Friday, July 1, 2005
Shorts from the Conservation Commission, June 25
• Schultz elected chair. There was a changing of the guard at the June 25 Conservation Commission meeting. Tom Schultz was elected chair to replace Roy Watson, who had asked to be relieved while agreeing to stay as on as vice-chair. Tom Brownrigg's resignation was reluctantly accepted after the entreaties of fellow commissioners failed to change his mind. (See story above.)
• The case of the missing stone wall. Earlier in the week Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard noticed that a stone wall along "scenic" Maple Street was missing. This violation of the Scenic Road Bylaw put the matter within the purview of the Planning Board, until Willard spotted the reorganized rocks further along Maple Street, partially tailing off into a wetland. So now the situation was also solidly within the jurisdiction of the commission.
Appearing for his parents, James and Judith Keefe, Jim Keefe of Chelmsford expressed almost as much bewilderment as the commissioners and proved ready to do whatever they required. Schultz explained that the commission's responsibility was to get the rocks out of the wetland, and it was obvious that heavy equipment would be needed to get them out. The only question was where to put them. Commissioner Tricia Smith noted that the answer probably rested with the Planning Board, which would have to decide whether the wall needed to be restored in its original location. If not, a new location would have to be found. Therefore Commissioner John Lee moved that ConsCom wait until that decision is known before writing a final enforcement order. All agreed.
• East Street loosestrife action. Meeting the requirements of a previous enforcement action, David Chaffin of East Street gave a status report on measures taken to stabilize soils along an intermittent stream that had been altered in an effort to eradicate a rapidly spreading plume of invasive loosestrife. Wetland specialist David Crossman had flagged the wetland, the piled-up debris was about to be removed, and the fast-growing seeds for immediate stabilization had arrived onsite. Chaffin's ex-post-facto Notice of Intent (NOI) to perform the work was nearly complete, but he questioned the commission's insistence that it include officially engineered plans. He contended that the area involved was already stable, the board had accepted the work to date, and he did not understand the demand for an added and expensive "engineered survey."
Board members took turns explaining why they could not responsibly approve his restitution proposal without professional documentation. Losing that argument, Chaffin asked permission to cancel the order to broadcast fast-growing grasses; first, because the ground was already stable and second, because he feared they would not completely winterkill and would cause a problem next spring. Commissioner Lee agreed to a site visit to assess the validity of that assertion and report his verdict before a scheduled August 18 continuation of the hearing.
• Rutland Street construction. The first new NOI was submitted by Valerio Pinci of Rutland Street. It called for construction of a garage, in-ground swimming pool, and associated grading within the 100-foot buffer zone of a Bordering Vegetated Wetland. The plans showed a tight lot, with several isolated wetlands, leading the commission to schedule a July 5 site walk with delineation specialist David Crossman, and Pinci agreed to a continuation of the hearing to July 5.
• Maple Street septic upgrade. A second NOI described an upgrade to an existing septic system, on an even tighter Maple Street lot belonging to Greg and Cathy Marcus. After a brief look at the plan, the commissioners accepted the inevitable: there was no other possible location for the system. So, the hearing was closed and the project accepted.
© 2005 The