtain all necessary permits before breaking ground. When he discovered that they had not done so, but had proceeded with the installation, he reported the problem to Proctor.

Lee observed that he was sure Boston Gas was well aware of the laws governing gas lines in wetland areas. "Maybe they thought it was too small a project for anyone to notice," he surmised, adding, "We would be remiss not to assert ourselves in a situation like this." The board voted to invite the gas company to appear at the March 9 meeting to explain their version of events.

Dana Booth, an abutter to 1 River Road, questioned the maps submitted in support of the application for an "ex post facto" approval of the project. He noted that the maps did not show the location of the septic system, which requires a setback, and that the boundaries were unclear. He also inquired of the commissioners, "If they [Boston Gas] had made the application for a permit with this back-up, would you have okayed it?" Lee replied, "We would have had more questions."

Naming conservation lands

There was a brief discussion about the naming of new conservation lands, occasioned by a request from John Swanson that Lot 10 in the Tall Pines subdivision be named The Swanson Family Land, in recognition of their gift to the town. The request was granted.

When the naming of the so-called Wang-Coombs land at the junction of Curve and Fiske Streets was raised, Lee suggested that this major acquisition deserved fuller consideration and recommended consultation with the Conservation Land Trust, which had done so much to make the purchase possible.

Behavior in well discussions

At the close of the session, Willard, who attended a January 18 public hearing concerning the Barnes Terrace well field in Chelmsford along with other ConsCom members and two selectmen, asked to make a personal statement. Concerned by a recent letter in the Mosquito, which portrayed one commissioner and a selectman as having spoken in an aggressive and even threatening manner, her pronouncement concluded with the following assessment: "at all times, Carlisle's representatives conducted themselves in a polite, courteous and professional manner consistent with our mutual interest in the environment and with good citizenship."

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito