Friday, May 19, 2000
Great Brook developers comply with ConsCom requests
Albert Gould and Betsy Goldenberg cleared the last obstacles to conservation commission approval of their ten-lot subdivision off Rutland Street at the board's May 11 meeting. Engineer Rick Haywood of Ross Associates led off by describing a change in the configuration of the conservation cluster that will constitute a major part of the subdivision. At the request of the planning board, Lot 9 will now be included in the cluster, thus increasing the required amount of open space from 3.88 to 5.72 acres.
Since the lot change was clearly acceptable to the commission, Haywood next addressed three unresolved conservation issues. The first concerned safe passage for small animals from one side to the other of a wetland that is bisected by the access road as it enters the subdivision. The original plan called for a single 12-inch hydrologic culvert that pierced the concrete retaining wall, but would prove impenetrable for small creatures such as turtles and salamanders. The solution offered by the Ross engineering team featured a separate box culvert at ground level with an inviting flared opening at each end. The commissioners indicated complete satisfaction with the new design.
Commissioner Eric Jensen surprised his colleagues by suggesting a reduction in the size of the wetland replication area from the usual one-point-three-to-one ratio to a straight one-to-one. Commissioner Claire Wilcox was strongly opposed. She feared that such action might set a dangerous precedent and pointed out that it is not unusual for a portion of the replacement plot to fail, ending up considerably smaller. Commissioner Steve Spang supported Jensen's contention that, in this particular case, the replacement area which would be dug out to produce the required replication was equally, if not more, valuable than the wetland itself. A straw vote of the members, taken to ascertain the "sense of the commission," showed three commissioners in favor, two abstaining and one opposed.
Following an indication from Gould that he had received word from Pat Huckery of the state's Natural Heritage Program that no endangered species were present on site, the commission closed the public hearing. All members voted in favor of issuing a standard order or conditions, amended to stipulate that "the replication area will produce no less than a one-to-one ratio and that the plan will include the proposed box culvert for creature migration."
The process concluded in a contest of mutual congratulation, with Spang commending the applicants for their willingness to meet the concerns of the commission. "It is great to see a negotiation that is productive," he said. Not to be outdone, Gould saluted "the cooperative spirit of the commission," which, he declared, "makes it a pleasure to work in this community."
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito