Friday, December 7, 2007
ConsCom halts landscaping near wetlands
Hart Farm Road homeowner, Thomas Brigiotta, attended the Conservation Commission's November 29 meeting to answer an Enforcement Order for work that had been done while the family was away. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard had been alerted to the possible violation of the Wetland Protection Act by a nearby homeowner who had called to express concern about grading and tree-cutting in an area that appeared to be within the 100-foot buffer zone of a Bordering Vegetated Wetland.
A quick trip to the area raised Willard's suspicions further, and she called a halt to ongoing work and returned to the office to check ten-year-old photographs and wetland delineation charts of the area. She could not ascertain from the old documents where the 100-foot buffer zone ended, or the exact location of a property line that appeared to have been crossed, because the house had not been built where the original plan had located it. Also, it seemed likely that the wetland itself had changed in the interim.
As the meeting was turned over to Brigiotta, Willard said she had found the family to be "extremely cooperative." Brigiotta admitted he knew that wetlands are protected, but had not known about the 100-foot buffer zone. He further asserted that the contractor had gone beyond the boundary of work that had been indicated and had not been authorized to scrape around the tree roots, or spread woodchips in the area.
Survey, remediation needed
After Chairman Peter Burn expressed the belief that Brigiotta's action was "an innocent mistake," Commissioner Tom Schultz added, "Nevertheless we need to get you on a righteous path again." To do that, the homeowner would need to get the wetlands correctly flagged and have the questionable property line surveyed. Only then could a specific remediation plan be drawn up.
Burn elaborated, telling Brigiotta that he would need to "button up the yard for winter," to keep it from becoming a sea of mud. Two suggested approaches called for laying straw on the dug-up surfaces, or even covering them with a truckload of leaves. If possible, the ConsCom felt he should get the contractor to remove the wood chips, which would otherwise kill future vegetation, and bring back the good soil that he had taken out. Since nothing else could be done to correct the situation permanently until spring, the homeowner would have plenty of time to craft a Notice of Intent, detailing a final remediation plan.
© 2007 The