Vol. IV No. 3 2/1/2023
Notes from the Conservation Commission (ConCom), January 24, Hybrid meeting
- Ron Brouker, Chair
- John Hart
- Lisa Bozzuto
- Tom LaBelle
- Jamie Minacci
- Sally Underwood-Miller
- Chuck Kohrer
- William Loutrel
- Minutes of the last meeting approved as written.
- Underwood-Miller reported progress at the Haan property on Stockbridge Bowl. Injunction against mowing too close to the water is a regulation under the Massachusetts Wetland Protection Act. The goose fence was moved to prevent mowing too close to the water. ConCom will make site visit in June and check new growth.
- Marc Silver, owner, 12 Mahkeenac Shores, requesting a Certificate of Compliance (COC). The outstanding issue preventing a COC is that the wall as built does not match the plans of the wall that ConCom approved. What can be done? The Chair said ConCom cannot grant COC but will not require them to tear down the wall. Brouker suggested the engineer, contractor, attorney, and owner attend the next ConCom meeting (in person or via Zoom) and try to sort out what happened and how it can be fixed.
- Rob Rakroyd for the property at 15 Lakeview Drive. At issue: originally approved for a dry-laid patio but built a deck.
- SB approved with the condition that the deck can never be enclosed — condition appended to deed.
- LaBelle suggested the change should be submitted to the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for review. His interpretation was that DEP regulations required starting over — submitting a new Notice of Intent (NOI).
- The Performance Standards were submitted to Town Counsel. TC returned them with negative comments. ConCom members will review comments and determine next step. Bozzuto suggested a separate meeting with review the only item on agenda — agreed.
- Hart: frustration over ConCom having teeth and getting Performance Standards done.
- SB Chair White commended ConCom on taking first step in establishing a process for enforcement. Performance Standards set expectations and ConCom judges against expectations and lays groundwork for enforcement.
- Underwood-Miller said ConCom was sued, taken to court and lost. "Makes me gun shy".
- She and Hart agreed Town should have won. Hart said it was bad lawyering.
- White said sued as commission and then each member sued individually. The latter was "reprehensible". Now that is water under the bridge. ConCom has a good strategy — move forward and remember Town has lawyers too. We have your back.
- White reminded ConCom to put in budget request for Town Meeting soon so any request is on the Warrant.
- Joint Agriculture and Forestry Commission/ConCom meeting to discuss diseased hemlocks around the lake — what to do?
- 38 Lake Drive — request is for a RDA (Request for Determination) on a nonconforming lot (.26 acre). They plan to tear down an existing house and build a new one.
- 82 Interlaken was granted permission for a "construction" driveway of more than 500 feet. A construction driveway is temporary and requires that it be returned to original condition when construction over. Will they ask for the drive to be permanent? Is that ConCom or PB jurisdiction? The property was "blasted" and bulldozed in order to create driveway — creates substantial problem to come into compliance.
- LaBelle wanted bylaws tightened.
- Underwood-Miller said more projects should be denied based on current bylaws. She also suggested other towns ban rebuilding on nonconforming lots — even if current structure is uninhabitable no new building and no increase in footprint. In that way a permit to build on a nonconforming lot is one time only.
- There seemed to be a feeling that there are current bylaws that allow oversight of aesthetics and maintain character.
- Underwood-Miller rep to Kampoosa Committee reported drones may be used to fly over and photograph Kampoosa to determine current conditions. Information stored on Cloud.
Editor's note: 1. Granting a COC is verification that all permit requirements, and conditions attached to permits, are satisfied. 2. An RDA decides if the work contemplated falls under the Wetlands Protection Act under the jurisdiction of ConCom. 3. In the PB meeting, consultant David Cameron concurred — there are bylaws that used correctly could maintain character
Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen