Friday, December 9, 2005
ConsCom approves three projects
The Conservation Commission approved three Requests for Determination of Applicability (RDAs), or in laymen's terms, simplified applications, at their December 1 meeting. When successful, these abbreviated procedures confirm that the work described either does not fall within the commission's jurisdiction or that it will not have significant impact on a nearby wetland.
44 Bedford Road
A filing by Bedford Road residents Kenneth and Martha Bedrosian called for removal of trees, regrading and resurfacing of a driveway and further grading of an area designated for "construction in the future." As Mrs. Bedrosian described the problem, constant coming and going in their already sloping driveway had resulted in excessive drainage from the street into an increasingly rutted and muddy access area. They were proposing to bring the driveway and an existing turnaround at the end up to street level, topping it off with crushed stone. Since the couple was hoping eventually to build a barn-like garage in an abutting area, they proposed to extend the grading into that space.
Recalling that the Bedrosians had filed a previous Notice of Intent (NOI) for work in the same general location, Commissioner Tricia Smith inquired as to whether a Certificate of Compliance had ever been filed on that work. The reply being in the negative, Commissioner Kelly Stringham asked if the previous filing had included conditions designed to protect the abutting wetland. That answer being affirmative, commissioners became increasingly uneasy.
Smith pointed out that removing trees would only exacerbate the drainage problem. Chairman Tom Schultz commented that extending the area of disturbance to prepare for future construction in a sensitive area would require more complete documentation to permit the commission to condition the activity. In short, he could not support issuance of an RDA; a full fledged NOI would be required.
When Bedrosian again emphasized the need to raise the level of the driveway before winter rain, snow and ice made it almost unusable, Commissioner Diane Troppoli suggested that handling the driveway alone might be acceptable, but expanding the scope to include grading for a garage was not.
Searching for a compromise, Smith drew up a simple plan that involved crushed stone topping with a "speed bump" to deflect runoff from the road. The commission could then okay a revised RDA, and the applicants could return in the spring to talk about a more extensive undertaking. There was a unanimous vote to issue a negative determination, which will allow the applicants to bring in crushed stone and construct a "compacted gravel berm" in the middle of the driveway sufficient to stop drainage. Removal of one dead tree that constitutes a threat to wiring and the house itself was included.
1380 Curve Street
Stamski and McNary engineer George Dimakarakos presented an RDA for applicant Peter Alpers of Curve Street, who was seeking approval for replacement of a failed septic system with associated grading within the 100-foot buffer zone of a wetland. The old system would be removed completely to make room for a larger new facility.
Following a question from Commissioner John Lee as to why the same location was being used, Dimakarakos convinced the commission that it was, by far, the most logical site. The only problem was the status of a wetland on the opposite, or eastern, side of the street, the exact borders of which were not known. However, all agreed that the wetland appeared to be far enough away to pose no serious impediment.
The desired negative determination was issued, subject to two controlling findings. First, there was to be no additional clearing beyond that related to installation of the septic system, and there was no implied acceptance of the Bordering Vegetative Wetland boundaries shown on the eastern side of the street.
681 South Street
The third RDA, filed by Nancy Fohl of South Street, requested permission to clear invasive brush and vines, and remove three trees within the 100-foot buffer zone of a Bordering Vegetative Wetland. Tim Fohl and arborist John Bakewell convinced the commissioners that the proposed cleanup would be an overall benefit to the choked environment, and a negative determination was granted.
© 2005 The