Friday, August 28, 2009
ConsCom shorts, August 13
• Tomato Blight at Foss Farm. Lynn Knight of the Land Stewardship Committee reported to the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) on August 13 that the committee has been communicating with gardeners about controlling the Late Blight that has had a heavy impact at the Foss Farm Community Gardens. Phytophthora infestans, the pathogen which caused the Irish potato famine, has affected tomato and potato plants in Carlisle and across the state this year. (See “Blight hits Carlisle,” Mosquito, July 31.)
The ConsCom deliberated as to how best to handle infected plants to prevent the spores from surviving and spreading the disease. Commissioner Jenifer Bush said that some gardeners are just abandoning their plots. The ConsCom and Knight agreed that the Land Stewards would provide a tarp to cover diseased plants that have been removed from the garden plots. (High temperatures kill spores but they are broadly spread by wind.) Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard will investigate the possibility of an agricultural burn at Foss Farm. The ConsCom did a burn several years ago to control a mosaic that affected squashes. Knight will keep the gardeners informed.
More information on Late Blight is available at www.mass.gov/agr and www.umassvegetable.org/LateBlightAlertforTomatoandPotato.html.
• Gleason Library foundation. The ConsCom discussed a Request for Determination of Applicability from the Library Board of Trustees for proposed work to waterproof the foundation of the older portion of the Library building. Following an introduction by Trustees Chair Priscilla Stevens, Rich Harrington of Stamski and McNary Engineering presented the project. Library Director Angela Mollett and representatives of the library’s architectural firm were present. The ConsCom determined that a formal filing and permit were not needed because the work is entirely in the buffer zone and will not alter the adjacent wetland resource area. The ConsCom voted to issue a Negative Determination of Applicability.
• Review of larger developments. Planning Board Chair David Freedman met with the ConsCom to urge the adoption of two documents relative to the review and permitting of proposed larger developments coming before the board.
According to Freedman (in a communication subsequent to the meeting), the draft “Policy Governing Use of Town Hall Advisory Groups” is modeled on the so-called Attachment B adopted by the Zoning Board of Appeals as part of their new Rules & Regulations for Comprehensive Permits. For proposed developments of four or more lots or dwelling units coming before the ConsCom, it would give the board the option of establishing a Town Hall Advisory Group (THAG) by inviting other town boards or departments to assist them in their review. The idea is to create a process for more efficient coordination among boards on larger projects.
The second document, the draft “Agreement for Reimbursement of Expenses and Certification of Accuracy of Application” is modeled on the so-called Attachment C of the new regulations. It is a letter of agreement to be signed by an applicant before the ConsCom, agreeing to reimburse the town for outside consultant expenses in the review of the application.
The Board of Health and Planning Board are also considering adopting versions of these documents. Freedman said: “The basic idea is that having similar policies in place for “normal” development applications before the ConsCom, Board of Health and Planning Board will reinforce and support the Zoning Board of Appeal’s use of the THAG process and the form for agreement for reimbursement of expenses in 40B hearings.”
The ConsCom decided to deliberate and vote on both documents at its September 10 meeting.
• Staff hours and leadership. The ConsCom approved restoring Willard to full time hours and Conservation Assistant Mary Hopkins to 19 hours per week, effective immediately. Since the beginning of February, Willard has been at 28 hours and Hopkins at 15 hours. Staff salaries are based in part on filing fees paid by applicants under the state Wetlands Protection Act and the Carlisle Wetlands Bylaw. These revenues had declined due to the economy and the ConsCom reduced hours temporarily in order to allow those accounts to build back up. Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie had recommended restoring hours. Chair Peter Burn indicated these hours are needed to do the job and said, “We owe it to the people who are working well for us.”
In other internal business, Kelly Guarino was elected vice chair of the ConsCom. Peter Burn had been elected chair in June.
• 27 Maple Street. Russ Wilson of R. Wilson & Associates, representing homeowner Judith Keefe, requested amending her permit to build a fence in the wetland buffer zone. She wished to add an underground lawn sprinkler system and a second fence along the road. Matt Hammer, who lives across from the property at 715 Bedford Road, expressed concern about previous work on Keefe’s property leading to erosion along the road. The ConsCom approved the amendment, emphasizing that the work must remain back from the town right-of-way. Since deterioration of the road is a Department of Public Works matter, the board also directed Willard to write a letter to the Selectmen indicating that the subject had come up during a public hearing.
• 98 Wolf Rock Road. Represented by Wilson, homeowners Nancy and Edward Hofstetter sought a permit for replacement of their sewage disposal system. Commissioner Tricia Smith proposed that the ConsCom postpone a decision until the Board of Health acts and the public hearing was continued to September 10 at 8:15 p.m.
• Great Brook Farm State Park. The continuation of the public hearing regarding proposed dredging of the farm pond and installation of a Fire Department water connection was postponed at the applicant’s request to September 24 at 8:30 p.m.
• Other business. The ConsCom issued a Certificate of Compliance for a new house, driveway and wetland crossing at 131 Cross Street, extended the permit for a new house, driveway and septic system on Bedford Road, Map 22, Parcel 88-1, Lot K-2, approved an amended Enforcement Order for 119 Estabrook Road allowing replacement of a plant species in a wetland restoration plan and another for 383 Russell Street, and issued an Emergency Certification to move a large dead pine tree near the driveway at 201 Clark Farm Road. ∆
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