Friday, January 24, 2003
Selectmen approve scenic road restitution plan
The decision was not unanimous, but a majority of the board of selectmen agreed with the restitution plan worked out between Joseph Campagna and the town of Carlisle. Campagna violated the town's scenic road bylaw in 2001 while constructing a barn when he cut trees along River Road without first obtaining permission from the town. Many of the trees he cut were on town-owned land along the road. During the construction process one or more granite boundary markers were also removed. (For further details, use the search feature of the web site www.carlislemosquito.org to find previous articles on the subject.)
Campagna has restored one boundary marker, and has verbally agreed to pay the town $4,000 toward the cost of the town replanting trees. Town administrator Madonna McKenzie said that supervisor of the department of public works Gary Davis thought 20 trees needed replacing. McKenzie obtained estimates that it would cost between $90 and $300 apiece to buy six-foot oak, pine or sugar maple trees. Using an average cost of $200 per tree, she came up with a total cost of $4,000. Town counsel has drafted two release documents, which are to be signed when the town receives the $4,000. One document is to release Campagna from any further responsibility to the town, and the other will release the town from any future obligation to him.
Dissenting selectman Vivian Chaput felt the $4,000 was too low, since it did not include any funds for tree stump removal, and the agreement did not resolve the question of the property's exact boundary, or whether further boundary markers were removed. She recommended the town ask for $10,000. Chaput said, "We're not protecting ourselves as well as we might. This is a case where somebody has gone ahead and violated the town's rights."
Selectman John Ballantine said, "Let's go back to what we can enforce by law." The board felt it had clear legal authority under the scenic road bylaw to require the $4,000 to replant the trees, but the town's legal authority was weaker if it wanted to require the landowner to survey the property and install additional boundary markers. The board voted 3-1 in favor of the settlement. (Selectman Doug Stevenson was absent.)
Campagna's property is currently for sale, and Chaput recommended that the listing real estate broker be notified of the $4,000 outstanding obligation.
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito