Friday, June 17, 2005
ConsCom insists on NOI for pathway wetland crossing
As seemed inevitable following the Bike and Pedestrian Pathway Committee's May 26 appearance before the Conservation Committee (Mosquito, June 10), their effort to avoid filing a full-scale Notice of Intent (NOI) was unsuccessful. They had presented a simpler, less-costly Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) for the East Street portion of the pathway system that will eventually cover all five main roads that exit the center. The Bedford Road segment from School Street to Kimball's ice cream stand was completed last summer and next in line is the route along East Street to Partridge Lane.
The commissioners had indicated skepticism about the RDA, owing to the lack of up-to-date flagging of nearby wetlands, but had agreed to withhold a final decision pending a site walk.
Still hoping to escape both money and paperwork, committee chair Jack Troast and member Heather Heddon told the May 4 session that they had profited from experience with the Bedford Road project, and the East Street segment would benefit. They also indicated that DPW Superintendent Gary Davis would be responsible for replacement of a culvert that bridges a stream under the road, so the board need not worry about the quality of the construction.
In spite of their expressed sympathy for the committee's desire to save taxpayer money, the commissioners returned to their main concerns, i.e., lack of engineering specifications, absence of up-to-date flagging, and lack of plans for amelioration of the inevitable wetland impacts. Getting down to specifics, Commissioner Tom Schultz noted that the culvert in question crosses swiftly flowing water. His colleague Tom Brownrigg added that its bank is steeply sloped, presenting serious engineering problems. Smith asked, "How is that difficult construction going to be accomplished with minimum damage to the wetland?"
Chair Roy Watson administered the fatal blow with the observation that, "The state standard for granting an RDA [as opposed to an NOI] gives little leeway; it assumes a no-brainer." Then, to assuage the pain, he assured the applicants that they were not alone, that under state regulations Gary Davis had to file an NOI to repair the Maple Street culvert, and even ConsCom will have to submit an application in order to replace a dilapidated culvert on Old Morse Road. On that note the Commission voted to deny their request and require the NOI.
© 2005 The