ConsCom May 16 meeting shorts

The Conservation Commission (ConsCom) dealt with a broad range of issues in a two and a half hour meeting on May 16. 

Woodward Village

The continuing progress of the Woodward Village housing on Bedford Road,  comprising 19 new houses, was again discussed with representatives of the developers, NOW Communities PLC,  who were in attendance. The agreed use of native vegetation in the final landscaping will include a selection of willow, yellow wood and witch hazel trees; also, assurances were given that the street-lighting would be of the discreet downward-beam type so as not to interrupt the night skies. The commission remains keen to ensure that these substantial works, involving heavy contracting machinery, bring minimal overall disturbance to the surrounding delicate natural wetland environment. 

Completed work at 493 Baldwin, 142 Bedford Roads

Several decisions were made by the ConsCom in the light of recent on-site assessments made by its members. Favorable reports that previously authorized projects had been completed to the standards required by the town at 493 Baldwin Road, where a new barn has been constructed near protected vegetated wetland, and at 142 Bedford Road, where landscaping had been done, resulted in Certificates of Compliance being issued. 

267-269 Rutland Street

However, it was a different and unfortunately rather more complex story for the recently completed development of three houses located at 267-269 Rutland Street. Here, it was found that the construction of the common driveway and its finishings seem inappropriate: builders’ debris, including broken glass, appeared to have been used as infill and landscaping efforts were found to be inadequate—and without the native plantings that are required, as a rule, by the commission. As to the matter of responsibility for these problems, the householders and the developers, Turnkey Builders LLC, seem themselves to be somewhat caught on the back foot because the firm of contractors cannot, so far as ConsCom is aware, now be traced. Further detailed inspection of the site will be scheduled by the commission, as their next step. 

33, 61 Pilgrim Path

A site visit to Pilgrim Path was specially undertaken by ConsCom member Alex Parra in response to a recent direct appeal from Carlisle neighbors Michael Schmidt and Don Allen, who expressed grievances over landscaping work at a nearby third property on Bedford Road. It was previously noted in the Mosquito that trees near wetlands had been felled on their properties in 2016 without their permission (see “Conservation Commission January 24 meeting shorts,” January 28.) However, after inspecting the site, Parra reported back that such works had been obviously long standing, and aerial photos confirmed that they could not have been of recent occurrence. The ConsCom decided there was nothing that the commission could do in this situation.

Benfield Farms septic system

The commission was alarmed to note recent tidings concerning parts of Benfield Conservation Land, on South Street, beneath which is buried the ‘drip-field’ sewage treatment apparatus that serves the adjacent Benfield Farms residences. It appears that effluent is currently welling up through the soil. A specialist water engineer from Meridian Engineering, addressing the ConsCom, suggested that the likely cause was a fracture in the pressurized distributive underground pipe work, which is otherwise designed to treat 2,000 gallons of effluent per day. That the leaking sewage was at least partially purified was of some consolation. In the short term, the ConsCom advised cordoning off the area to prevent contamination of walkers. But the problem will require exploratory digging to locate its exact cause and may spell substantial remedial works. The matter is being jointly dealt with by the Carlisle Board of Health.

Tree work approved

Lastly, decisions were taken to permit requests by homeowners selectively to  remove some larger trees at 664 East Street and 52 Evergreen Lane that had been determined, after site visits, to pose threats to building safety. 

95 Hanover Road 

The hearing for a septic system installation at 95 Hanover Road was continued. Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard later explained that Dr. John Rockwood of EcoTec reviewed the flags marking the boundary of the wetland and made any needed adjustments. She said that the next step is for the updates to be added to the site plan.  ∆