The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 17, 2006


ConsCom tells homeowner not to build on town land

When two years of intermittent prodding failed to bring remedial action for an encroachment on Town of Carlisle Conservation Land, the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) issued a formal Notice of Violation. Buttrick Lane residents Maria and Kevin Balboni were reminded in a communication dated October 16 that grading, landscaping and construction of a swing set in the protected area violated both the Rules and Regulations for Carlisle, Conservation Land and the terms and conditions of Conservation Restriction (CR) #52. (See map below.) The letter also noted that under General Town Bylaw 1.4.2, the commission has the authority to impose a fine of $50 per day for each violation, for as long as the infringement continues.

Swing set, landscaping and grading under contention

This formal notification brought the homeowner to the commission's October 26 meeting, as demanded in the notice. Informing his listeners that the swing set had been removed on October 21, Balboni asserted that the matter of grading and landscaping was a more complicated issue. He said that the 50-foot-long, three-to-one slope had been established by the builder, who had not added the granite boundary markers until after the family had moved in. After talking with a contractor, it appeared to him that removal of the now-vegetated berm, at a cost of $7,000 to $8,000, might cause increased damage to town property, because heavy equipment would have to enter the town property to do the work.

The Buttrick Woods conservation land is also protected under Conservation Restriction #52. (Map prepared by Hal Shneider)
Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee (CRAC) member Ken Harte suggested that a possible alternative to rearranging the contours might be construction of a sturdy fence to demarcate the boundary for both present and future homeowners. The committee's chairman Dave Kelch recommended that the commissioners revisit the site and assess the best way to accomplish the desired end. Agreeing that the commission did not want to cause more damage while trying to fix it, Chairman Roy Watson endorsed Kelch's approach, and Commissioner John Lee suggested that members of both CRAC and TTOR take part in the evaluation.

Next step - a site visit

While supporting the recommendation for a joint site visit, Commissioner Tricia Smith expressed exasperation with Balboni's original procrastination. Said she, "I'm most disturbed that it [lack of action] has dragged on like this for more than two years It would have been nice to have gotten a response within a two-month period." ConsCom records show that two other Buttrick Woods homeowners, when informed of similar infringements, handled the matter within a two-month period.

CR 52 protects Estabrook Woods buffer lands

The CR was placed on that 14-acre conservation parcel by the Town of Carlisle and is held and monitored by The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR), a statewide private environmental organization. CR 52 includes a group of parcels totalling 67-acres which are protected as Estabrook Woods buffer lands. Harvard University owns the core 672-acres of Estabrook Woods,which lies in both Carlisle and Concord. Harvard's land was protected under a notice of permanent charitable obligation in 1997.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito