Friday, September 2, 2005
The ConsCom alphabet soup: CRs, NOIs, RDAs and ANRAD/ORADs
The Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) completed a marathon agenda on August 18, including ten public hearings, which provided examples of all the most common regulatory procedures that the state Wetland Protection Act (WPA) requires them to consider, namely, an alphabet soup of CRs, NOIs, RDAs and ANRAD/ORADs. Now to define and de-mystify them using examples from the August meeting:
Conservation Restriction (CR)
The CR is a legal document bestowed by a landowner, either in perpetuity or for a specified number of years, to retain land or water areas in scenic, agricultural or forest use and to prohibit or limit construction or other stated activities therein.
• John Ballantine and Ann Chase Ballantine, Fiske Street, are proposing to increase the area and otherwise amend a CR previously granted to the town. The remodeled CR would include a building envelope for a second and smaller log house, grant a trail easement to the Cranberry Bog and provide a boardwalk to facilitate public access to the water and to the existing town trail network. Since the state requires proof that any change in an existing CR must either equal or increase public benefit, the donors were seeking ConsCon corroboration that such would be the case. The Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee had already approved the change and the Commission voted to write a letter to the same effect.
Notice of Intent (NOI)
The NOI is a mandatory filing when an applicant is proposing work that will remove, fill, dredge or alter an area subject to Commission jurisdiction, such as wetland, stream, ponds etc., or if such resource areas will be similarly affected by work within the 100-foot buffer zone surrounding them. Wetland flagging, maps and engineering specifications are required.
• David Chaffin, East Street, completed an ex post facto NOI that called for removal of purple loosestrife and subsequent wetland landscaping within a Bordering Vegetated Wetland (BVW) and the buffer zone surrounding it. Following visits to the site, evidence that pampas grass and Joe Pye Weed were replacing the invasive loosestrife, and submission of a maintenance plan, Chaffin's proposal was accepted. Because loosestrife has a habit of returning, Chaffin was granted "continuing conditioning" that would allow him to take any and all future activities "consistent with the approved maintenance plan."
• Lemonias Development, Koning Farm Road, submitted a new NOI after an original plan had been rejected by the Commission for lack of sufficient information. A subsequent ruling by the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) had concurred with the Commission's findings and issued an order sending the matter back to the local board. In the revised filing, the size of the house was reduced, the wooded barrier between a cleared backyard and the wetland was increased from 35 to 50 feet in depth, and grading toward the wetland was replaced with a retaining wall and steps. Chair Tom Schultz stated, "This is a nice plan. Thank you for the improvements." However, final approval could not be given, because Senior Wetland Biologist David Crossman was not present to answer questions, and the hearing was continued to September 8 at 8:30 p.m.
• Valeria Pinci, Rutland Street, received approval for a plan to construct a carport and an in-ground swimming pool with associated grading on a tight lot, well within the 100-foot buffer zone of a BVW. During three continuations of the original public hearing, the Commission had requested that a wetland biologist confirm and extend existing flagging, and this had been done. Commission doubts about locating a proposed garage within a few feet of the wetland finally led to substitution of the carport and use of a crushed stone drip edge for runoff from the roof.
• Ross Peterson, Westford Street, first submitted a plan for construction of a single family home in a field adjacent to an existing house at the July 14 meeting. Difficulties included the need for a large septic system in an area that did not perc well and a lot with considerable slope toward the resource area. The revised plan was accepted at the August meeting, when an area for stockpiling soil was shown outside the wetland buffer zone and Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard's recommendation for double haybales around the well was included.
• Scott Simpson, Judy Farm Road, filed for permission to pave an existing wetland crossing that serves several houses. The hearing was almost immediately continued to September 8 pending relevant comments from the DEP.
Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA)
The RDA is a filing that asks the Commission to determine whether or not proposed work in a resource area or its buffer zone will or will not harm or alter said resource. A "positive determination" means that the proposed work falls within the Commission's jurisdiction, and the applicant will be required to file an NOI. A "negative determination" means that the project can proceed without further filing, but conditions may be imposed
• The Town of Carlisle, represented by Public Works Superintendent Gary Davis, sought and received a negative determination for replacement of a deteriorating metal culvert on Concord Street. The project will require a total shutdown of the road for one or two days.
• Anil K. and Abha Singhal, Kimball Road, presented a plan for removal of 15 trees in the buffer zone of a BVW, the closest subject tree being 54 feet from the wetland. They proposed to grind down the stumps and let the area regenerate naturally. Following receipt of a requested vegetative management plan, the Commission issued a negative determination.
• Tom Fitzpatrick, Bedford Road, requested permission to install a gas utility line to an existing family home studio. The proposal included use of haybales and a siltation barrier around a small pond and no stockpiling of soil within said barrier The decision was negative.
• Joey and Alexander Edsall, West Street, were granted a negative determination permitting removal of five trees close to an existing house and planting of 14 balsam and Norway spruce trees in an area 36 to 100 feet from a BVW. Conditions called for use of a crane to pull the trees and no piling of slash in the wetland.
Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation (ANRAD) /Order of Resource Area Delineation (ORAD)
The ANRAD is a preliminary filing that seeks ConsCom approval of the applicant's delineation and flagging of wetland resource areas and the mapped boundaries of their buffer zones. If accepted, it results in an Order of Resource Area Delineation (ORAD).
• Richard Buck, Page Brook Road, Parcel 56: Stamski and McNary engineer Tim McGivern presented an ANRAD that featured both wetland and riverfront resource areas. A re-flagging of existing boundaries was performed by Senior Wetland Biologist David Crossman, with a subsequent peer review by Dr. John Rockwood. The latter was present to comment and stated, "The resource areas as depicted are correct, and the boundaries are accurate, but only for the lot itself and not for abutting properties." The Commission voted to accept the delineation and issued an ORAD, which must be filed with the Registry of Deeds.
© 2005 The