Friday, August 18, 2000
ConsCom perplexed by wetland issues
Beth Schultz of Stamski and McNary had some discouraging news for the conservation commission at their August 10 meeting, regarding the construction of a ten-foot wide driveway to access a proposed single-family house off Maple Street.
A previous meeting had established that the filled wetland exceeds 500 square feet and would have to be replaced by one-and-one-third the amount of lost wetland. But the long narrow neck of land that provides access to the house location has scant room for new wetland. Commissioners had then suggested that the filled wetland could be reduced to less than 500 square feet by using a box culvert bridge, negating the need to replicate the wetland.
"The rules say that a bridge is considered fill since it covers and shades the wetland," explained Schultz. "We still need to provide replication." Unfortunately, replication would require converting some of the valuable high and dry ground near the road into more wetland. As a partial solution, Schultz proposed a plan to reduce the amount of fill by building a 40-foot retaining wall along both sides of the driveway. Although this plan would save three feet on either side by removing the slope, some replication would still be required. A 36-inch culvert, with wetland soil along the bottom, would provide water flow under the driveway, as opposed to the box culvert.
"I don't like it, but there's nothing we can do about it," lamented chair Carolyn Kiely. The others agreed that the rules protecting wetlands sometimes prove counterintuitive. Commissioner Steve Spang reluctantly moved to issue a standard order of conditions, "but I'm in favor of not using a retaining wall." The commission voted 4-0 not to accept the proposal including the retaining wall and to issue a standard order of conditions, including conditions for a replication area on a previously submitted plan.
Lack of DEP number delays Nowell Farme replication
Jean Buckborough of Nowell Farme Road returned to ConsCom to seek resolution regarding her unfortunate cutting and burning of 15 pine trees in a wetland area. At an earlier meeting, she had explained that the wetland had developed since they bought the property, and had pleaded ignorance of the wetland restrictions and other legal requirements.
At the August 10 meeting Buckborough asked to plant some bushes within the buffer zone and generally restore some of the vegetated wetland that was destroyed, but Kiely had bad news for her. "We haven't received a file number from the Department of Environmental Protection," she informed the disappointed applicant. "We can't close the hearing without a DEP number," forcing a delay in any vote on an order of conditions. To add to the dilemma, ConsCom will not meet again until September. "Can I plant a few bushes in the meantime?" pleaded Buckborough. "No," replied Kiely.
The next scheduled meeting of the conservation commission is September 14.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito