Friday, November 17, 2000
Conservation commission rebukes non-compliant owners and contractors
Two homeowners are learning that when the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) issues an Order of Conditions for a construction project, they and their contractors are expected to take the instructions seriously. At their November 9 meeting the board considered two cases of non-compliance.
When the previous owner of a home on Partridge Lane sought a Certificate of Compliance from the commission to confirm proper completion of a new septic system, he was dismayed to discover that his contractor had not fulfilled his basic obligations. The installer of the septic system had failed to notify the ConsCom office when work was about to begin, hence the haybale line that should mark the limit of work had not been approved. In addition, no planting plans were submitted to assure the stability of the steep slopes involved. The site was hydroseeded, but did not produce the commission's intended result.
The new owner Roger Krieger informed installer Glenn Nichols about the problem, but reported that his concerns have been ignored. The commissioners were agreed that the present owner should not be penalized for violations that predated his purchase and voted to issue an enforcement order to the contractor. Nichols will be ordered to install a haybale line to protect the wetland from possible winter erosion from a two-to-one ratio incline, and appear before the commission December 7 to explain his lack of compliance. As a result of this and other cases of failure to follow an order of conditions, the commissioners, from now on, will ask the Board of Health, which approves septic design, to give all contractors a copy of the ConsCom order along with their own specifications.
The second case of non-compliance involves work done by Kenneth Bedrosian at his property on Bedford Road, adjacent to the Gleason Public Library. When first called before the commission on September 28, the homeowner was questioned about filling and grading beyond a haybale line meant to protect a nearby wetland, removal of some haybales and a change in the location of a water line from the well to the house. Asked why he had not submitted an amended Notice of Intent (NOI) to build, Bedrosian had cited problems with drainage from library construction next door. Subsequent site visits by conservation administrator Sylvia Willard and two commissioners found no problems originating from the library, and no effort on Bedrosian's part to correct the violations. Therefore, he will be asked to return on December 7 to discuss immediate remedies.
High water table at Hart Farm
The board conducted related public hearings on four NOIs to construct single family homes at Hart Farm Estates off Curve Street. The maps and specifications submitted by Stamski and McNary engineer Jody Borghetti showed generic five-bedroom houses of at least 3500 square feet. Owing to a high water level-a mere one foot below the surface-mounding will be necessary for construction of both the septic systems and the houses, resulting in a total of 49,700 square feet of work within the buffer zone of the surrounding wetlands. It is important at this point to correct a common misunderstanding about the term "buffer zone' as it applies to a wetland. That 100-foot state-mandated zone does not prevent construction in the area: it merely requires that the local conservation commission condition or supervise the activity there.
Borghetti agreed that the developers could not install the septic systems until spring, but they can bore wells and complete a lot of the grading. Once the lots are sold and the buyers' plans for their houses obtained, the developers will return to ConsCom for approval of each individual residence. Meanwhile lot 6 was approved with a standard order of conditions; lot 7 was accepted once the haybale line was brought closer to the house, and lots 10 and 11 were required to include one-cubic-foot boulders, 20 feet apart, to mark a permanent no-disturbance zone near the wetlands.
New subcommittee to study bylaw changes
The commission brainstormed a number of proposed changes and additions to the town's Wetland Protection Bylaw, which will be introduced at the spring Town Meeting. The most often discussed revisions focus on additional or increased applicant fees, a no-build zone bordering vegetated wetlands, and protection of vernal pools and other isolated lands subject to flooding. Named to the subcommittee charged with evaluating these and other proposals were former commissioner Christine Bopardikar, Kathy Coyle, commissioner Chris Gaulden and former commissioner Tricia Smith. Selectman John Ballantine will serve ex-officio and former commissioner Steve Hinton will participate as an advisor.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito