Friday, May 27, 2005
Development in Carlisle: housing abuts wetlands and buffer zones
Concord Road 40B site: Wetlands under study
The Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) has approved dispatch of a letter confirming that two of four "ponding areas" within the boundaries of the proposed Habitech 40B Development will almost certainly qualify for certification as vernal pools. The letter was drafted in reply to a communication from Attorney Kenneth Kimmel, who represents approximately 15 abutters and neighbors of the Concord Street project. The lawyer reminded commissioners that they had requested professional evaluation of the pools in their Order of Resource Delineation (ORAD) issued to the applicant in December of 2004.
At the May 12 meeting, Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard reported that following receipt of Kimmel's letter she had talked to Habitech head Bruce Wheeler, who told her he had employed David Crossman of B & C Associates to make a formal evaluation but would welcome a parallel exploration by the commission. Subsequently, she and commissioner Tom Brownrigg found and photographed yellow spotted salamander egg masses and wood frog tadpoles in two of the shallow pools described in the ORAD. Although the tiny creatures are considered "obligate" species, they are not classified as "rare" and thus, while their habitats are protected from direct disturbance, they do not possess a 100-foot buffer zone. Crossman's more extensive professional findings are awaited with interest.
Carleton Road: Is babbling brook a river?
Speculation about another water resource surfaced with the evening's first Notice of Intent to build. Engineer Bill Murphy, representing applicant Michael Leonard, had drawn up plans for relocation of an interceptor trench (drain) and installation of a new septic system with grading in the 200-foot "riverfront area" of a brook that runs through the Carleton Road property. This designation interested Commissioner Tricia Smith who noted that part of the same brook was not shown as "perennial" on the U.S. Geological Survey maps, and she wondered why he had upgraded its status to "riverfront"in his plan. He said it appeared to be perennial to him, and he was not taking any chances.
Leonard confirmed that the brook flows year-round, and Willard, using the wetland scientists' guidelines, noted that it has "well-defined banks and is a burbling brook with sinuosity." Therefore, it may well qualify as having a legal riverfront area. All this evidence led Smith to point out that the same brook had been identified as intermittent in a previous filing, and in the interests of consistency, she felt its status should be revisited before it comes up in a situation wherein the ability to build or not build might be involved.
Because septic system grading is not prohibited in an outer riverfront area, the Leonard filing could proceed in either case. However, the application was continued to May 26 to allow for a decision as to the location of the interceptor trench and receipt of a DEP file number.
Stearns Street: House addition near buffer zone
The final agenda item was an NOI filed by Jean Sifantus of Stearns Street and continued from an April public hearing. At that session the commission had requested an approval letter from the Building Inspector for use of sonotube instead of a regular foundation under a proposed addition to the house. However, the applicant's contractor Ed McSweeney convinced him that a concrete foundation would be structurally sounder and would cause less disturbance in the 100-foot wetland buffer zone. The commissioners agreed.
Fearing that the septic tank might have to be moved, McSweeney asked for a second continuation to allow him to talk to the Board of Health before finalizing the documentation. Smith cautioned him to allow sufficient space for equipment to dig the foundation hole and then stockpile it outside the buffer zone.
The commission was pleased when Jill Turnbull, who also lives at the home, introduced her landscaping plan with a declaration that she did not want more lawn but would keep existing ferns and add some hostas.The hearing was continued to May 26 with assurances that the commissioners saw no problem in the specifications, as long as the Board of Health did not require changes.
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