Friday, June 20, 2008
Beaver tale enlivens ConsCom hearings
Carlisle’s busiest home builders have caused a new disturbance, this time bringing a Conservation Commission (ConsCom) Enforcement Order to a Russell Street homeowner. The story began when ConsCom Administrator Sylvia Willard picked up a telephone message from a neighborhood resident who reported hearing the sound of heavy tree-cutting coming from the nearby woods.
A check of the site by Willard revealed a number of large trees lying in a flooded section of a 35-acre wooded area owned by Edward and Dana Talbot. Informed of an obvious violation of the Wetland Protection Act, the commissioners authorized dispatch of an Enforcement Order calling on the landowner to appear at the commission’s June 11 meeting.
At his hearing Talbot admitted guilt, but related a sequence of events he believed should exonerate him. He said he had owned the land for 18 years, that he had placed it under Article 61 of the state’s General Laws. That statute allows for real estate tax reductions on undeveloped forest land under specified conditions, which he stated he had followed assiduously. He said further that, over the past four years, he had lost some 85 feet of land as a result of beaver dam activity. The flood had already killed 25 valuable adult pine trees, some of which were within 100 feet of his $300,000 barn.
Last month, after hearing a prediction of a heavy storm, he had called an arborist to fell the dead trees closest to that structure. He insisted he was totally unaware of any law requiring him to obtain a permit from the local commission and did not feel that he should be punished for what had been a safety measure.
Chair Peter Burn responded that he believed Talbot to be sincere. However, he also made clear that this belief did not change the awkward fact that the commission had no foolproof way of distinguishing between violators who were truly unaware of the law and those who had willfully ignored it. Thus, the commission had no alternative to issuing the order. However, because Willard had since informed the commission that the trees in question were indeed dead before they were cut down and that she was convinced that if Talbot sought a permit, it would have been granted, the commissioners were inclined to be lenient. Under those circumstances, they were willing to overlook his misstep and allow him to stack the loose debris and request a burning permit from the Fire Department.
To Talbot’s final inquiry about what he should do with the other trees adrift in the growing pond, he was told to let them fall and remain where they dropped. Should the situation later become one that he considered an added threat to his property, or should he wish to take measures against the industrious rodents, he could come to the commission for permission to try (and the word “try” was emphasized) to handle the situation.
62 Hart Farm Road
Stamski and McNary engineer Jonathon Bollen presented a plan for construction of a patio and associated landscaping within the 100-foot Buffer Zone of a Bordering Vegetated Wetland (BVW). The land had been graded, topsoil removed and unsightly mulch trucked in under an Order of Conditions issued to the former owners. The recent purchaser, Thomas Brigiotta, unaware that the order had not been properly executed at the time of construction, now wanted to correct the unattractive result, add a patio and landscape the area.
Describing the property as “an interesting site,” Willard recommended that the commission schedule a site visit prior to the June 26 meeting. The inspection was set for 6:30 p.m., June 18, and the hearing continued to June 26 at 8 p.m.
235 Autumn Lane
Amanda and A. Francis Finizio filed a Notice of Intent to construct an addition to their home. Engineer Bollen presented the construction plans and confirmed that the abutting wetlands had been delineated by Wetland Scientist David Crossman. He explained the need to relocate the septic system tank to make room for the addition, a move that would require Board of Health (BOH) approval.
Responding satisfactorily to commission questions regarding the access route and stockpiling of materials, Bollen quickly agreed to include those specifications in the plan of record. The absence of both a BOH permit and a state Department of Environmental Protection number forced continuation of the hearing to 9 p.m., June 26.
268 Fiske Street
The posted continuation of the hearing on a John Ballantine Notice of Intent for home construction, utilities and driveway alterations was again continued, at the applicant’s request. ∆
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