The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 10, 2005


ConsCom wants more details on buffer zone pathway

Chances for the Bike/Pedestrian Safety Committee to escape the need to file a full-scale Notice of Intent (NOI) to build did not look promising at the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) May 26 meeting. Pedestrian Committee members Deb Belanger and Jack Troast presented a less detailed, less time-consuming Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) to govern construction of the second of five pathways destined to radiate from the town center. The Bedford spoke was completed last summer, and East Street is next. Unfortunately, that route lies almost entirely within the 100-foot buffer zone of wetlands.

The proposal as filed was admittedly incomplete, because no decision had been made as to whether to construct the walkway on one or both sides of the road, and the applicants were seeking ConsCom input. Also, although the committee would prefer to keep all construction within the town's right of way, this would not be possible in all segments and easement negotiations with seven abutters are still underway.

More important from the Commission's point of view was the fact that the maps used were based on the Wetland/Flood Hazard District maps drawn up from aerial photos in 1976 and last revised in 1986. Pointing out that the wetland itself came right up to the road in one place, Commissioner Tricia Smith said the Committee requires far more detail than what had been supplied.

Sensing that the Commission was leaning toward requiring submission of an NOI, Belanger took the offensive and declared, "We want to be sure the same standards apply to us that apply to the Trails Committee...Does that Committee have to supply detailed construction plans?" Smith replied that Trails Committee projects are different in that they involve laying boardwalks on existing, but degraded, wetland trails, while pathway projects require digging and filling in close quarters with heavy equipment. Commissioner John Lee added that even the Department of Public Works has to flag their work areas to indicate accurate wetland boundaries.

As acting chair for the evening, Smith asked her colleagues for an informal answer to the question, "Does this project require an NOI?" She, Brownrigg and Lee answered "Yes."

A suggestion was made that the Commission do a site walk and continue the public hearing to June 9.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito