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Conservation Commission Minutes 2/19/09
Becket Conservation Commission
February 19, 2009

The meeting is called to order at 6:35 PM.
Commissioners Present:  Purr McEwen, Chair; Scott Morley, Vice Chair; Kathy Vsetecka, Commissioner and Agent; Bud Moylan
Commissioners Absent:  Derrick Rodgers; Marty Winters

  • Approval of Minutes of 1/15/09 and 2/3/09 meetings.
Motion to approve minutes of 1/15/09 by Kathy; second by Bud; unanimous approval.
2/3/09 minutes, not yet being prepared, are tabled to March.

  • Continued Notice of Intent:  David MacWilliams, Greenwater Pond Association, Map 201-202, DEP #102-349. An annual Lake-level drawdown of Greenwater Pond
Present:  Lee Lyman of Lycott Environmental representing the applicant and Dave MacWilliams
The hearing opens at 6:37 PM.
Mr. Lyman asks what exactly is being sought by the commission. He says drawdown has worked here in the past and can work again. He submits DCR approval. Kathy says with a two foot drawdown you don’t have to go through DFW. Kathy reviews DEP comments. Purr says the application was very generic; it contained no specific details for this pond. Mr. Lyman replies that most agencies are happy w/what he provided. Mr. MacWilliams says the lake was drawn down before but not since permits have been required. He also notes that the association has a permit to do hand pulling. They keep track of what’s happening in the pond on an ongoing basis. Purr asks why they now want to do a drawdown in stead of just hand pulling. Mr. MacWilliams says they feel they need both; they never had weeds up to the surface when were doing drawdowns. Milfoil is their primary focus. Robinson Pond Weed is replacing milfoil where it’s been pulled and it is a good thing to have there. Hand pulling will be continued but there’s no way to keep up with the massive amounts in shallow areas. A two foot drawdown will be approximately 15 feet out from each cottage. It will also provide an opportunity to get leaves out before refilling. Kathy says a monitoring plan is needed in writing. The commission would accept Mr. MacWilliams doing the monitoring. The commission needs to know the outflow rate. Specific watershed is also not in the NOI. Mr. Lyman suggests setting up a monitoring station to get readings on the flow. Kathy says specifics are needed as to who’s going to do this and when. The applicant asks for a continuance.
Public:  None.
The hearing closes at 6:54 PM.
Scott refers to Kathy’s email w/six items on it and asks the applicant for written answers with site specific information.
Kathy moves to continue to March 19th with the applicant’s consent. Purr seconds. Unanimous approval.

  • Continued Notice of Intent:  Sherwood Forest Road Maintenance District, Olde Carriage Road, Map 216. Installation of a culvert.
Present:  Mike Kulig of Berkshire Engineering representing the applicant and Dave Devane, SFRMD Road Super
The hearing opens at 6:56 PM
Mr. Kulig explains that a metal culvert was replaced several years ago with a plastic one in a storm emergency when the road was washed out. He says not all of the stream crossing requirements must be met when replacing in kind. They propose to take out the plastic and replace it with concrete. A delineation and a plan of work will be done.
Public:  None.
The hearing closes at 7:16 PM
Purr moves to continue to March 19th with the applicant’s consent. Bud seconds. Unanimous approval.

  • Continued Notice of Intent:  Warren Kiersh,  483 Tyne Road, Map 203 lot 50.4  DEP#102-351. Removal of trees to provide a view corridor not greater than 35’ wide
Present:  Ann Bruzzi of Berkshire Engineering representing the applicant
Public present:  Dave Abbott, Barbara Denley, Pat Grant, Purr McEwen, Marcia Parnell
The hearing opens at 7:18 PM.
Purr recuses herself. Scott assumes chairmanship of the meeting and advises the applicant that there is no quorum and she has the option to present the plan or to wait to present at the next meeting. Ms. Bruzzi says she’ll wait.
Public:  Ms. Parnell speaks in opposition to any more tree cutting on this site saying there has been a great deal of cutting already. She says erosion and water quality are a concern and any additional cutting is imprudent and unreasonable and a risk to the lake.
Ms. McEwen shares this concern and refers to numerous emails received from other residents. She says that 9,000 s.f. of buffer zone was clear cut three years ago and many of the neighbors protested that. She points out that Yokum pond is one of the few natural lakes in Berkshire county; it’s very shallow and is fed by mostly underground springs. Many of those springs come off the surrounding steep slopes and the pond is very prone to certain types of natural pollution like coliform. The Yokum Pond Association tests regularly for water quality. In 2004 testing was done on the south end of the lake where the Kiersh property is and coliform was a little on the high side. In 2006 after the clear cutting done by Mr. Kiersh testing showed a coliform count of almost 7,000 – the highest count ever in the history of testing the pond. While she can’t say clear cutting directly caused that it certainly brings the possibility into question. she is concerned that any other cutting would be detrimental, especially considering the tree loss due to ice storms this year.
Mr. Grant reads letter he submitted dated Feb 10. (This is made a part of the permanent record of the meeting kept at the Conservation Commission’s office.)
Kathy speaks about letters which have referred to covenants saying the commission can’t do anything about that but residents and neighbors need to follow up on it if there are covenants. Ms. Bruzzi says the covenant for not cutting back fifty feet did not make it into the deed and adds that the covenants can be seen at the registry of deeds. Ms. Parnell asks for clarification of the commission’s jurisdiction. Kathy does this. Ms. McEwen cites 310 CMR 10.53(1).
Mr. Abbott says he’s had experience with cutting on a steep slope in Maine and tree cover doesn’t make as much difference as soil composition.
Kathy suggests looking at taking down dead trees – would that provide the viewing corridor they’re looking for? Ms. Bruzzi will check it.
Ms. Denley asks where the trees are. Ms. Bruzzi replies that they’re on both sides of the right of way. [The viewing corridor] would start at zero and go out to thirty-five feet at the lake. Stumps will be left.
Scott says regrowth is supposed to be allowed [per terms of the current Enforcement Order] and Bud says a recent visit showed a lot of clipping has been going on.
Scott reads emails opposing the plan from David Stein and Amy Perlmutter in their entirety. He then reads pertinent sections of letters from Larry Gorden, Eve and Sid Cholmar, Joan Davidson, Daniel Senne, Ann Leonhardt, Robert Bildner, Sarah Baglio, Jules and Susan Kermin, Arthur Winston and Carl Rosenstein, all in opposition. Kathy notes there are also letters from Dan Parnell and Melissa Leonhardt in opposition which must have been left in the office. (These are all made a part of the permanent record of the meeting kept at the Conservation Commission’s office.) Public closed.
The hearing closes at 7:45 PM.
Scott moves to continue to March 19th with the applicant’s consent. Bud seconds. Unanimous approval.

Brief recess.

Scott reconvenes the meeting and Purr rejoins the commission.

  • Request for Determination of Applicability:  Massachusetts Highway Department, 93 Main Street, Map 414, lot 36. Excavation and removal of fill materials consisting of minor amounts of concrete, brick, etc.
Present:  Dave Abbott Environmental Analyst for Mass Highway, Environmental analyst.
Mr. Abbott presents the proposed Corrective Action Design. The affected area is less than a quarter of an acre. They propose to excavate and recreate original contours. The site was extensively test pitted. An RDA was filed in 2005 and a negative determination was received but it expired so they’re back for another because they have the money now.

Bud moves to issue a negative determination of applicability with Becket standard conditions and the condition that straw wattles be used from wetland flag  A4 east around the corner to wetland flag C10; Kathy seconds. Unanimous approval.

  • Request for Change:  Two State YMCA, Rudd Pond Dam, DEP #102-342
Present:  Steve Turner and Craig Tighe
The proponents present the proposal which is to fill in the spillway permanently rather than temporarily. DCR has given their approval. Scott asks how the gravel fill on top doesn’t fall into an area where it shouldn’t be. Mr. Tighe explains that the concrete will be high enough to contain it.
Purr moves to approve the change as presented; Bud seconds. Unanimous approval.

  • Request for Determination of Applicability:  Massachusetts Highway Department, Route 8 from Otis/Sandisfield town line to South of Route 20 in Becket. Cold planing and resurfacing existing road and other related work.
Kathy thinks she may not have notified the representative so this needs to be opened and continued.
Purr moves to continue to March 19th. Scott seconds. Unanimous approval.

  • Administrative business
  • Rob Gorden sent a registered letter complaining that his freedom of information was being violated by not giving him the minutes. He was looking on the wrong bulletin board and he has now been informed in writing and verbally of the proper way to access the commission’s minutes.
There being no further business to conduct Purr moves to adjourn; Scott seconds; the meeting is adjourned at 8:22 PM.

Respectfully Submitted,

Blanche Lennington, Recorder

Purr McEwen, Chair                              Date

Scott Morley, Vice Chair                        Date

Bud Moylan                                      Date

Derrick Rodgers                         Date

Kathy Vsetecka                                  Date


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