The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 8, 2010

Conservation Commission shorts, December 17

New commissioner. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) welcomed new member Debra Kimbrell-Anderson at their meeting on December 17. She spent 27 years as a biologist and manager with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service, including serving as manager of the Great Meadows National Wildlife Refuge from 2003-2008. Her specialties include wetlands-dependent plants and animals.

Greenough Land Use Permit. Barb J. Culkins of Bedford Road had requested a permit to continue to locate temporary fencing for three horses on the Greenough Conservation Land. Until recently the site was thought to be private land. The area is adjacent to a field where Mark Duffy plants corn, but is too wet for a crop. After deliberating about appropriate uses of town conservation land and animal activities near wet areas, the ConsCom decided that this private effort was not an acceptable activity.

511 Brook Street. The ConsCom opened a public hearing on homeowner Scott Henderson’s request for a permit to construct retaining walls, terraces, steps and walkways. The proposed work lies in a wetland buffer zone as well as a riverfront area, i.e. within 200 feet of a stream – in this case a tributary to Page’s Brook.

A failed septic system was replaced six years ago, but associated grading and other work were not completed. Henderson has since had no access to his front door and wishes to complete the work in order to sell his house.

Nancy Weiss, who has lived next door for the past 12 years, said she supports the project, but noted that the proposed work site and surrounding area are rare species habitat. She found the first Blanding’s Turtle in Carlisle when it laid eggs on her front door step.

Both Priority and Estimated Habitat are involved and NHESP has yet to give its evaluation of the impact of the work on turtle areas. Thus the hearing was continued to January 14 at 8 p.m.

491 Maple Street. George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary Engineering represented landowner William Hamilton relative to a requested permit for replacement of a failed septic system.

Dimakarakos proposed a Presby system, which requires less grading and has a smaller footprint than a standard leaching area. Presby is an alternative sewage disposal system approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. Dimakarakos said that because it is more effective at treating wastewater, the system can be located two feet above groundwater rather than the usual four feet.

The project is located in both Priority Habitat under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act and Estimated Habitat under the Wetlands Protection Act. Both trigger an impact review by the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP), which has in this case determined that the work can go forward.

Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard observed on a site visit that Hamilton had unintentionally stacked brush on the adjacent Greenough Conservation Land and advised him accordingly. The ConsCom approved the permit.

779 West Street Enforcement Order. Contractor Jon Storer met with the ConsCom on behalf of landowner Gregory Bruell in the ongoing effort to address 15 outstanding violations of the Wetlands Protection Act and the Carlisle Wetlands Bylaw in connection with the establishment of a Japanese garden. The ConsCom had issued an Enforcement Order stopping work on November 9.

Storer said that Stamski and McNary Engineering has been engaged to handle the restoration of damaged wetlands and has now re-flagged the wetlands boundary. He also reported that Bruell had dug a pond on the site himself, and the large rocks that had been placed in the Japanese garden this past season had been stored elsewhere on the property for approximately a year.

The ConsCom said that the project is on the right track now, though Willard pointed out that the board still needs a garden management plan. Storer had previously indicated that this was being prepared by Zen Associates. The option of back-dated fines for the violations was kept open. The matter will be taken up again at the February 11 meeting. ∆

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