Friday, February 16, 2007
Shorts from the Conservation Commission, February 8
• Possible bylaw change. ConsCom Vice Chairman Peter Burn volunteered to explore a possible bylaw change with a representative of the Planning Board. Present Planning Board guidelines do not require that any specified portion of a proposed lot consist of upland territory. This lack has at times resulted in lots being approved that consist almost entirely of wetlands and their buffer zones. The commission would like to see those guidelines redefined to require that a lot include a certain percentage of upland to be considered viable.
• Demolition of Greenough Cottage? Selectman Alan Carpenito dropped by to update the commission on his board's current thinking concerning the future of the disintegrating Greenough cottage and its far healthier antique barn. He said the Board of Selectmen are asking the Community Preservation Committee for $20,000 to demolish the little farmhouse, but will take more time to consider possible future use of the barn. He also revealed that an abutter may be interested in an in-kind lease of the larger structure, possibly to house a few farm animals.
Based on their own previous research, commissioners expressed doubt that $20,000 will be sufficient to complete the demolition phase, but felt that an in-kind lease of the barn and four acres of farmland could gain approval here and at the state level, as long as the barn is used for "agricultural purposes." However, they also noted that any clear change of use would face strong opposition at the state level, because state funding was involved in its acquisition. The Greenough farmhouse, barn, pond and 242 acres of conservation land were purchased by the town in 1973, while eight adjoining acres in Billerica were bought by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation.
© 2007 The