Friday, March 21, 2008
ConsCom manages open space, protects wetlands
• Trail linkages. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard reported that the Trails Committee is developing trails along West Street in the open space parcels of land owned by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation. The trails could conceivably link with hundreds of acres of conservation land in Acton. Willard indicated that a landlocked one-acre parcel of town-owned land (Map 5 parcel 46 ) provides a key link between two major segments of a proposed trail. The parcel, which provides a scenic vista, is now unprotected. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) acknowledged the importance of the parcel for conservation and passive recreation and voted to request that the Board of Selectmen transfer care and custody of the parcel to the ConsCom.
• Davis Corridor. The Commission also announced it will hold a public hearing on a management plan for the Davis Corridor conservation land during its April 24 meeting. The plan was prepared by the Commission’s Land Stewardship Committee. Changes suggested by The Trustees of Reservations, which holds the conservation restriction on the land, have been incorporated.
• Foss Farm.The Commission granted a permit to the North Bridge Pony Club to use Foss Farm Conservation Land for a May 4 riding event and spring lesson series.
• 268 Fiske Street. A public hearing was opened regarding John Ballantine’s request for a permit to construct a single family house and garage. Engineer George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary presented the plan. About four acres of the ten-acre parcel containing the Ballantines’ house would be split off for the second house. Two overlapping conservation restrictions on the property include building envelopes for the existing and proposed houses. The proposed house would be on a peninsula of land extending into the reservoir pond for the Carlisle Cranberry Bog. The tip of the peninsula is town conservation land. The building envelope also lies over the Tenneco Gas pipeline.
A common driveway would extend about 300 feet from Fiske Street, then split, with the driveway for the new house running parallel to the existing drive and along the edge of wetland for about 250 feet then continuing on to the new house. Commissioner Tricia Smith focused on the amount of buffer zone alteration that would be required and the proximity to the wetland saying: “I have real problems with the driveway.” Administrator Sylvia Willard indicated the wetlands had been flagged nearly three years ago and the boundaries also varied in some areas from those at the time the original house was built in the mid ’90s; the ConsCom asked Dimakarakos to have the boundaries reflagged.
A number of Fiske Street neighbors and abutters expressed concerns about the proposed mounded leaching field, to be located immediately adjacent to the road. Dimakarakos had indicated that leachate from the septic tank would be pumped approximately 600 feet to the leaching field. The Commission planned to visit the site and continued the hearing to March 27 at 9 p.m.
Willard later indicated by phone that the Ballantines also propose to build a boardwalk along an easement on the edge of their property to provide public access from Fiske Street to the bog trail. Plans include a canoe launch area at the end.
• 581 River Road. At a continuation of the public hearing regarding construction of a swimming pool, Dimakarakos submitted a revised plan adding a pool backwash drain located outside the wetland buffer zone. The Commission voted to issue a permit to David Valchuis.
• 217 Heald Road. The ConsCom signed an Enforcement Order for the Metcalf property at 217 Heald Road. The order requires restoration of damage to about 3,700 square feet of wetlands where large trees had been cut illegally. (See “Shorts from the Conservation Commission, January 24,” Mosquito, February 1).
• 500 West Street. An emergency certificate for replacement of a cracked septic tank was finalized.
• Tickets for violations? Willard summarized her latest research on the use of tickets for wetlands violations as authorized under the town’s Non-Criminal Disposition bylaw. She showed several sample tickets, and indicated that Marlborough has been issuing about a dozen annually for at least 15 years and has been mailing them with a letter to the violator. The program has been very successful. Only one case has ever gone to court and there the judge supported the commission. ∆
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