The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 22, 2010

ConsCom shorts, January 14

Tapping Towle Sugar Maples. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) is seeking an organization, group or individual to tap the sugar maple trees along the edge of Towle Field. At the commission’s meeting on January 14, Conservation Administrator, Sylvia Willard, reported that Gaining Ground, a non-profit organization based in Concord, has expressed interest and that John Bakewell of Rutland Street, who tapped them last year, does not wish to continue. Gaining Ground, if selected, would like to start tapping at the end of February.

In choosing a sap harvester, the ConsCom wants to be certain the trees are competently tapped – a sustainable amount of sap removed, and spiles inserted and extracted properly to prevent infection of the tree.

Those given permission to undertake agricultural activities on conservation land are expected to provide services in return. These are generally in the form of land management projects. The ConsCom will advertise this opportunity.

Foss Farm Community Gardens. Lynn Knight also spoke with the ConsCom about potential solutions to problems at the Community Gardens. Current rules allow two plots per person. Some gardeners who desire additional area are having others – such as their adult children – apply for plots. These people never work the gardens. Willard said: “There’s a sense of unfairness.”

Another problem is gardeners abandoning their plots, both depriving others of their use and allowing weeds to grow and spread seed. Knight recommended creating additional plots because there is clear interest and a waiting list.

Knight said she would like to create a gardeners’ advisory group and revisit the rules. They would research other towns’ regulations and likely propose revisions to the ConsCom. Some towns require that only the named gardener can work a plot.

The ConsCom also said it might be helpful to have the gardeners meet with the board once a year – as the farmers do. Knight has organized a meeting of the gardeners at 7:30 p.m. on February 2 at the Town Hall to begin discussions. Before making rules changes the ConsCom would take up the proposal at a public meeting.

Open Space Plan extension. The ConsCom is urging the Town to seize an opportunity to extend Carlisle’s Open Space and Recreation (OS&R) Plan for two years. The Division of Conservation Services in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs has offered this extension to communities with plans approved within the past five years. Until now approved OS&R Plans have been valid for five years. Carlisle’s current plan expires in 2011.

An OS&R Plan includes a municipality’s inventory of lands of conservation and recreation interest, its vision and goals, and a Five-Year Action Plan. To obtain the extension the community just needs to expand the latter into a Seven-Year Action Plan.

In a December 14 memo to relevant Town boards and committees, Willard recommended the extension in part to postpone the considerable time and effort required to prepare a completely new plan. The deadline for submitting the required information to the state is February 28.

Note: The state’s map of communities with valid OS&R Plans and the dates they expire can be found at

511 Brook Street. At a continued hearing the ConsCom approved a permit for Scott Henderson to construct retaining walls, terraces, steps and walkways in a wetland buffer zone and riverfront area. The awaited letter from the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program had arrived and indicated that the project would not damage rare species habitat.

784 North Road. The ConsCom opened a public hearing relative to removal of 18 trees located in the buffer zone of a bordering vegetated wetland. Homeowner Edgar Berube described numerous instances of large trees falling on his family’s buildings and vehicles. The board indicated no particular problems with the proposed work. However, lacking the required file number from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, they continued the hearing until January 28 at 8:30 p.m. ∆

© 2010 The Carlisle Mosquito