Friday, October 7, 2005
Shorts from the Conservation Commission, September 22
• Pony Club ring at Foss Farm. Pony Club members Louise Hara, Lisa Brem and Bess Platt requested permission to upgrade a secondary riding ring that has been used heavily for jumping and dressage. Hara explained that the 25-by-50-foot area across from the community gardens has become rutted and unstable over time. The area needs to be leveled and topped with a solid surface. Since the club just received an offer of free time and the machinery needed to do the job, they are anxious to take full and immediate advantage. Foss Farm gatekeeper Bob Dennison has okayed the slight incursion on his sled dog run. After assurances that the bulldozer to be used is appropriate to the job and the operator is bonded, the Commission voted unanimously to approve the project.
• 1 River Road. ConsCom members quizzed a Russ Wilson, Inc. engineer on plans filed by owner H. Larue Renfroe for installation of a well, septic system and paved parking area on a two-lot parcel with double zoning. Commissioners Tricia Smith and Peter Burn were concerned about drainage from an enlarged and repaved parking space, while Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard questioned the accuracy of the wetland delineation. The engineer agreed to give more detailed specifications for drainage and Willard will check the wetland boundaries with senior wetland biologist David Crossman. Abutter Dana Booth expressed dismay about the legality of a Renfroe request to the Zoning Board of Appeals to grant an easement for moving portions of the enlarged septic system from the commercially-zoned lot to the residential one. He was informed that this matter was not within the Commission's jurisdiction, and the hearing was continued to October 13 at 8:45 p.m.
• Cross Street development. Developer William Costello's preliminary filing for construction of two common driveways within his 15-unit subdivision was again continued to await pending Planning Board decisions. However, commissioners posed a number of questions that had arisen following two site walks. Members were worried about placement and future maintenance of detention basins, particularly one that is a mere seven or eight feet from a wetland. Costello explained that upkeep will be the responsibility of the Homeowners' Association, and the agreement will say that the facilities should be checked every three years. Commissioners stressed that those actions should be made mandatory. Willard also noted that the boundaries of the several open space easements should be clearly indicated on the plans, so that both future lot owners and town officials could recognize them. Further discussion of wetland issues was postponed pending final Planning Board approval.
• Redesign of intersection. Department of Public Works Superintendent Gary Davis filed a Request for Determination of Applicability (RDA) for redesign of the intersection of West and South Streets to improve the sight lines. The existing island will come out and a four-foot shoulder will be built over a retaining wall. Some work will come within 30 feet of a buffer zone, but there will be no excavation or filling involved. The Commission voted a Negative Determination, eliminating the need for further paperwork.
• Carlisle Pines Drive. Jerry Shea and Monica Granfield also received a negative determination on an RDA for expansion of an existing septic system. None of the system itself fell within the buffer zone of a nearby wetland, but a truck would have to drive over a portion of it to accomplish its work. No further filing was considered necessary.
• Invasive plants. Certified arborist and Rutland Street resident John Bakewell, concerned that there seemed to be scant awareness of the threats posed by non-indigenous and invasive plants, visited the September 22 Conservation Commission (ConsCom) meeting to "prod the ConsCom" to undertake a project along the lines of the Pesticide Awareness Campaign. Noting that there will be an official state ban on certain invasives starting January 1, he felt that ConsCom should publicize the problem, make available lists of the potentially harmful trees and plants, and perhaps schedule a summer bio-diversity walk to familiarize homeowners with the culprits. The commission invited Bakewell to lead a discussion of the topic at one of the monthly Conservation Coffees.
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