Friday, November 26, 2004
Concord Street development clears one ConsCom hurdle
A lot was at stake for many abutters and the developer's representatives attending a continued Conservation Commission hearing on an Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD) for a proposed 22-acre development off Concord Street on November 18. The stakes hinged on the amount of land that would be available for development, and therefore outside of ConsCom jurisdiction, a question that ultimately reduced to whether a stream flowing through the property was a perennial or intermittent body of water.
At a prior ConsCom meeting on October 28 (Mosquito, 11/12/04,) chair Roy Watson announced that ConsCom was asking for a peer review of the wetland delineation done by wetland consultant David Crossman for the engineering firm Stamski and McNary, whose client is Bruce Wheeler, the developer of Buttrick Woods and potential developer of the 22-acre tract off Concord Street.
Crossman had found the stream intermittent. If the peer review found the stream perennial, the land would come under the provisions of the Rivers Act and require a 200-foot buffer zone; if the stream is considered intermittent, the resource area would require the usual 100-foot wetland buffer zone. Ecotech wetland delineation consultant John Rockwood was named by ConsCom to review Crossman's findings (at Wheeler's expense), and subsequently, Rockwood, Crossman, and ConsCom Administrator Sylvia Willard walked the property.
Rockwood's finding was essentially the same as Crossmans, that is, the stream is intermittent and the property qualifies for the lesser 100-foot buffer zone. Rockwood did identify an additional wetland area and made some changes in the boundary lines, but the critical finding supporting the smaller setback leaving more room for development was clear. Rockwood suggested that ConsCom look at the ponding areas in the spring to determine possible vernal pools.
Abutter Peter Conway, of 515 Concord Street, stated that the stream behind his house does not dry up and should therefore be considered perennial. Rockwood responded that a watershed area of half a square mile is the Rivers Act criterion. The quarter-mile watershed of the Concord Street property, as determined by Rockwood, does not meet that criterion. Commissioner Tricia Smith's motion to close the hearing passed unanimously. ConsCom agreed to sign and discuss the ANRAD application within the requisite 21 days and issue an Order of Resource Area Delineation (ORAD) for the Concord Street property.
Pine Brook Road
Determination of the intermittent or perennial nature of a stream also came up in a notice of intent to build a five-bedroom private home at the end of Pine Brook Road. Matthew Waterman, representing Land Tech Consultants, said the botanist had flagged the stream as a river. The commission agreed that the property, as Waterman described it, had some Board of Health issues, but that ConsCom needed to establish for itself whether the stream on the property was perennial or intermittent before their jurisdictional area could be determined. To this end they scheduled a site walk for November 28 and continued the hearing until December.
© 2004 The