Friday, November 30, 2007
Historical Commission approves pathways on Concord and Lowell Streets
Compromise was in the air when Deb Belanger, Jack Troast and John Bakewell of the Pedestrian and Bike Safety Advisory Committee (Pathways Committee) once again came to the Historical Commission to resolve pathways issues on Concord and Lowell Streets. At a
Acknowledging that the pathways plan currently under discussion by several town boards represented an intrusion on Sylvia Sillers's home at 49 Concord Street, the Pathways Committee proposed to place sloped granite curbing beginning three feet north of the catch basin at the intersection of Concord and Church Streets to approximately ten feet south of utility pole #5. The curb may be extended southward for an additional ten feet in order to provide a gradual transition to a grassy verge. The curb will be placed 12 feet from the center line of the road; the pathway will be immediately adjacent to the curb for its full distance, and will be four feet wide to the southern boundary of 49 Concord Street.
Belanger said that the committee considers placement of the pathway behind utility pole #5 the safest available approach, but it will not oppose roadside placement. It requests that the pole be moved to provide an additional 12 inches from the road's center line, thus providing more safety to the roadside siting.
As recommended by the Historical Commission, the Pathways Committee agreed that a crabapple tree and three pine trees on the Sillers property will not be trimmed or removed to accommodate the pathway.
Lowell Street resolution
Moving on to Lowell Street, Belanger and her committee proposed that sloped granite curbing
The pathway will be located immediately adjacent to the curb for the full distance of the curb and will extend behind utility poles #6, 7, 8 and 9. At the home of John and Annette Lee, 65 Lowell Street, the pathway will be located to achieve minimum impact on granite posts and walnut trees. In collaboration with the Lees, pathway installation may include either creation of a shallow retaining wall or berm at utility pole #6 to minimize slope and grade changes or a feathering of the entire grade change over the area between the pathway and the existing picket fence. Consideration will be given to reducing the pathway from 48" in width to 42" where it passes utility pole #6. The committee further proposed that excavation of the pathway in the area of the walnut trees will be performed at eight inches rather than the specified 12 inches and that roots will be severed rather than ripped during excavation.
During discussion, property owners Sillers, the Lees and Tom and Lee Lockwood voiced a few lingering concerns. They were assured that the committee would work closely with them during construction to protect their properties in accordance with the pathways plan.
To the relief of all present, the Historical Commission approved the committee's plans, adding a provision that the Commission will review the staked layout of the pathways before construction begins to ensure conformity with the approved guidelines. Smiles broke out as all welcomed agreement on an often-contentious, very lengthy approval process. At the November 20 meeting of the Historical Commission, the same parties, plus Selectman Doug Stevenson, grappled with a myriad of details that were ultimately resolved a week later.
Sillers house "important piece of architecture"
The Historical Commission's goals for the Sillers house were summarized at that meeting by member Geoffrey Freeman. Calling the house "a very important piece of architecture in this town," he continued, "We're charged with aesthetics and stewardship of the Historic District. We want the pathway as far from the [Sillers] house as possible."
Asked about the timing of pathways construction, Belanger said she expects asphalt to be put down in April or May. She also said that the Department of Public Works plans to hire civil engineers to develop a plan for the intersection of Church and Concord Streets, which is not part of the pathways project.
© 2007 The