Friday, October 3, 2008
Conservation Commission shorts, September 25
• Geothermal energy. “Replacing fossil fuel one house at a time,” is how system installer Bill Daniels described the project to replace both the oil heat and air conditioning systems at 40 Kibby Place with a single geothermal system. On September 25 the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) considered a Request for Determination of Applicability of the Wetland Protection Act for the project which will be located just under 100 feet from a wetland. Daniels said the system was “like sinking a radiator into the earth” and will consist of either one 600-foot or two 300-foot bore holes. Instead of drawing water from the ground, the bore holes will contain closed tubes through which propylene glycol will flow in order to exchange heat with the ground. (According to Wikipedia, propylene glycol is “generally recognized as safe” by the Food and Drug Administration.) The commission decided the project would not impact the wetland resource area.
• Land management. Commissioner Tom Brownrigg proposed a joint meeting with the commission’s subcommittee on land stewardship to discuss their respective roles in finding and responding to management problems on conservation land. Cases in point involved alleged damage to corn planted at Foss Farm and grass clippings dumped near a vernal pool.
• Great Brook Farm State Park. Peter Williams of Vine Associates discussed requests for Certificates of Compliance for two maintenance projects in the park. The commission agreed that the installation of a culvert near the corner of Lowell Street and North Road had been satisfactorily completed and issued the requested certificate.
The second project involved the creation of a new 10-foot wide wooden bridge near the canoe launch on North Road. The width will accommodate snow-grooming equipment for the cross-country ski concession. Williams said that the bridge is to provide continuity and safety for trail users, so they do not have to swing out onto North Road at that point. The commission called for the woodchips covering the ground near the bridge to be removed and the land to be re-vegetated as originally planned, and indicated that it would sign off on the project once the vegetation was in place.
• 24 Bingham Road. The ConsCom approved a Notice of Intent for a home construction project originally reviewed in 2000. Construction differed from the original plan and the commission had asked for an as-built plan. Part of the project is near wetlands and therefore falls under ConsCom review. They had questioned the construction of a stone wall that extends into the town’s Right of Way for Bingham Road and had asked the applicant to discuss the wall placement with the Board of Selectmen. A signed letter from the owner provided assurances that the wall will be removed if the town ever needs to relocate the road, and consultant Dr. Lisa Standley, representing owner Theodore Mark, explained that the letter has been accepted by the Selectmen. The commission issued its approval with a permanent special condition to prevent driveway snow from being cleared into the adjacent wetlands.
• 328 Concord Street. A Notice of Intent for construction near wetlands was submitted by Mark for a second property. In this case, an existing Notice of Intent had expired over the summer, before work was completed. The ConsCom issued a new order, with the same restrictions on the project.
• 27 Maple Street. An Enforcement Order is in effect for a landscaping project, part of which extends within 100 feet of wetlands. Russ Wilson of R. Wilson Associates, representing owner Judith Keefe, submitted an updated plan that included changes to the lawn near a curve in the road to address concerns raised earlier by an abutter. The lawn had been extended to the pavement, but Wilson showed plans to create a two-foot-wide gravel shoulder in order to make it easier for cars to negotiate the curve. ConsCom gave permission for the gravel shoulder, as well as for the landscaper to finish grading, loaming and seeding the rest of the lawn once siltation barriers are installed. The ConsCom requested a row of trees, bushes or fencing be added to mark the border between the lawn and the wetlands. Approval of a Notice of Intent was postponed, pending a new plan showing details of the border.
• Great Brook Estates. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard said that except for one detail, the construction of the subdivision roadway was complete. A remaining problem is the invasive plant, phragmites, which is growing in a retention basin. Willard thought the plant had arrived in a load of dirt fill brought to the site. The applicant, Betsy Goldenberg, has submitted a check for $600 to be put into a special account to pay for eradication treatment over the next few years. The board agreed to accept the check and issued Certificates of Compliance indicating the project was finished.
• ConsCom Coffee. The next scheduled ConsCom Coffee will be held on October 14th at 7:30 a.m., when Land Steward Committee members will talk about the baseline assessment for the Foss Farm Conservation Land.
• Uninvited wildlife. Those at the meeting occasionally glanced toward the back of the room, where a garter snake was reportedly hiding behind an antique wooden cabinet. The snake had been seen earlier in the day and Willard had brought a pair of gloves in case the creature appeared and required assistance in exiting the building. It remained out of sight and the following week Town Hall employees were still wondering if the snake had made its way outside. ∆
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