Friday, March 5, 2010
ConsCom shorts, Feb. 25
• Middlesex School boathouse. At its meeting on February 25 the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) discussed news of a proposal to limit access to the Concord River. The Middlesex School has submitted a request to the Billerica Board of Appeals to build a boathouse for its student crew program on the Concord River. As part of this process, the school hopes to close the river for both races and practices. Letters from Libby Herland of Great Meadows and Susan Crane, chair of Wild and Scenic River Council, both state to the school in no uncertain terms that closing the river is really not an option.
Herland also had concerns about other aspects of crew usage, such as the coach’s use of a bullhorn to give commands during practice, which could be a disturbance to wildlife and refuge visitors. If rowing occurs early in the morning or closer to dusk and at speeds greater than 10 mph, wildlife are more likely to be disturbed. Parts of the river are open to waterfowl hunting in the fall, and this could be a major conflict with refuge users.
“The general opinion that I’ve heard is that the idea of crew on the Concord is fine, so long as they’re not interfering with other uses of the river,” said ConsCom chair Peter Burn. “But the idea of closing the river is absurd.” Members agreed.
• Certificate of Compliance. The commission approved a Certificate of Compliance (COC) to Theodore Mark relating to his barn removal and construction of a deck and stairs at 24 Bingham Road. The COC allowed the new owner to build a new barn on the site of the old barn, but the new owner is apparently not interested. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard visited the site and is satisfied that it is fully vegetated. A motion to issue the Certificate of Compliance was passed with one opposing vote, by ConsCom member Tricia Smith. “They originally had an Order of Conditions and then they built something else and then they came back with a new Notice of Intent to cover what they did,” said a defiant Smith.
• Hearings. The wetland hearing for the proposed housing development on the Benfield Land was continued to the March 18 meeting at 8:30 p.m. Similarly, the hearing for proposed work near wetlands at 142 Bedford Road was continued to March 18 at 8 p.m. ∆
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