Friday, October 8, 2010
ConsCom regulates land use
• Old North Bridge Hounds. The Old North Bridge Hounds club uses Foss Farm and the Towle Field to periodically exercise their dogs. Thomas Moran, President, and Chic Daigle, Vice President, attended the September 30 meeting of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) to request a land use permit. “We wanted to clarify what the status of the Foss Farm is,” said Moran. “We’ve heard there’s been some conflicts.” They exercise up to 12 hounds for approximately an hour on foot. “It’s basically dog-walking, usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.”
They average about four people to handle the hounds, which are allowed to run free under voice command. “We’re looking for an open area – with trails it gets more complicated trying to keep track of everybody,” said Moran. The dogs are carried around in a pickup truck with a box on the back.
Chair Kelly Guarino went straight to the ConsCom concern, asking “What is the noise level?” This is related to the sled dog conflict that has hounded the ConsCom over the past year. “There’s no noise when they’re not hunting,” Moran quickly replied. “They’re not barking unless they’re on a scent. In this case, they’re just exercising.” Dog officer Bob Dennison added his endorsement of the hound club to the unanimous consent of the ConsCom members. Willard will generate a permit for the group to sign.
• Benfield bird banding. David Olmstead of Westford has requested permission from the Carlisle ConsCom to band hawks on the Benfield Land. He says he has permits from both state and federal organizations. However, members of the ConsCom were not as cooperative when they considered the request at their meeting on September 30. “Unless there is a clear research value associated with this,” stated member Tom Brownrigg, “I’m not in favor of it.” He has witnessed some bird banding on Plum Island by people who are studying bird migration. “It’s very stressful for the birds. In fact, some of them died. If he’s catching birds during migration, they’re doubly stressed.” Based on this, ConsCom members were not inclined to issue a permit to Olmstead, at least until they obtain more information regarding his professional qualifications.
• Field boundary mixup. Mark Hersey and Diane Makovsky of 38 Litchfield Drive have an interesting story to tell. Fisk Meadow is comprised of both public land and private land owned by Hersey and neighbors. The meadow is located along Lowell Street and has a conservation restriction on the town-owned portion. For many years, the field was hayed by a local farmer and all enjoyed the bucolic vista. When the farmer decided to no longer mow the field, ConsCom put it out for bid and Mark Duffy of Great Brook Farm obtained use. One day Makovsky returned home to find her field of grass plowed and planted with corn.
Duffy is within his rights to use the town portion of the field for corn or other agricultural use, but all agreed that he cannot plow up the private owner’s portion of the field without permission. ‘I want my field back,” Makovsky demanded as she and Hersey placed their grievance in the hands of ConsCom.
Another sticky problem is that the only access to the land is through private property. This is because the meadow is substantially below the grade of Lowell Street and direct access is not possible. Jack O’Connor of Church Street suggested to members that building a simple ramp between road and field would solve that problem. Members eventually decided to get Duffy’s side of the story. No one disputed the fact that he cannot plant corn on private land, but it would help to resolve the issue if all parties were present.
Construction near wetlands
• Carlisle School building project. Lee Storrs, chair of the School Building Committee, addressed the possibility that some of the school renovation work may be in the 100-foot buffer zone. The area of concern is a temporary play area below (north of) the Carlisle Castle that will be set back 60 feet from Church Street. “We plan on putting up a temporary fence to enclose the area and keep the kids safe,” said Storrs. “It will be hand installed, U-type posts driven into the ground to support a dark green plastic snow fence. We also plan to trim back some of the underbrush.” The nearest wetland is behind the First Religious Society and the fencing appears to be outside the buffer zone. Commission members agreed, but decided no vote was needed to conclude that a Notice of Intent was unnecessary.
• 385 Curve Street. Homeowner Clyde Kessel has completed his home addition, which was located within the 100 foot buffer zone, and built a new septic system. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard received a letter from the engineer saying that it was done according to the plan and her site visit confirmed that the site is well vegetated. The commission voted 6-0 to issue a Certificate of Compliance.
• 511 Brook Street. Scott Henderson of 511 Brook Street completed a septic system retaining wall in the buffer zone. A site visit and letter from the engineer verified that it was done according to the plan. The house has been on the market and presently has a buyer. Commission members suggested that the new buyer be advised that the area is located in the buffer zone in case they attempt any future landscaping. “Welcome to town,” joked member Peter Burn as the commission voted 6-0 to issue a Certificate of Compliance.
• 917 Maple Street. Applicant Patricia Robbins filed a Notice of Intent to replace a deteriorating culvert and headwall in her driveway. The 36-inch corrugated metal pipe is 40 years old and badly rusted to the point of collapse. The contractor estimates that it will take seven to ten days of construction for a replacement in-kind, requiring the stream to be diverted (pumped) around the site for three or four days. One six-inch maple will need to be removed to allow construction equipment to maneuver. The commission voted 6-0 to issue a Standard Order of Conditions.
• Berry Corner Lane. George Dimakarakos, from the engineering firm Stamski & McNary, presented plans for upgrading Berry Corner Lane to meet Planning Board requirements. This includes filling and compacting driveway potholes, replacing broken cleanout covers, and placing an 18-inch stone and reflector at each cleanout. Some of the work is within the 100-foot buffer zone of a bordering wetland vegetation, which is what brought Dimakarakos to the ConsCom meeting. “There needs to be a perpetual understanding that maintenance needs to be done since it’s a gravel road,” he said. “Potholes form frequently and there’s enough traffic that it needs to be looked at regularly.”
Included on the plans is a note requiring that there will be a resurfacing of the driveway every two years by scraping it down and providing two inches of new gravel surface. There is also a requirement that the Commission be notified prior to the work. ConsCom members voted to issue a Standard Order of Conditions with a special condition indicated on the plan requiring regular maintenance in perpetuity.
• Executive Session. At the end of the meeting the commission went into closed session to discuss potential litigation. ∆
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