Conservation Commission

Monday, September 9, 2019, 7:15 pm until 9:00 pm
First Floor, Town Hall, 9 Montague Rd
A meeting of the Conservation Commission

Meeting of Conservation Commission

Members: (Quorum)

  • Absent: Ralph Tiner
  • Present: Andrew Young, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: David Powicki, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Isaiah Robison, Chair, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Jono Neiger, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Barbara Kline, at 7:15 PM
  • Present: Joan Deely, at 7:15 PM

Also Present:

  • Richard Nathhorst (Planning Board
  • 92 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Ken Brownell (114 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Irene Saunders (102 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Susan Scherfele (2 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Tom Gorman (2 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Rudi & Tom Gorman (2 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Heather Hutchinson (98 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Rich Karsten (98 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Larry Saunders (102 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Gregory Salzman (160 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Ruth West (66 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Carole King (66 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Jane Bradley (80 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Bill Cooksy (5 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Anne White (5 Dudleyville Rd)
  • Margaret Carey (12 Dudleyville Rd)

See original Agenda Approved Meeting Minutes

Meeting opened: 7:15 PM

Meeting closed: 9:32 PM

  1. Meeting Preliminaries

  2. Public Inquiries

    • 7:17pm: 2 Dudleyville Rd - Report of tree cutting and placement of storage container in the Riverfront Area

      General Discussion...
      The Conservation Commission received correspondence from several residents that a number of trees had been cut down in the Riverfront Area (Sawmill River and Dudleyville Brook) at 2 Dudleyville Rd, and that a shipping container had been placed in the same area.
      Tom Gorman, the landowner, was present to answer questions. He explained that he wished to have a place to hang out on the other side of the river, and that he intended the burn the wood that was cut for fuel. He stated that he does not intend to clear a larger area. In response to the Commission's questions, he responded that no trees were cut within 25' of the bank, and that at least 50% of the canopy cover was maintained. Conditions were dry when cutting occurred.
      Isaiah Robison opined that the cutting of trees in Riverfront Area complies with the stipulations in 310 CMR 10.04(b)15, which describes the cutting of trees by owners for their own use; however, the Commission noted that it should be notified of all work in resource areas.
      Tom explained that the storage container is a temporary structure, and thus does not require review by the Building Inspector. He does not know how long he will leave it in that location.
      Members of the public voiced their opposition to the presence of the shipping container, and asked about the applicability of zoning districts and questioned the applicability of 310 CMR 10.04(b)15 based on the professed intent of the landowner, and disputed the landowner's claim that no trees were cut within 25' of Bank.
      Isaiah Robison suggested that the commission ask for a Notice of Intent in order to formally investigate the potential impact of the container in the resource areas (Riverfront Area, Bordering Land Subject to Flooding).

      MOTION, moved by Jono Neiger, seconded by David Powicki: To recommend the filing of a Notice of Intent for the placement of a shipping container at 2 Dudleyville Rd.

      Pass: Aye: Jono Neiger, Andrew Young, Barbara Kline, Isaiah Robison, David Powicki, Joan Deely. Not Present: Ralph Tiner.

  3. Administrative Matters

    • 8:09pm: Open Space and Recreation Plan Update

      General Discussion...
      The Open Space and Recreation Plan has been officially approved through July 2026, and the Town is now eligible for grants through the MA Division of Conservation Services. Gail Berrigan will be working on a timeline for relevant Town groups to complete the tasks outlines in the OSRP.

    • 8:10pm: Culvert Replacement Municipal Assistance Grant Program

      General Discussion...
      The Town has been awarded $50,000 in grant funding from the MA Division of Ecological Restoration for data collection, engineering, and permitting for a culvert replacement on Shutesbury Rd at the intersection of Old Mountain Rd and Number Six Rd. The Town is working with the DER to execute a contract, and then will be able to begin discussions with a contractor for the project.

    • 8:15pm: Upcoming Events - MACC Fall Conference: October 19 @ Devens, MA / MA Town Forests Conference: September 14 @ Sherborn, MA

      MOTION, moved by Isaiah Robison, seconded by Andrew Young: To approve funding for Gail Berrigan to attend the MACC Fall Conference.

      Pass: Aye: Jono Neiger, Andrew Young, Barbara Kline, Isaiah Robison, David Powicki, Joan Deely. Not Present: Ralph Tiner.

    • 8:16pm: Agricultural License - Gordon King property

      General Discussion...
      The agent met with the Town Accountant to discuss the destination account for funds from the Agricultural License. As written, the license fees would go into the Town's "rental fees" account, and thus absorbed into the Town's general funds. Isaiah Robison suggested that if this sets a precedent for future license fees, the Commission could ask for more funds to be appropriated to it in the future, as it will be contributing more to the Town's finances.
      The existing Gordon King Blueberry Memorial Gift Fund could be an ideal depository for the fee, as it is dedicated to maintenance of the Gordon King property. However, as a gift fund, it can only accept donations. The accountant advised that the license could allow agricultural use with a "donation in lieu of payment."
      David Powicki noted that it would be useful to have more income in the gift fund, as donations from blueberry sales are unreliable from year to year, but hiring a contractor for mowing is required annually. Gail Berrigan and Jono Neiger suggested that the Commission look into setting up a dedicated account for agricultural license fees in the future, especially if the license program expands.
      The agent will continue to discuss this issue with the accountant and Linda Enerson, the farmer, with a goal of directing this year's license fee to the Gordon King Memorial Blueberry Gift Fund.

    • 8:24pm: Forest Management Plan for Bill Rivers property

      General Discussion...
      The Town has been approved for up to $2,131 for renewal of the Forest Management Plan for the Bill Rivers property as part of the MA Department of Conservation and Recreation's Cost-Share program. This funding is available until January 15, 2020. The agent will reach out to Bay State Forestry to hire them to complete the Plan.

  4. Old Business

    • 8:25pm: FRCOG Building Permits - 94 Shutesbury Rd (John Looman for Theresa Allen)

      General Discussion...
      No resource issues.

    • 8:26pm: Forest Cutting Plans - Cave Hill Rd Marvel Lot (Jacob Macko & Jake Doody for W.D. Cowls)

      General Discussion...
      Approved by DCR. No comments.

    • 8:27pm: Clarification on MGL 10.04(b)15

      General Discussion...
      As discussed in relation to 2 Dudleyville Rd.
      The agent was also approached by another landowner about removal of a tree on his property. The agent visited the site and recommended that 10.04(b)15 be applied.

    • 8:45pm: Work at Laurel Hill Pond dredging (DEP 200-0188)

      General Discussion...
      As a contractor for the project, Isaiah Robison recused himself from the discussion.
      The MA Department of Environmental Protection's Environmental Emergency Response program was called to investigate a report of an hour-long plume of a milky sheen going downriver following dredging activities at the Laurel Hill impoundment.
      Isaiah Robison, who conducted the dredging, did not see a plume being discharged from the site. Andrew Young also visited the site and did not see any evidence of a plume or violation of the conditions the Order.
      Mark Stinson also pointed out that Special Condition #4 of the Order requires review of the project every five years, even though the Order itself will expire in three years. He recommended that the applicants request an extension in writing every three years, or that they request an amendment of the Order to stipulate that the special conditions survive the life of the Order. The agent will explain this situation to the applicants.

    • 8:52pm: Work at Leverett Pond dam (DEP 200-0189)

      General Discussion...
      Construction on the dam has begun. The agent inspected the erosion controls on August 22, and found them to be in compliance with the Order of Conditions. On August 26, the agent was contacted by Dave Lenart, the dam engineer, about fissures in the bedrock that were allowing water to seep in past the coffer dam and into the work site. The contractors notified the Commission that a secondary sediment trap would be set up to return the majority of the water into Leverett Pond instead of pumping water downstream.
      The agent visited the dam site with members of the Friends of Leverett Pond on September 6. The agent requested that some water be allowed to travel downstream (via bypass pumping) in order to maintain moisture in the stream, which is presumed perennial (anecdotally, it has been observed to go dry occasionally). The agent will check back in on the dam site to assess conditions.
      The Friends of Leverett Pond and the Conservation Commission have also received complaints from a resident about floating root masses of lily pads in the pond. The resident claims that the waterlilies have been extensively affected by the new herbicide (ProcellaCOR) that was applied under DEP#200-0166. The FLP maintains that the die-off of lily pads in Leverett Pond is an annual, seasonal event. David Powicki noted that the FLP have talked about the root masses for years, and Andrew Young added that he has seen similar masses of dead waterlilies at nearby untreated ponds. In a guided visit with the Friends of Leverett Pond on September 6, the agent observed some of these masses, which appeared to be isolated patches removed from herbicide application areas.

  5. New Business

  6. Other New Business not considered as of the date of this notice

    • 9:03pm: Beaver problems at 42 Shutesbury Rd

      General Discussion...
      On August 5, the Commission issued an Emergency Certification for breach of a beaver dam at 42 Shutesbury Rd. A dam in Doolittle Brook had caused water levels to rise and contaminate the Tikos' shallow well. The dam has been successfully breached.
      The Tikos' have had to breach beaver dams on their property several times, and are looking to the Town for a more permanent solution. The Commission's jurisdiction over beavers is generally limited to issuing permits for breaching dams and/or installing flow control devices, and does not cover wildlife control. The agent will forward the Tikos' inquiry to the Select Board, who may be able to provide greater assistance.

    • 9:06pm: Potential single family home at Lot 3 Cave Hill Rd

      General Discussion...
      The agent met with a potential buyer for Lot 3, Cave Hill Rd, who is interested in constructing a single family home on the property. The agent explained the applicability of the Wetlands Protection Act to the parcel in question, and recommended that they hire a wetlands consultant to help them through the permitting process.

    • 9:13pm: Construction of fence at 35 Cider Mill Rd

      General Discussion...
      The agent received an inquiry about WPA applicability for construction of a fence in the Buffer Zone. The agent confirmed that the proposed project met the description of an exempt minor activity, and thus does not require filing.

    • 9:25pm: Proposed Construction of a Carport - 42 Cushman Rd (Mike Williams)

      General Discussion...
      The agent met with Mike Williams of 42 Cushman Rd to discuss the construction of a carport in the Riverfront Area and Bordering Land Subject to Flooding. The applicant will be submitting a filing for discussion at the October meeting.

    • 9:29pm: Historic Mills on Town-owned land - Leverett Historical Commission

      General Discussion...
      The Leverett Historical Commission is working on an initiative to raise awareness and learn more about the historic mill sites in Leverett. Many of these are located on Town-owned conservation properties. The Commission will plan to invite the LHC to attend a Commission meeting in the fall/winter to discuss ways that the groups can partner.

  7. Meeting Wrap-up

The listing of matters is those reasonably anticipated by the Chair which may be discussed at the meeting. Not all items listed may in fact be discussed and other items not listed may also be brought up for discussion to the extent permitted by law.

Minutes prepared by Miho Connolly, Conservation Commission Agent

Minutes approved on Tuesday, Oct 15, 2019

Posted to: Conservation Commission.