Friday, July 21, 2006
Berry Corner Lane still out of compliance ConsCom waits for court action on 10-year dispute
The Conservation Commission is holding its fire on an enforcement order issued to five owners of privately-held Berry Corner Lane. The commission's action on June 22 had stemmed from a failure on the part of one owner, Sami Nuwayser, to file a Notice of Intent (NOI) with the commission before hiring the Nashoba Paving Company to make repairs to the scenic dirt road. Since the lane is located in a 100-foot wetland buffer zone, the unapproved work was in clear violation of the Wetland Protection Act.
Although the five joint owners were ordered to file an ex post facto NOI by July 10, a majority of the legally responsible parties were unable to comply, because co-owners, David and Michael Valchuis (Vale], refused to allow Stamski and McNary employees to enter their property to flag the wetland boundaries.
Abutter and non-liable lot owner Keith Therrien, who has been working with his neighbors to help solve the problem, attended ConsCom's July 13 meeting to fill the commission in on progress to date. He reported that all parties except the Valchuises had acted to comply with the order and had drawn up a maintenance plan, but they were unable to move forward, because of the brothers' refusal to cooperate. Chairman Roy Watson agreed it was a complex situation but expressed frustration that the refusal of one owner could tie the commission's hands. However, Therrien offered hope that adjudication of a ten-year legal tangle might provide some answers in a few days.
Paving and maintenance dispute
Referring to a bit of history Therrien said that in 2001, after Valchuis had hired Nashoba Paving to resurface the lane without the agreement of the other owners, but apparently with a state Department of Public Works okay, the brothers had sued the other parties to force them to sign a maintenance agreement and share the cost of repairs. That suit has since been combined with a Valchuis suit against the Carlisle Planning Board, because of that body's refusal to give them an Approval Not Required status for development of their double lot.
While the case was inching through the Land Court, Nuwayser, who had purchased one of the houses from Richard and Judy Wells, was preparing to sell it and apparently decided the pot-holed lane was a barrier to that sale. So he hired Nashoba Paving to improve the condition of the lane without consulting his neighbors or seeking ConsCom approval.
Land Court hearing July 19
Therrien was able to inform the commissioners that the combined suits were scheduled for a pre-trial hearing in the state Land Court in Boston on July 19, at which time the Valchuis brothers' legal status on the lane might become clearer and the town boards, along with the present Berry Corner Lane owners, three former owners and one estate may be able to move forward. Hoping for the best , ConsCom extended its deadline on the NOI and scheduled a status report for its second meeting in September.
After 10 years, something positive
In a later telephone call Therrien told the Mosquito that after ten years of jockeying and bitterness "positive things are happening. We are not against a sixth house on the lane. We are just looking for a workable, cooperative solution."
© 2006 The