The minutes to our meetings are now being posted to the .Town of Ashby website

The annual Earth Day Clean up at Blood Hill will take place on Saturday, April 26, 2008.

Meet at the parking area at the end of Luke Rd – off Erickson Rd. Wear suitable clothing for the weather and be prepared to get dirty. Sturdy footwear and gloves are suggested.

Murray & Sons Waste will be providing a dumpster for this last of 5 clean up days at the Town Conservation property.

Many thanks to those who have helped in past clean-ups. Everyone who has participated in the past has found this to be a rewarding event and even fun!

Refreshments will be available at 9:00am and for as long as they last.

Opened the meeting at 7:35pm with Tim Bauman, Bob Leary, Cathy Kristofferson & Roberta Flashman in attendance

Approved the minutes of the meeting of April 2, 2008 with small corrections.

Treasurer’s Report: Received $67.50 for NOI for single family home.

Correspondence:

Mass. Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs sent a notice of grant programs for FY09.

BSC Group sent a listing of services the organization can provide.

MACC sent the listings of “Spring/Summer 2008 Educational Offerings.” Also received the MACC Newsletter March/April 2008.

Ellen Sullivan, 892 West Road, asked questions about a lot that they own abutting their house lot. At one time they were told it might be buildable. They have had it surveyed/subdivided and are now being taxed for a building lot. Phone hidden from blog. They would like a site visit from the Commission to make a determination of whether or not someone could build a single family home of the property.

Old Business:

Cathy, Bob and Roberta conducted a site visit to 3 properties on Wares Road that are held by the town under tax taking. The three properties could be combined into one to make a buildable lot. Alan Pease requested that the Commission assess the lot for the ability to construct a single family home within 100 ft of the road – making it a viable candidate for the Habitat for Humanity home building program. The property had originally been offered to the Ashby Land Trust about 5 years ago by the bank that held it for mortgage forfeiture. The Land Trust refused it at that point because the property is subject to abuse by OHRV, paint ball participants, motorcycle riders and others and would pose a monitoring nightmare. Despite its proximity to the Willard Brook State Forest – it abuts the State Forest Land – the property was felt to be either more valuable as a potential building lot (by joining the 3 lots together to meet the required street frontage, or as a potential trade or match in conducting land conservation with the State. The front of the property – at least the 1st 200 feet – is wet. In order to construct a house, there would have to be a wetland crossing and a driveway potentially 5-600 ft long. That pretty much eliminates the property as a potential lot for Habitat for Humanity.

Roberta wrote an answer to Stan Herriot, Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant, denying permission to do a study for a wind power project on Blood Hill.

Bob Leary wrote the Certificate Of Compliance (COC) for the property at 860 Fitchburg State Road. (log cabin) following a site visit (see below). The COC was signed tonight and will be notarized and mailed on Friday, April 18, 2008.

The Snowmobile subcommittee of the Watatic Management Committee has a meeting scheduled for April 30, 2008 7:00 p.m. at Willard Brook Headquarters to review recommendations by the Lunenburg Riders and DCR. This would set policy for snowmobile use at the Mt. Watatic Reservation.

Fitchburg Planning Coordinator held a meeting at the time of our last meeting to discuss plans for placing Conservation Restrictions (CR’s) on Fitchburg Water Department land in Fitchburg and Ashby. DCR has money to purchase the CR’s on the property. It is unclear whether Fitchburg will be bound to use the money from the CR’s to purchase additional land in the watershed. Additional land purchases would further protect Fitchburg’s water resources. The Ashby Conservation Commission issued a statement of support for permanently protecting these properties in Ashby, and would further make recommendation that the monies realized through the sale of the Conservation Restriction to the State be used to purchase more land near the reservoirs and within the watershed. Click Here to see an article on 1700 acres of Water Dept Land being placed in Conservation Restriction from the Fitchburg Sentinel.

DCR’s (Willard Brook State Park) undertook a project last fall to clear out and repair three culverts on Valley Road. In The Commission’s view, this project is not yet complete. The earth around the culverts needs to be better stabilized. Also, one of the culverts has been reset above a rather large collection pool. This might eventually result in eroding the soils upon which the culvert rests, and once again destroying it function. The Commission would like to suggest while there is a labor pool available from CSA, that the labor be used to stabilize the work on the culverts.

Rebecca Walsh, Finance Committee, had requested that the Conservation Commission let the Finance Committee know whether or not they were favorably inclined towards the Highway Department making use of sand seal on Ashby roads. The inquiry had been prompted by a comment from Bill Davis about the Commission’s dissatisfaction with that road maintenance technique. Roberta unofficially answered that this would not be allowed. Motion was made and seconded to oppose the use of sand seal on Ashby Roads in the maintenance of road surfaces. Unanimous vote in favor.

Cathy, in visiting know vernal pools in Ashby, noted that the vernal pool on Route 31 between Swenor and LaSorsa had more junk deposited in it. Swenor’s has an OOC for septic replacement. LaSorsa also has an OOC and is supposed to be sending up pictorial updates on his septic system installation and condition of surrounding banks heading down towards Locke Brook. We have received no communication from either neighbor. This pool should be cleaned out in August. Tim will contact Mike Bussel to determine on whose land the vernal pool is located. With this information, the Commission may be able to more effectively monitor the pool to determine whether it is indeed a vernal pool with obligate species.

New Business:

NOI from Whitman and Bingham for septic replacement of 316 Whitney Road. Lots of wetlands and soil testing. Missing a list of abutters and abutter map. The filing is therefore not complete. If they complete it, there will still be a hearing.

210 Scott Rd (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) – June Craigen, owner. Conducted a site visit, followed up by a second visit to confirm that there are no wetlands restricting work on existing buildings and no vernal pools. Confirmed the wetland bounds. Motion made and seconded to sign the plans to confirm the wetland bounds. Unanimous in favor of the motion.

Blood Hill Hike on April 6, 2008 in conjunction with the Harris Center for Conservation Education. 11 people attended. Walked some of the boundaries and around the vernal pools and over the top of Blood Hill. There was still 12 – 18 inches of snow in many places. There was no activity in the vernal pools, which were mainly frozen.

Glenwood Cemetery Road, Cemetery Commission needs to repair roadway and water washout into the fire pond. Has submitted request for emergency repair. Motion made and seconded to issue an emergency order with a start date of May 1, 2008 and an expiration date of May 30, 2008.

Hearings:

Continued from 3-19-08 and 4-2-08, @ 8:00pm, NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299. Hearing closed at 8:48pm, Cathy will write the OOC.

Hearings Scheduled:

5-7-08 @ 8:00pm. NOI from Whitman and Bingham for septic replacement of 316Whitney Road. Jack Maloney representing Steve Holmes.

Report on Site Visits:

4-5-08 Bob, Cathy and Roberta

NOI for Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) Septic system. Presby system proposed, 100 ft from edge of wetlands, but less that 200 ft from the pond, which is probably considered an ORW by Ashby BOH – may require a variance. There will be a deed restriction to limit the number of bedrooms in the house to two. A swale that runs between the house and the proposed system could potentially draw seepage from the leach field – will have a poly barrier inserted between the swale and the system.

210 Scott Rd (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) – June Craigen, owner. Looking to sell the property. Wondered out loud whether they could put a CR on the property and still be able to sell at a profit, despite $200k lien from nursing homes for care of parents, now deceased. This would be a good property to bring to the attention of the Fitchburg Water Dept.

COC 860 Fitchburg State Road. New Owner, Chris Haynes. All barriers have been removed and owner made aware of limits of wetlands through discussions and markings in wetland bounds.

Septic Upgrade and Garage at 524 Wheeler Rd. – Richard and Sharon Finney, owner. (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) Confirm the wetlands on the plan. Bob signed the plan.

Wares Rd potential property for Habitat for Humanity. Property would require a stream crossing and a 5-600 ft driveway. Wetlands within 75 feet of the road.

4-11-08 Cathy

The 210 Scott Road property. That big puddle just off in the woods is clearly just ILSF. It’s only half the size now and had no signs of activity. Case closed.

4-13-08,

Glenwood Cemetery Road, Cemetery Commission needs to repair roadway and water washout into the fire pond. Will line roadway with siltation fencing and dig a trench, to be stone filled, to direct that water from direct entry into the pond. Will also slant the road so that less run-off will proceed towards the pond. Will submit request for emergency repair. Dan Harju, Tim, Cathy and Roberta

Site Visits Needed:

Thursday, April 24, 2008 – 6:00

Ellen Sullivan, 892 West Road

April 26, 2008 after Blood Hill Clean up:

Whitman and Bingham on 316 Whitney Road NOI for septic replacement Holmes property

Tim will call to schedule this one:

Request for COC for Dermody on Simonds Rd – drive to two house lots with a wetland crossing.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:45pm

Respectfully Submitted,

Roberta Flashman

The Ashby Conservation Commission and the Harris Center for Conservation Education of Harris, NH will be leading a hike on Blood Hill this coming Sunday. People interested should meet at the Town Hall in the center of Ashby by 9:00am.

The hike will explore some of the areas of the Wiita Conservation Area on Blood Hill that are off the beaten path, including 3 vernal pools and 2 old cellar holes.

It may be windy at the top, but the view is worth it. Bring a lunch and we’ll find a suitable place to stop and eat.

The hike may last until 2:00pm.

Wear warm clothing and be prepared for snow, mud and water. Spring weather is unpredictable.

Meeting was opened at 7:30pm with Roberta Flashman, Cathy Kristofferson and Bob Leary in attendance.

Minutes of the meeting of March 19, 2008 were reviewed and accepted as written – unanimously.

Treasurer’s Report: nothing to report

Correspondence:

Call and email from Ross Associates, Neil Gorman, plans for septic replacement on Deer Bay Rd and septic upgrade and garage at 540 Wheeler Road – Rich Finney, owner.

Old Business:

Letter from Stan Herriot, Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant, with a request to appear before the Commission seeking permission to do a study for a wind power project on Blood Hill. Presentation at a May 7th meeting of the Commission with the BHMC invited to attend. The Commission reviewed the prohibited uses of the Conservation Restriction and the Land Management Plan, both of which have the following paragraph under prohibited uses:

Constructing or placing of any building, tennis court, landing strip, mobile home, swimming pool, septic system, road, fence, billboard or other advertising display, utility, conduit, pole, tower, windmill, temporary or permanent structure or facility on, above or below ground, or sign or gate, or asphalt or concrete pavement other than those erected or authorized by the Land Management Committee;

The CR’s language is slightly different, in that it does not cover signs, but does include asphalt or concrete pavement in with the rest of the restricted structures. And, unlike the management plan, it does not allow for any of these structures to be authorized or erected by the Land Management Committee.

A further prohibition is included in the management plan that would also make this proposal a non-starter:

Cutting, removing or otherwise destroying trees or other vegetation;

Since the proposal states that the initial test site would require 250 sq feet of cleared area for supporting the pole with guy wire, and an eventual tower would require a larger area for construction of a building and a tower, there is no way this could be done within the confines of the Conservation Restriction or the Management Plan.

Roberta will forward a copy of the minutes with the section underlined as a response to their request. There doesn’t appear to be any reason to move any further on this issue, as the CR restricts this use.

210 Scott Rd Septic system (new site) Ross Associates. – not in a rush.

Snowmobile meeting date April 30,2008 @7:00 p.m. at Willard Brook Headquarters.

Board of Health and Damon Pond. Cathy having talked with the BOH Chair. Mary Krapf called again and will tell Cathy when a meeting with Rep Rice will occur. MRPC might have some interest in this project as well.

Ernie Pappas of Lunenburg Riders has walked the trails and confirmed that it is not on the property. So, will use the existing trails rather than further pursuing use and cutting of trails on Blood Hill. The next step is meeting with the Mt. Watatic Management Committee.

Fitchburg Planning Coordinator, a notice of a meeting (4-2-08 at 7:30) regarding the creation of CRs on land in Fitchburg and Ashby. Tim had responded and requested maps. Also responded that we are in favor of the CR, with presumption that a Land Trust (North County?) would take on the monitoring.

New Business:

Cathy needs to talk with Willard Brook State Park about the culvert project. All of the culverts are ok, but the job needs to be finished. One of the culverts has a collection hole at the entrance to it that was dug too deep, resulting in pooling in front of the culvert. There is some standing water along the side of Valley Rd, but no flowing water. This is a good sign that the water is being kept off the road by the now functioning culverts. Also, there has not been ice on the road this year as a result of the culverts being fixed. Bruce Colburn installed the culverts, but still needs to do some addition work to refine the job.

Roberta would like the Commission to co-sponsor a hike with the Harris Center for Conservation Education from Harris, NH on Sunday, April 6, 2008 at Blood Hill. Motion made and seconded. Unanimous vote in favor of the motion. Roberta will post signs and mention it at the Land Trust meeting.

Cathy has been identifying vernal pools on the Fort Hill property that has been most recently acquired by Willard Brook State Park. Identified 4 from potential sites identified by orthophotography and one more.

Hearings:

Continued from 3-19-08, @ 8:00pm, NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299. Further continued to April 16, 2008 @ 8:00pm.

Hearings Scheduled:

April 16, 2008 @ 8:00pm, NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299.

April 16, 2008 @ 8:30pm, NOI expected from Jack Maloney of Whitman and Bingham. No details on the property involved.

Report on Site Visits:

There were none.

Site Visits Needed:

Will try to do the visits on Saturday starting at 8:30pm meeting at the Town Offices in this order.

  • NOI for Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) Septic system. – plans
  • Pending 210 Scott Rd (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.) – June Craigen, client (owner?)
  • COC 860 Fitchburg State Road. – log cabin.
  • Septic Upgrade and Garage at 540 Wheeler Rd. – Rich Finney, owner. (Neil Gorman, Ross Assoc.)
  • Wares Rd potential property for Habitat for Humanity. Alan Pease had requested the site visit.
  • Bingham and Whitman on Erickson Road questioning RDA or NOI.

Cathy will call Neil Gorman to confirm his 3 sites and Bob will call the COC.

Meeting was adjourned at 9:00pm

Respectfully submitted,

Roberta Flashman

The meeting opened at 7:30pm with Roberta Flashman, Cathy Kristofferson, Tim Bauman and Bob Leary in attendance.

Minutes of the meeting of March 5, 2008 were accepted, with a change to the date of the last minutes’ acceptance, unanimously.
NOTE: All the minutes that were posted to this blog for this year were also found to have the date of accepted minutes recorded incorrectly and have been corrected.

Treasurer’s Report: nothing to report.

Correspondence:

Calls from Claire Lavin and a prospective buyer regarding adding a garage to the house on 7 Piper Road (Mary Damon property). The buyer called 2 members and both told him that it might be possible. Roberta told him that filing a RFD would be a quick and inexpensive way to determine what was possible and “lock in” that possibility for 3 years.

Call from Stan Herriot, Ashburnham Municipal Light Plant, with a request to appear before the Commission seeking permission to do a study for a wind power project on Blood Hill. Claims that U of Mass has done a study siting that Blood Hill is the best location in the area, assuming that Mt. Watatic is not available. The Chair asked for a request in writing with the possibility of a presentation at a May meeting of the Commission. We should attempt to have members of the Blood Hill Management Committee present at such a meeting.

Old Business:

Materials have been received for Certificate Of Compliance for 860 Fitchburg State Road.

210 Scott Rd Septic system (new site) Ross Associates – Tim drove by the site this past week and there was still a significant snow cover. Will try to schedule a site visit for the last weekend in March.

New Business:

Chair will not be at the 4-2-08 meeting

Follow up on Mary Kraft’s suggestion that Damon Pond could be kept cleaner for swimming. Cathy had attended a session at the MACC conference suggesting ways of improving water quality. Cathy opened discussions with Mary Kraft, but things haven’t progressed much since then.

Ernie Pappas of Harvard Snowmobile Club and Melvin Bertram of Lunenburg Riders appear before the Commission to talk about Snowmobiling on Town Property and snowmobiling, in general, in the Town of Ashby. The Blood Hill Management Committee (BHMC) had also been invited to attend this evening’s meeting, but no one from the BHMC attended, with the exception of Roberta. Initially they wanted to talk about the possibility of cutting a trail through the Blood Hill property to ultimately connect to Mt Watatic. However, they spent a significant amount of time talking about the nature of their club, its membership and their activities. Both clubs are connected with Snowmobile Assoc. of Mass (SAM). They are family oriented clubs. They have extended their trails from Lunenburg to Pearl Brook State Park. They have liability insurance, through SAM, which covers land owner liability in the event that someone is injured and attempts to sue the property owner for damages. They would like to contact private land owners for access in addition to access to town and the state lands. They have worked with the Harvard Conservation Commission to build bridges on the conservation lands to make crossing streams with snowmobiles less damaging. There was discussion of routes now under use by snowmobilers. It was unclear whether the trails in use actually cross Blood Hill. But, they would still like to have the support of the Commission. And they would like to partner with the Conservation Commission on projects. A note of interest: to ride on non-state land, snowmobilers have to be a member of SAM or an affiliated club or written permission on their person from the land owner. Would like to walk Blood Hill. Ernie Pappas will arrange a walk with Cathy to discover what trails are actually in use at this time. They will probably go this weekend, while there is still a little snow left on the ground to show evidence of snowmobile use.

Several comments from members of the Blood Hill Management Committee were emailed to the Commission following the scheduling of Mr. Pappa’s discussion were received by the Commission. Of the 4 received, 3 were against creating new trails for snowmobiles because of the likely use of those trails by people riding all terrain vehicles.

Hearings:

3-19-08, @ 8:00pm, NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299. Opened and continued for 4/2/08 to, hopefully allow the Commission to conduct a site visit without snow cover.

Hearings Scheduled:

8:00pm, 4/2/08 – Continuation of Cordio hearing.

Report on Site Visits:

3-13-08

Cathy and Tim conducted a site visit at 56 Ingerson Road to view flooding on property of Allan Dawson. After inspection of the flooding and a culvert blocked with snow plowed from the road, they suggested that the Highway Dept or land owner could solve the problem by clearing the snow from the culvert. Refused to give consent to the owner to create a “pond” to hold the water.

Tim drove 210 Scott Road. Little or no bare ground visible on the property.

Tim looked at the Cordio property. Still all snow-covered.

Site Visits Needed:

210 Scott Rd

Deer Bay Road – NOI for Cordio (Ross Associates) Septic system upgrade.

860 Fitchburg State Road – Certificate of Compliance

Erickson Road – Bingham and Whitman question about whether the project would require an RDA or NOI.


Meeting was adjourned at 9:01pm

Respectfully submitted,

Roberta Flashman

Meeting opened at 7:35 with Bob, Cathy, Tim and Roberta in attendance.

Minutes of the meeting of February 20, 2008 were accepted unanimously as amended.

Treasurer’s Report: $45.45 expended from the budget for transportation to MACC for the Commission on March 1, 2008.

Correspondence:

We received an invoice from ESRI stating that we had a $0.00 balance. We have received a year’s update at no cost to the town thanks to Cathy. From Kale Flordelis: “You are correct. The MACMAPP agreement does include the second year of maintenance. Your account has been updated to reflect this. Your maintenance is now current through 4/30/09.” This was a savings of $410.00. To get the next year at no cost (April 30, 2009), we would have to provide updates to the GIS mapping in terms of the Ashby Open Space.

Received a phone call from Ernie Pappas (Northfield Rd) who is a member of the Lunenburg Trail Riders. He wanted to know the policy on snowmobiling on town land. He would like to talk with Cons Comm and the Blood Hill Management Committee about the possibility of cutting a trail to ultimately connect to Mt Watatic. Preliminary responses from the Blood Hill Mgmt Comm. appear to be against the idea. There is a 4 wheel drive road off Piper Rd that might be an alternative. They have been put on the agenda for the March 19th meeting @ 8:00pm.

Copy of the “Town of Ashby Comments on Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps dated September 28, 2007.” The report submitted by Andy Leonard and signed by the BOS January 9, 2008. Cathy’s maps were included in the report.

Old Business:

Materials received for Certificate Of Compliance for 860 Fitchburg State Road.

Follow up on MACC March 1st Conference attended by the present members of the Commission. The quality of the presentations varied, but that is usual for these kinds of conferences. Cathy attended a presentation that suggested how to use the Wildlife Habitat Guidance.

Subcommittee of Watatic Management Committee for Snowmobile Issues will be meeting on Wednesday, March 12, 7:00 p.m. at Willard Brook Headquarters.

New Business:

March 28,2008 in Auburn Town Hall is a MASGIS presentation CAD and GIS interoperability. Cathy would like to attend and will try to go with Andrew Leonard.

Cathy wanted to follow up on Mary Kraft’s suggestion that Damon Pond could be kept cleaner for swimming. Cathy had attended a session at the MACC conference suggesting ways of improving water quality.

Plans for clean-up at Blood Hill on April 26th. Start at 9:00am. Have to call Murray & Sons for a dumpster and put up posters and emails. Tim will handle the publicity. Roberta will make arrangements for a dumpster.

Cathy presented the baseline report for the Lyman Property. There is one copy complete with a history of the acquisition and all the deeds preceding the deed to the Lyman’s and the Town. Excellent job! She will try to certify the vernal pool this year.

Hearings:

3-5-08, @ 8:00pm, NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299. Opened the hearing. No one was in attendance at the meeting except for Commission Members. The hearing was continued until the site visit can be conducted with open ground. Continued to 3-19-08 @ 8:30pm.

Hearings Scheduled:

3-19-08 @ 8:30pm Continuation of hearing for NOI for Garry Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) DEP File # 93-299

Report on Site Visits: None

Site Visits Needed:

Pending Scott Rd (see above) – to be delayed until the spring – or bare ground.

NOI for Cordio on Deer Bay Road (Ross Associates.) Septic system.

COC, 860 Fitchburg State Road.

Bingham and Whitman on Erickson Road questioning RDA or NOI.

Meeting was adjourned at 8:43pm.

Respectfully Submitted,

Roberta Flashman