Friday, June 2, 2000
Arboreal issues test various branches of ConsCom's decision-making tree
Trees beat out septic systems on the May 26 conservation commission agenda. In fact, the meeting covered a number of minor, but unusual, situations.
Hillside Drive tree presents danger
For starters, David and Barbara St. Onge, owners of Lot 7 Hillside Drive which is currently under construction, presented a problem that at first glance seemed pretty routine. Displaying pictures of a 150-foot "unstable" white pine that had been exposed by the removal of other trees in the area during construction, they asked permission to remove the threat. They buttressed their request with shots of other trees that had already fallen.
Unfortunately, according to conservation administrator Sylvia Willard, who had inspected the site, the tree was beyond the haybale line that marked a zone of no disturbance around a wetland, and was probably in the wetland itself. The situation was compounded by the fact that the area is next to a decidedly robust "intermittent" stream that passes through a large culvert under Hillside Drive. Eager to cooperate, the applicants offered to replace the tree, if the commission so desired. In spite of the possible complications, and over the opposition of commissioner Eric Jensen, who is the board's recognized advocate for endangered trees, the applicants' proposal was approved. The order cited "a clear and present danger" to the house.
Tree on Hutchins Road presents dilemma
A somewhat similar situation at a new residence on Hutchins Road had a different outcome. At the request of owner Basil Bourque, Willard had looked at some apparently dead trees on one part of the lot and a decidedly dead tree, that was already dropping debris at the edge of a fire cistern, on another. The catch was that the latter tree was located within the boundaries of a conservation restriction that specifically prohibits tree cutting. Therefore, unless the fire chief can come up with a legal dodge, the department of public works will have to wait for the skeleton to fall of its own weight.
Trees impact Autumn Lane septic system plan
Jack and Lois Beatty of Autumn Lane had no difficulty getting an okay to replace a failed septic system within the 100-foot buffer zone of a wetland with a two-tank facility. Following a site visit, Willard affirmed that there was no other possible location on the lot. However, when it was revealed that a number of trees would need to come down, Jensen was concerned that the area be revegetated. Unsure as to what planting pattern is acceptable near a septic system, the commissioners approved the application, asking the administrator to check with the board of health concerning allowable vegetation.
Request to harvest trees on South Street
A final arboreal item concerned a reported forestry management project contemplated by Inga MacRae, owner of a Chapter 61 forested parcel off South Street. When informed earlier in the week of a plan to harvest some trees on the property, Willard arranged to meet at the site with the forester hired by MacRae to carry out the project. Harvesting is permitted on Chapter 61 forested land, but the commissioners feel obliged to stay informed. Willard said the meeting would probably include a forester from the state Department of Environmental Management.
Davis Road well collapses
No trees were involved in an event that would send shudders up and down any Carlisle homeowner's spine. Willard reported that a well 500 feet deep had collapsed at a new home on Davis Road. While watering his lawn, the owner felt the flow dropping to a trickle. Nonplussed, he called in the experts who tried to pull up the pump for repair, only to have the apparatus stick about 100 feet off the bottom -- not a good sign!
Since the house and well lie within 200 feet of Page Brook, a river resource area, emergency action was required to drill a new well. After studying a Stamski and McNary plot plan and receiving a report from the administrator, the board signed an emergency certificate for transmittal to the state Department of Environmental Protection.
Maple Street addition approved
Kieran Nunan of Maple Street, who two weeks ago had appeared before the board to explain an inadvertent violation of the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act, returned to inform the board that under their enforcement order he had moved immediately to have illegal fill removed from a wetland on his property. Following commission instructions, a backhoe had dug out the material to within about about a foot of the wetland surface. The job was then completed by hand, using a rake and small shovel.
On his return trip to the board, Nunan submitted a Notice of Intent for construction of an addition to his house (already underway), narrowing of the existing driveway and landscaping. His specifications showed a complete plot plan with the wetland boundary drawn in to coincide with flagging completed by BSC Engineering. The commission issued a standard order of conditions permitting the project to continue. Willard was asked to check the siltation fence and haybale line prior to re-initiation of work.
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