Friday, August 31, 2001
Great Brook Park renovations begin with new parking lot
The conservation commission gave a final go-ahead for two "continued" applications that involved construction in major wetland buffer areas.
Protecting the duck pond
Landscape architect Andrew Leonard from EMG Associates and Great Brook Farm State Park superintendent Ray Faucher returned to the commission with detailed plans for the removal of an existing parking lot with 53,000 square feet of work in the 100-foot buffer zone surrounding the duck pond. The project is a major component of the $1 million park renovation getting underway this fall and aimed at correcting serious drainage and siltation problems.
To prevent untreated water off the nearby parking lot from running directly into the pond, the inadequate facility will be converted to lawn and a new compacted gravel replacement built 289 feet away in what is now cornfield. The new parking area called Meadow Path will be established before the old area is closed. This preliminary phase should be complete by late fall, but regrading for the meadow will probably take place in late spring of 2002.
Using a well illustrated map, Leonard pointed out detention basins located in the upper meadow between the parking area and the picnic grounds to help control water flow. These "rolling meadows' will be landscaped with upper level plantings of groups of "grand trees," followed down hill by bushes and ground cover to stabilize the "bowl" that terminates at the pond. A 15 to 20-foot buffer of massed shrubs and indigenous plants will protect the vulnerable edge of the ducks' refuge.
As requested by the commission at the first hearing, Leonard described the planting plan in detail and promised interpretive signage to enhance public education. All materials involved in the project will be stockpiled outside the buffer zone, with haybales in place at all times.
The commission congratulated the architect on the creative approach the design team had brought to long-standing problems of erosion and siltation that had threatened the popular pond. The vote to approve was unanimous.
Common drive traverses wetlands
The commission next revisited a request by Richard and Nancy (Shohet) West in May for approval of a plan for construction of a dwelling, driveway and associated utilities. The proposal requires 25,000 square feet of activity in the buffer zone, some within River Front property on a four-acre lot broken off from Mrs. West's parents' Mill Iron Farm off Bedford Road. Because of the sensitive nature of the terrain, the commission had asked for a careful recheck of engineer David Crossman's River Front delineation. Commissioner Christine Gaulden acknowledged receipt of the requested documentation and the fact that the 200-foot Pages Brook riparian zone falls within the ten percent allowable under state statute.
Stamski and McNary engineer Joseph March reported that the planning board had called for an improved delineation of the common driveway to warn vehicles of stream crossings, plus installation of pressure-treated posts with reflectors, to be placed two feet from each of two culverts. The board had approved the total plan with the condition that the house be built with an automatic sprinkler system, owing to the fact that no fire pond or cistern was mandated.
Commissioner Eric Jensen requested that the pressure-treated posts required by the planning board be made from ACQ lumber and not cadmium arsenic material. With this proviso added to their standard order of conditions, the commission voted its assent.
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