Friday, February 1, 2008
Shorts from the Conservation Commission, January 24
· Agricultural licenses. The Conservation Commission reviewed a draft agricultural license agreement for use with farmers growing crops on land under Commission control. Licenses are issued for a three-year period and all are up for renewal this year. The Commission has agreements for over half a dozen parcels. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard asked the Commission whether a related Land Use Planning Form, which includes documenting the use of pesticides and herbicides, should be required for parcels where corn is grown, as it is for the Cranberry Bog. This was recommended by the Land Stewardship Committee (a subcommittee of the Commission). The license and form will be further discussed at future meetings.
· 217 Heald Road. Homeowner Bruce Metcalf, with engineer George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary, came before the board regarding a Request for Determination for the construction of a new septic system. Some of the work is within the 100-foot buffer zone of a bordering vegetated wetland. Dimakarakos indicated that they will incorporate changes to the original plan proposed by the Board of Health. In response to concerns expressed by the Commission the plan will be revised to extend the line of hay bales (to control soil erosion from the steeply sloped work area) and to indicate where soil will be stockpiled during construction.
Willard reported that during the site visit she observed that a large area of wetland had been cleared on the property, and that this had occurred without notifying the Commission. Metcalf indicated that the cutting had been done to prevent the trees from falling on his house and that he was unaware of the need to come to the board. Chair Peter Burn stated: "Your arborist did know and should have asked you if you had the appropriate permits to do this work." Everyone acknowledged the need for a botanist to evaluate the area and determine whether and what type remediation is needed to protect the values of the wetland. The public hearing was continued to February 14 at 9 p.m.
· Cross Street. A public hearing was opened for a Notice of Intent for a new house and 800 to 900-foot driveway on the west side of Cross Street (Map 7, Parcel 21, Lot 4A-1). Dimakarakos, who attended with applicant Mollie MacCormack, indicated there are about 100 square feet of proposed wetland fill and associated replication, and also that the plan is being revised to include an in-law apartment. Dimakarakos observed: "The house is just about the only thing outside the buffer zone." Accordingly, discussion centered on protecting the wetlands that surround the project on three sides from damage during and after construction — including the appropriate use of retaining walls.
Willard pointed out that the Commission's approval of the wetland boundary expired a year and a half ago so the flagged line must be re-evaluated. She also reported that an extensive area of the buffer zone dominated by invasive multiflora rose and oriental bittersweet had been cleared without review by the Commission. A botanist will be asked to advise how to remediate any damage to the wetland, control the invasive plants, and encourage native vegetation. For the preceding reasons, and because no file number has yet been issued by DEP, the hearing was continued to February 14 at 8:15 p.m.
· Hanover Hill. The public hearing continued on a Notice of Intent for construction of a roadway and three common driveways for a 35-lot subdivision off Westford Street. The application includes associated grading and a drainage system within 100 feet of a bordering vegetated wetland. Dimakarakos appeared on behalf of the applicant. The Commission will review the wetland boundary in the southeastern portion of the property that had not been part of the project at the time of the initial boundary approval. The ConsCom discussed how to protect the potential vernal pool near the end of proposed Hanover Street. Options to allow salamanders to freely move include "critter culverts." A specialist will be asked to make recommendations.
© 2008 The