Friday, September 17, 2010
Conservation Commission shorts, Sept. 9
• Benfield Conservation Land boardwalk. The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) opened a public hearing on the Carlisle Trails Committee’s request to build a boardwalk and wildlife-viewing platform on the Benfield Conservation Land off South Street. Steve Hinton of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) presented the project, which requires a permit because work would occur in three protected resource areas: a Bordering Vegetated Wetland, Riverfront Area, and Land Subject to Flooding. Impacts, however, would be minimal.
The boardwalk would be about 80 feet long and six feet wide and end at a 10- x 18-foot viewing platform overlooking Spencer Brook. The boardwalk and platform would be constructed of pressure treated lumber and set on a series of helical piers. A low “kick rail” would extend along the entire periphery with a higher railing added where the walk passes over deeper water.
The ConsCom enthusiastically supported the concept last spring (see “Benfield to Bisbee Land trail linkage explored” and associated map, Mosquito April 2). The Trails Committee and CCF see this as part of a larger vision of linking trails in the western part of Carlisle. The boardwalk could be extended to connect to a trail on the Bisbee Land.
Hinton estimated the project cost at about $25,000 and indicated that CCF is seeking donations to cover the expense. The public hearing was continued to September 30 at 8:15 pm because the board is awaiting a response from the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program relative to any impacts on rare species habitat.
• Land purchase option. The board discussed the town’s right of first refusal regarding purchase of 13.649 acres of land at 393 South Street (Map 7 parcel 8A) that shares a 41-foot common boundary with the Benfield Conservation parcel. The land has been classified under MGL Chapter 61B as recreational land, meaning the owner receives a tax break as long as the parcel remains in the program. When a property is removed from the 61B program the back taxes must be paid and the town has the opportunity to purchase the land. Current owners John Gilbert and Lisa Soo have a buyer for the property, which totals 19.8 acres. They have sent the required Notice of Sale to the town. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard reported that Town Administrator Tim Goddard had found the document to be deficient – so the clock is not yet ticking on the 120-day period the town has to consider whether to purchase the land. The ConsCom scheduled a site visit.
• Carlisle School building project. In accordance with the Selectmen’s Rules and Regulations governing Site Plan Review the ConsCom made several recommendations to the Planning Board regarding the school building project. The Planning Board is responsible for gathering comments and issuing a report to the Selectmen for consideration (see article, page 4.)
First, the ConsCom said that the area on Church Street between the First Religious Society and its adjacent parsonage should be examined to determine whether a portion of the work falls in the 100-foot Buffer Zone of a Bordering Vegetated Wetland. If so the project could require ConsCom review. Second, the catch basin on Church Street near Spalding Field should be regularly monitored and cleaned out so that “soil- laden runoff” from the construction site does not reach the adjacent wetland. The board also pointed out that if more than an acre of land is to be disturbed, a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan must be submitted to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
• Cranberry harvest. The harvest at Carlisle’s Cranberry Bog is expected to take place on October 15.
• 125 Rutland Street. The ConsCom determined that David Newman does not need a permit for work associated with the installation of a geothermal heating and cooling system in his home. A geothermal system pumps heat to or from the ground, using the substrate as a heat source in cold weather and a heat sink in hot weather. Amanda Schneck of the North Andover alternative energy company Nexamp explained that the activity in the wetland Buffer Zone is the installation of geothermal closed loop borings. She indicated that the heat exchange fluid (propylene glycol and water) would not come in contact with groundwater. Because the project will not alter the adjacent wetland the board approved a Negative Determination of Applicability (DOA).
• 28 Concord Street. The board ratified an Emergency Certificate that Willard had issued to Ann Wright on September 1 allowing work to begin on a new well after water from the old hand dug well was determined to not be “potable.” Emily Williams, who recently purchased the property, was present. She noted that the old shallow well was covered with a sheet of plywood. The entire .7 acre property, and therefore the new well site, lie in the 100-foot Buffer Zone of a Bordering Vegetated Wetland. Acting on a Request for Determination of whether a permit is required, the ConsCom approved a Negative DOA, deciding that the wetland would not be damaged if a siltation barrier was installed to prevent erosion of material into the wetland while the well is being dug.
• 779 West Street. Representing landowner Gregory Bruell, contractor Jon Storer sought the ConsCom’s approval to move a stone wall and cut down four mature red maple trees. He said this would enable equipment to haul in large boulders to place around a proposed pond in Bruell’s Japanese garden. He proposed replacing the trees with Japanese maples. Bruell is still in the process of correcting more than a dozen violations of his permit under the Wetlands Protection Act and the Carlisle Wetlands Bylaw that included an illegally dug pond. (See “Homeowner projects near wetlands (mostly) avoid hot water,” Mosquito, February 26.) After some discussion the board and Storer concurred on a modified plan change: the stone wall could be moved about four feet but the maples must be left intact and protected during the rock-moving activity.
• 185 Concord Street. The installation of a private water supply well being successfully completed according to plan, a Certificate of Compliance was approved for Geoffrey Freeman.
• Town pathways. A Certificate of Compliance was also approved for the pathways that have been completed along Concord Street, East Street, Lowell Street and Bedford Road. The permit had been issued to the Town of Carlisle in December 2007.∆
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