Friday, October 31, 2003
Permit, penalties likely for Berry Corner buffer zone construction
At its October 23 meeting, the Conservation Commission (ConsCom), applicants and their engineers took a step forward toward resolving a troubling situation on Berry Corner Lane. After two meetings in which the commission had quizzed property owners Laura and Michael Baliestiero and their professional consultants about discovery of substantial, unpermitted construction in a wetland buffer zone (see page 5 of the October 17 Mosquito), the board heard a proposal for remediation from Stamski and McNary engineer Joseph March.
Taking careful note of all the environmental problems cited in two previous presentations of the Baliestieros' ex-post-facto filing of a Notice of Intent, March took up the stated concerns one by one.
First, the engineer proposed to terrace the area behind the half-completed home, which would allow the contractors to pull offending fill back from its present location 13 feet from the wetland to about 30 feet away. Two stepped stone walls would be back-filled with sand and crushed stone and further naturalized with plantings.
Second, the driveway was redesigned to pitch water away from the wetland and into an infiltration trench. The commission's concern about excess snow ending up flooding the wetland would be eased by installation of a fence along the drive.
Third, March provided a step-by-step construction sequence that would be included in the plan. This would help to prevent undue siltation resulting from the movement of so much soil.
Finally a lot line that was originally shown as extending over the actual boundary was pulled back.
After studying the revised specifications intently, commissioners asked the Baliestieros about their ultimate plan for a flat area between the house and the back lot line. Commissioner John Lee asked directly, "Is there an intention for it to become lawn?" When the couple gave a positive reply, commissioners indicated that strict conditions will be placed on this matter in any final permit order.
Lee thanked March for "coming back with a very cooperative attitude." The public hearing was closed with the promise of a final determination and conditioning at the next meeting. However, Chair Tricia Smith made it clear that disposition of the Notice of Intent would be kept strictly separate from the issue of enforcement. Although construction could probably be allowed to proceed, she indicated that the seriousness of the original violation of the Wetland Protection Act made a penalty action nearly inevitable.
The board returned briefly to the matter of possible enforcement actions just before adjourning for the evening. Indications were that civil penalties were contemplated, but specifics were left for determination at the November 6 meeting.
© 2003 The