TOWN OF OTIS
04/20/2021 MEETING MINUTES
Location: Otis Town Hall, One North Main Road, Otis ** Remote Meeting Via Zoom ***
Conservation Commission Members present: Dave Sarnacki, Roger Meyer, Domenic Battista, Bruce Wall, Jennifer Cole (new alternate Commissioner) and Jeff Laramy.
Conservation Commission Members absent: None.
Staff and others present: Kristen Brown OCC Admin Secretary; Daniel Giusti; Don Chaffee w/Chaffee Construction; Mark Volk w/Foresight Land Services, Inc.; Emily Stockman w/Stockman & Associates, LLC; Sharon DeLevie; Marc Fenton; others in attendance unknown, as not announced, nor signed-in with a full name on the Zoom application.
Opening items/Introduction of Commission members and staff. Dave opened the meeting at 6:00 p.m., and noted that the meeting is being recorded. The deadline for applications for the May 19, 2021 meeting is on Wednesday May 5, 2021 @ 6:00 PM. The next office hours, for the May 19, 2021 meeting, is also Wednesday May 5, 2021 from 6:00 –9:00 PM. ** Office hours will be conducted remotely until further notice; in person meetings will be held by appointment only ** Dave introduced the members of the commission, and asked everyone to turn off/down their cell phones for the duration of the meeting.
Minutes: Dave made a motion to approve minutes from the March 16, 2021 meeting; RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the minutes from the March 16, 2021 meeting.
- Before commencing with the hearings, Dave made a motion to change the order of business, and move the following hearing into the opening position: Public Hearing – NOI – Continued from April 20 Meeting – Submitted by Daniel Giusti, 1555 West Center Road, map 6 lot 172, regarding the installation of a WLC device, to mitigate beaver dam flooding, in the resource area of Benton Brook. Roger 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to change the order of business, putting 1555 W. Center Road at the open of business. Dave proceeded to open this hearing and commented that since we are still waiting for the final info back from the site inspection(s) set to take place with the 3rd party peer reviewer, Emily Stockman (who is also in attendance of this meeting on behalf of another applicant), who agreed that yes, she has to complete the inspection this month, so it would be best to continue this until the May 2021 meeting. Dan asked if the site inspection was still on for Friday 23, 2021 as he would like to attend, and Emily confirmed that yes, that is indeed the date of the inspection. Dan asked one question: Is he responsible for abutter notification on the NOI work? Per KBB, yes, Dan is responsible for all abutter notification, to all abutting neighbors. Dan is clear that this is his responsibility. Therefore, Dave made a motion to continue this hearing until the May 19, 2021 meeting; RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this hearing util the 5/19/21 meeting.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Submitted by Chaffee Construction on behalf of Matt & Annett Lilly, 21 Chestnut Lane, map 16C lot 2, regarding repairs to existing dock including replacement of all decking, within the BZ of OR. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Dave indicated that there were no notes stemming from the site inspection, and RM interrupted to state that the Commission could not really tell what was being proposed for work, based on what they observed, so they need clarification as to what work is being requested. Dave asked if Don Chaffee was in attendance, and he is not. Therefore, Dave wants to give the applicant a chance to respond to these questions, and made a motion to continue this hearing until the 5/19/21 meeting. RM/BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this hearing until the 5/19/21 meeting.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Submitted by Justin Hyland on behalf of Matt & Annett Lilly, 21 Chestnut Lane, map 16C lot 2, regarding landscaping work within the BZ of OR. Dave opened this hearing and asked the Commission if there were any questions stemming from the site inspection, and per RM, yes, they will need more specific info on exactly what work is being requested; the RDA was too vague, and the site was not flagged out at all, in any way, to assist the Commission with understanding this request. Dave asked if Justin Hyland was in attendance, or anyone else on behalf of this RDA, and with none being stated, Jeff noted that applicant would also need to stay above HWM (High Water Mark) in order to avoid having to file for a permit through MA DCR. BW also noted that they will need the plans of where they are working as well. KB will contact applicant to advise what is needed to move forward. Per Dave, with that being said, he made a motion to continue this hearing until the 5/19/21 meeting, so that more info could be obtained on the specific work being requested on this RDA. TM & BW 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this hearing to the 5/19/21 meeting.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Submitted by Foresight Land Services on behalf of George Martin, 1010 Reservoir Road, map 15 lot 45, regarding the drilling of a deep well & installation of water & electric lines within the BZ of OR. Dave opened this hearing and asked the Commission if there were any questions stemming from the site inspection. Per RM, yes, where is the slurry pit going, and what will be done with the fines, since there is very little space where they are putting this well, and it is right next to a spring, that dumps directly into Otis Reservoir. Therefore, RM has questions, how are they doing this and what are they doing with the drillings/fines. Dave asked if anyone is in attendance for this hearing, and Mark Volk w/Foresight Land is in attendance on behalf of applicant. Dave asked Mark to address Roger’s comments/questions. Per Mark, the location is the only real place they could install the well. They are proposing to contain the slurry with sand-bags, and beyond the sand-bags, they are proposing two sets of wattles, stretching along the drainage culvert that comes across the road and discharges into OR. The wattles are between the proposed well location and the storm water discharge. Then wattles proposed between the water line and the Reservoir. Per RM, there is a spring that discharges into that culvert, which runs constantly; and he is very concerned with how they will contain the fines/drillings, and keep them from getting into the spring discharge. Per RM there is a lot of discharge with well drilling, and he does not believe that sand-bags are going to handle the volume of debris that will be created with this well drilling. Mark Volk indicated that the contractor would then have to remove the debris from the site as they drill it, and if Concom made that a condition, they would abide. Per MV, Otis BOH approved the well, as there was no other place to put it. Dave noted that there is another deep well within 4’ of this proposed well. Dave then asked, if applicant already has a deep well, why are they now looking to drill a second deep well? Per Mark, applicant does NOT have a deep well and in fact does not have any water source currently; the deep well that is already there, as noted approx. 4’ away, is not applicant’s well – it is an abutter’s well. Marc apologized for the scale on the plans, but that well is indeed on an abutter’s property. This specific lot has a shallow well, where water has to be drawn and carried to the house. Mark repeated that there is NO DEEP WELL on this property. Dave indicated that applicant should submit a modified plan to account for the removal of debris as it is created. Mark asked if a condition could be added to an approval for this piece, but Dave stated that the Commission wants to have revised plans on hand, that show specifically how the debris will be removed/handled as created. Per BW, he is also uncomfortable with approving prior to getting revised plans, that show specifically what they are going to do. Dave asked Mark if he can request a continuance and send the Commission revised plans that state specifically how the debris from the well drilling will be handled. Per Mark, yes, they will request a continuance and send the Commission revised plans. Therefore, Dave made a motion continue this hearing until the 5/19/2021 meeting; RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this hearing until the 5/19/21 meeting.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Submitted by Stearns Construction on behalf of Michael Boyes, 44 Highland Way, map 10E lot, regarding the installation of a 10’ x 15’ BR extension to existing dwelling, within the 200’ resource area of Benton Brook. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Dave noted that there were no questions or concerns, and RM agreed that everything looked good on this one, and no concerns. Therefore, Dave made a motion for a -3 determination with the following conditions: no heavy equipment in any resource areas; debris to be removed immediately; OCC reserves the right to inspect property for 3 years from date of approval. RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to issue a -3 determination with the above conditions.
- Public Hearing – RDA – Continued from March 16, 2021 Meeting – Submitted by Doot Construction on behalf of Robert Sadock, 20 Phelps Drive, map 7A lot 8, regarding the 12’ x 26’ addition to existing house on a non-conforming lot, within the BZ of Watson Pond. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicant to address the Commission. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicants to address the Commission. Per KB, applicant proposed work was denied by Otis BOH, therefore, they have to submit alternative plans for this project; applicant requests a continuance until the next meeting. Therefore, Dave made a motion to continue this hearing to the May 19, 2021 meeting. RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this hearing to the 5/19/21 meeting.
- Public Hearing – NOI – Continued from March 16, 2021 Meeting Submitted by Emily Stockman with Stockman & Assocs., LLC, on behalf of Hayes Pond North Group C/O Sharon Delevie, Hayes Pond North, regarding the management of invasive & natural aquatic plant species within a specific area of Hayes Pond. Dave opened this hearing and invited applicants to address the Commission. Emily Stockman with Stockman & Associates introduced herself to the Commission, as the representative on behalf of the applicant(s) in this matter. Emily proceeded to give a short overview of the project, to bring everyone up to speed, with the basic details which include mechanical harvesting of the invasive species Bladderwort & Phragmites, the use of benthic barriers and hand-pulling of the growth where applicable. Upon Emily’s overview of the NOI, Dave again noted that several community members were in attendance of this meeting, specifically for this hearing, some in support, and some opposed. Some may wish to speak, and the Commission will give some time to allow for a couple opinions pro and con, to speak. With that being said, Marc Fenton asked to be heard. Marc indicated that he had conversations with Emily Stockman & Sharon DeLevie on this project (as well as many others in on the conversation), and said that he is currently speaking on his personal behalf, and that he is the President of the Hayes Pond Community Association, which is an association of about 40 families in and around Hayes Pond, but again is speaking on his own behalf. He continued, as quoted: “First of all, I would say that we certainly agree, that we want to do everything we can to minimize any damage to the Pond; and to make that clear about two years ago we commissioned a study with SWCA environmental consultants to study the water, to study the water quality, to study all the vegetation in the Pond, and they gave the Pond incredibly high marks, and I think I gave a copy of that study to the Commission (Marc did provide a copy of this study to the Commission, and it is part of the property file), and gave the Pond incredibly high marks for the Pond, and for all the local vegetation there except for Phragmites, which is invasive. They stated the vegetation made the Pond almost drinkable quality, and it was good for the critters in the Pond. So, we agree with Emily that the Pond is in good shape and we want to keep it in good shape. There is a number of things about the proposal that I find odd; the first is that, the applicant – there is no Hayes Pond North Association – there is one applicant, and the applicant proposes that there is a 29-acre pond management plan, which is more than half of the great pond, well more than half. So, I find that unusual, that a single homeowner would be proposing a management plan for more than half the great pond. The other thing is that the 7.6 acres of vegetation proposed to be removed, is healthy vegetation – I do understand that it gets in the way of some people swimming… illegible…I kayak through there, when I am up there every day… illegible There are people who swim from the bottom of the pond and back and completely have no trouble doing that. But I know that it restricts some of the swimming. The vegetation is no more harmful than the pollen – it is harmful to some of the swimming. The other thing is that the application, if I understand things, with the order, you can put conditions on it; I don’t know how you can out conditions on it as it is not clear what is being done where – Emily is correct: there is a toolbox of stuff: you do not know what is going to be eco-harvested, you have no idea where the benthic mats are going to be, and you have no idea where the hand-pulling is going to be. And when I talk to people whom are interested in this, nobody wants to do any hand-pulling. So, I don’t know how you put conditions on this to make sure that it comes out right. I do think that there are less damaging ways than using the eco-harvester, the way that it is being used to correct some of the problems that several people have at the northern end of the pond, and it is a small number of people, and you know, right by their docks, I understand that there needs to be stuff removed and we have no problem with that but we should look at a less damaging way t do this and pulling up 7.6 acres of natural local healthful vegetation is not the answer, in our view, er, in my view, I should say. I think we should look for less damaging ways to do it, and that is all I have to say for now.” Dave thanked Marc for his comments, and stated that he thinks we are going to change this a little bit: just as far as the applicant, I want to say this and this is the opinion of me as the Chairman of the Concom, the applicant following the guidelines of the WPA, she is trying to be very inclusive from what I have seen, they have been very inclusive with everyone involved, whether in favor or against, and she did not do just by the seat of her pants, she hired someone we have dealt with before, Stockman & Associates, who are very reputable consultants. While I understand your concerns, and I do want to give Emily the opportunity, but I’d like also to give someone from the Commission a chance to weigh in, and that is Jennifer Rivers Cole, our new alternate Commissioner; Jennifer is currently a professor at a MA university, and is proficient in Wetlands Science. Go ahead Jennifer. Jennifer speaks: Hi everyone, thank you for having me here; I have reviewed the NOI, and I am a little late to the game but I think that this falls definitively under the provision in the WPA, that is 10.534, which is resource area improvements. I think that – are you all on septic on this pond? – yeah – so the nutrients coming from your septic systems are going into the pond and are causing this growth, and I think that, you know it is similar to weeding a garden, to use an eco-harvester to pull out some of these weeds is going to ultimately make it more conducive to rare species. There is something wrong in this pond that is making the Bladderwort grow out of control, and to remove it, and then also to think about nitrogen levels, and phosphorus levels that I saw on the NOI, and in some people’s comments, is a good idea, but ultimately, it just doesn’t sound like a big deal to me, to improve this resource that you all share, by taking away some of these weeds. I have read Dr. Kiviak’s (Sp?) letter about the concerns of the possibility of rare species – it is more likely that this Bladderwort is actually endangering the rare species by taking over to the extent that it has, and so I agree, this is something that is, as Dave said, it is simply the Conservation Commission having to weigh in and support a full regulation. To me, looking at this, the performance standards and it seems like a great way to improve your pond that you all share. I guess I don’t understand the opposition to it, and it is curious to me, the opposition. I would love to hear reasons why people do not want this aside from neighbor interactions. Is there some reason that the Conservation Commission should not allow this work to happen, based on the regulations (of the WPA) that are all the Concom has to work with. The Concom is not in the business of getting in between neighbors and interactions between neighbors. We just uphold the Wetlands Protection Act. And this in an area that is identified as “land under water” and the performance standards with regard to land under water, I am not sure WHY there was even an NOI submittal. Sharon and Emily, you have done a great job with explaining this all, but you can pull these weeds out without an NOI; so, I think that the transparency has been good. I guess I can say that I haven’t seen anything in the opposition – that I have been privy to – that speaks to the regulations, and that shows that there is some harm. I have seen a lot of these cases where people are using copper derivatives and pesticides and herbicides in the water, and THAT IS BAD. Even though some of the pesticides are labelled as safe. I think that would be cause for alarm, for people that live on Hayes Pond, but hand-pulling and eco-harvesting are the same thing – your mechanically removing weeds – and in addition, you actually removing the waste from the pond. You’re taking it away from the pond so you are making this pond heathier by removing this excess. I did a lot of my research back over the years in Wetland Environments and Coastal Environments, and the upper couple of centimeters of the bladderwort are photosynthetic plants so unless you have good penetration of light, the stuff underneath is dying, is finessing, is causing oxygen to be depleted. Because when you’re breaking down this Bladderwort, you are needing oxygen to break down the organics; so, this Bladderwort getting there to the extent it has is what is robbing your pond of oxygen. I get what you are trying to say Marc, that someone is presuming to act on behalf of the over 40 members of the community – completely understand that, but I will tell you that if somebody was pulling out Bladderwort from my Pond, I would give them a round of applause. I would just say that as a reasonable, balanced approach to management of this pond, I think it would be in the Community’s best interest to allow this work to go ahead unborn – I would putting $$ in, if I were on this pond. I teach a course at Harvard called Wetlands Science and Policy, I am teaching it right now, and I was actually showing them some of this NOI, as this a good management strategy; so, I was holding this up to be what I consider an effective management strategy in a pond. I teach that ponds fill in, and they fill in due to excess nutrients and the plants go crazy for this, and they build up and they will literally fill in your pond if left unchecked. I can bring you to stands of Phragmites all over Otis, that used to be little ponds and now they are ponds no longer. So, if you want this pond to remain, and if you want to pass this on to your children and your grandchildren, as a person, I would get onboard with this project. As someone speaking on behalf of Concom, and as I stated earlier, the regulations (10.534) allow for this type of resource area improvements. End Comments. Marc Fenton then Jumped in to say I just have two questions Jennifer, thank you for your comments: did you read the study that SWCA did on the quality of water in Hayes Pond from 2019? Per Jenn, she saw the study and that it was compared to another study by Don Roder (Sp?) and Bob Schmidt (Sp?) who are actually dear friends of mine, former professors, and I know that the phosphorus levels are low but the thing is what your doing is you have these banks, where of course the water columns of phosphorus levels are low, because the plants are going crazy taking it up. But now you have a situation where the biogeochemistry is such that the phosphorus is locked into the Bladderwort; and to get that out of there, will ensure that your phosphorus levels remain low. To leave it in there to the point that it becomes unhealthy and builds up and starts to die and decompose, I will tell you for certain, your phosphorus levels are going to rise. Marc asked: do you think there is another way to remove the Bladderwort besides using an eco-harvester? Jenn’s Response: you could hand pull, but that is back-breaking work; that would be like saying let’s move away from industrialized agriculture and all go back to sowing seeds by hand. Believe me, I am no fan of technology, but, in this case, the small paddleboat, you’re talking about a small paddleboat that is cleaned with bleach and simple green (which is underrated) and this is the most reasonable method. Certainly, you could all get together, all members of the community, and pull these yourselves. However, stepping on the bottom, you’re going to be stepping on salamanders, and any of the domestic creatures that live in the bottom of the pond; so, this (eco-harvesting) is the least intrusive as it sits on the surface, and takes the bladderwort away. So, certainly, I think that this (eco-harvesting) is the least invasive method. End Jenn Response. Marc Fenton then stated: I appreciate that, I know you haven’t looked at the pond, but in your experience, how often would this have to be done, annually, every couple of years? Cause your saying it comes from the septic systems, it’s encouraged by the septic systems. Jenn’s response: Right, I wouldn’t weigh in on that, but I see the management plan calls for annually and I think that is a great number, maybe every two years. The plan calls for two days of eco-harvesting – is that even enough? So, in my opinion, I think this is under-treating for now. I think it is a very conservative number of days, and I think that it will require trial and error. I have seen these things (and been doing this for) 25 years, that people tend to seal themselves in a bunker and just say no. It would be really nice if you could all come together and build a community around the management of this pond, and help out and support this endeavor, to keep the pond healthy. End Jenn Response. Marc Fenton comments: we have built a community around it – which is why we commissioned the study. Jenn Comment: Yeah, great, excellent, excellent; this is a really, I think this is a conservative, careful, balanced step in the right direction, towards the continued management of this pond. I would want to buy a place there if I saw this. If you want this pond to remain, my personal opinion is that I would get on board with this; with my Concom hat on, and speaking from the Conservation Commission, the project meets the resource area improvements standards, and it is carefully balanced, based upon the Wetlands Regulations. So, turning this back to Chairman Sarnacki. End Jenn’s Comments. Sharon DeLevie asked to be heard, and Dave allowed Sharon to address the Commission/community: Thank you to the Commission and to Jennifer; we appreciate your time. I wanted to mention that we could only do the eco-harvesting for two days, as we really cannot afford to do more than that – it is extremely expensive to use an eco-harvester and we are only six (6) families of the 40 that are willing to pay for it (eco-harvesting). So, we are kind of on our own there; so even if we need more than the two days, we can’t. So, that is something to keep in mind (when looking at the scope of work). I just wanted to give a little statement, I am Sharon DeLevie and I am the daughter of Arya Jones DeLevie (SP?). Thank you so much for listening to our application and thoughtfully considering our request, I know that things must be very crazy for you in these times so I really appreciate it. I am representing the Hayes Pond North Group, and our request for the ability to make this beautiful man-made pond swimmable once again for everyone. My parents built their house over 30 years ago and promptly fell in love with it, quickly becoming a part of the community. Some of you may remember my mom Jo, who created the whiskey barrel flower project, as part of the Otis Beautification Community. She really loved how beautiful and exceptional Otis was, and that was at Hayes Pond where she swam every day, and also where she taught my children to swim. For the past two (2) years it has gotten increasingly dangerous to go in there. My dad is 85 years old and swimming is the best exercise that he can do, but he can’t do it in what is currently growing on the North side. These weeds make it prohibitive for homeowners, as well as other Otis residents, and other visitors who regularly use the pond. What we hope to do is restore what the lake was originally created for, to be a beautiful, natural place of recreation and enjoyment. Thank you for your consideration. End Sharon Comments. Dave Responds: Thank you Sharon. Unless someone has a concern directly related to the provisions/regulations of the WPA, I do not really need to hear anymore in favor of this project, but if someone has a question or concern directly related to what Jenn said, please speak so now, otherwise I am going to move forward and make a motion. Owen Parker spoke up to state that he has a few issues with this project. Dave stated for Owen Parker to go ahead. Owen’s direct Comments: So, we asked outside consultants to look over the NOI for us and he had some pretty glaring issues with it. I believe that we have sent his letter to the Commission, and I believe it is on the record with you guys can I confirm that with you or not. Dave’s Response: I am not aware of it in form at this moment, but what I asked Owen is if you have specific questions or concerns, then raise those specific questions or concerns. Owen Response: Okay, sure. The first is mostly concerned with the eco-harvester, namely that nowhere in the NOI do I see that is addressed, the draft of that is 10” wide, and that is already shallower than that of the proposed management areas. So, while Jennifer claims that the harvester will stay on top of the water, she is wrong. Dave interrupted to Respond: first of all, I want to stop you right there, (Owen tried to continue over Dave and finish) you’re not going to finish as I will mute you. What you are not going to do is tell someone that they are wrong; that is your opinion (Owen interrupted again) Dave reiterated let me finish or I will mute you and I will end this debate. You are not going to be disrespectful on this call; I am going to tell you that right now, we will entertain debate and I don’t mind differences of opinion, in debate, but you will not tell somebody with one hell of a resume (on this subject) that she is wrong. And, second of all, if you look at the applicant and you listen to the talk, they went above and beyond, while there is a question of whether this even falls under requirements of a Notice of Intent. But the applicant decided to err on the side of caution and transparency, and filed the NOI. So, I am going to caution you – ask a specific question, ad do not tell me who is right or who is wrong, that is your opinion; and now I will let you continue. Owen Parker responds: Pardon me. Dave asked Owen: would you like to continue? Owen responds: I would like to continue, yes. Per Dave: OK, please ask a specific question, and we will try to provide you with an answer. Owen Response: is there a plan for if the harvester hits the lake bottom? Dave asked Emily if she would like to respond. Per Emily: Owen thank you for voicing those concerns, I believe this was mentioned during one of our community discussions, and I did my utmost to touch upon this in my original presentation this evening. So, within the overall management plan, we have defined that the eco-harvester will only be operating where Bladderwort does present egregious and that coincides with the water depth of three (3) to six (6) feet. This conditioning has also been provided to the Conservation Commission in writing as part of the complete Notice of Intent packet. Dave asked Mr. Parker if that answered his question. Per Owen: I have some other questions as well. Per Dave: Go ahead. All right, another question is – so looking at the water report from the nineties, and the one most recently, it does appear that there is some pick-up, in I believe it was, in phosphorus. So, if that has gone up, how do we prevent everything from growing back pretty much immediately. Because looking at very shallow areas, that have been exposed to light, is like a lens area <illegible>. Dave responded: Mr. Parker, I believe that question has been asked and answered. Ms. Cole said, a lot of this is due to the septic (systems) and the nutrients coming therefrom, and unfortunately, you have to realize, what we are looking at for the issue at hand, will it need to be done a year or so from now, I think that has been addressed as well, very well, maybe this will need to be an annual project, as already discussed. From what I understood from the conversation, this high levels of nutrients from the septic run-off is not going to go away, and other than poisoning the lake with pesticides, you are using what the applicant and her consultant deem as the least invasive way to deal with the issue. I think that was also well articulated by Ms. Cole. So, there are no guarantees. I understand that there are questions, but what we have is the matter at hand in front of us today. Perhaps in the future there will be need to address again, but hopefully, your community will grow and you will be able to address it as a community. Anyway, the question has been asked and answered. Bruce Wall asked to weigh in: it was mentioned about the phosphorus going up, they have not established a benchmark to even know where it is supposed to be. If you take a look at Otis Reservoir, they’ve been doing water testing for the past 30 plus years, every year, and when the state came to them and said they’d like to do water quality testing, we were more than happy to have them come in, and so a benchmark was established. This doesn’t have a benchmark – there are two reports, in the last five (5) years. So, I cannot see where this is a factor whatsoever in us looking at whether or not this is going to affect the quality of the water. Dave thanked Bruce for his comments. Dave allowed Mr. Parker to continue. Owen Parker responds: I understand, it has to a degree been answered. <illegible> people were given vague assurances that this would not be a yearly thing. Dave responded: again, Mr. Parker, that is not the issue in front of us. Whether it is yearly, if it becomes yearly, then they are going to have to come back in front of this Commission – maybe not, again, they sided on the err of caution by submitting a NOI, when they may not even have had to come before the Commission. Owen Parker responded: well then that falls under the <illegible>. Owen asked to be allowed to finish: you said that this was light-handed, but I believe that might be a mischaracterization, from what Jennifer said, it is likely going to have to happen again. They are going to have to bring that machine back in, again and again; and that does not appear to be a very light touch at all. And then there is the underlying of benthic mats. If we don’t address that then this isn’t going to stop. So, why not try for an even lighter hand, maybe we look at why this is happening in the first place and then apply <illegible> and then solve that issue. Roger Meyer Jumped in to say: The used to do a draw-down on that pond; they do not do that anymore because when they would draw-down the pond, it would flood the properties below the pond. And that is why they do not do that anymore on Hayes Pond. It is a man-made pond, are you picking up what I am putting down? Bruce Jumped in to say: if there is a problem, if the homeowner wants to know the root cause, and if this is being caused by septic tanks and leach-fields.. Roger interrupted Bruce here to say: I agree Bruce, and I think we should do a septic inspection on every home on Hayes Pond – that is what I think we should do. We had this problem on Otis Reservoir way back in the day, when septic systems were running into the lake, and now we do not have that issue on OR anymore, because we clamped down on septic systems, and ended the leaching into the lake. So, now, you just opened a can of worms. So, we should do that. Dave jumped back in to say: I would like to stop and take a pause for a second please. What is before us is the Notice of Intent. What the applicant and Ms. Stockman presented, will work, for the now. With whatever is going to take place in the future, we will deal with that at that time. The matter at hand is this Notice of Intent, and we all have opinions, but this is not the forum for opinions. I believe Emily did a great job presenting the facts, and I think Jennifer, who is an expert in this area, did a very good job articulating above and beyond. And, Mr. Parker, with all due respect, I think she has addressed all your presented issues. So, unless there are any more specific questions, I am going to end debate, and am going to move to make a motion. So, if there is any other concern that has NOT been addressed, please ask. Emily, you show you would like to speak, go ahead Emily. Emily Stockman states: David, if I may through the chair, I just want to respond to one of Mr. Parker’s comments/concerns regarding the annual use of a eco-harvester; I wanted to be very clear, that there were a number of discussions that the permit application allows for the use of the eco-harvester. With that said, if in year 2, the population (of invasive species) have been managed, and the use is not necessary, then the applicants are certainly not going to incur the cost of having the eco-harvester be used. But I just wanted to be very clear, that the Notice of Intent does allow for annual use, and that subsequent years will be monitored, and no one is interested in managing something that does not need management, from an ecological perspective as well as a financial one. With that said, the eco-harvester is limited to two days during the mid-summer months as already stated in the Notice of Intent. I just wanted to clarify that. Dave responded: Thank you, I appreciate you for being transparent. Bruce jumped in to state: Emily, just one more thing, how many hours per day will they operate the eco-harvester? Emily Responded: typically, an eight (8) hour day. Bruce responded: ok, and I believe in an hour, the optimum they can do is 1.5 acres? Emily responded: that is optimum; we have also noted that the harvester has the ability to reduce the speed to 1 to 2 MPH, so if there is an effort to slow the process, that will increase the time that it takes to complete the harvest. Bruce responded: Understood, thank you. Dave jumped in to say, unless there is an objection, I would like to end debate at this time, and would like to make a motion to grant the project in the NOI as presented/submitted, and issue an Order of Conditions, with our standard and Otis special conditions. Do I have a second? BW 2nd the motion, and the Commission voted unanimously to approve the project and issue an Order of Conditions with the standard and Otis special conditions.
- Public Hearing – NOI – Continued from March 16, 2021 Meeting – Submitted by Daniel Giusti, 1555 West Center Road, map 6 lot 172, regarding the installation of a WLC device, to mitigate beaver dam flooding, in the resource area of Benton Brook. This hearing was changed in the order of business, and handled first – see above for outcome.
Forest Cutting Plan
Extensions of Orders of Condition:
Certificate of Compliance Requests:
- Public Hearing – COC Request – Submitted by James & Kathryn Watkins, 10 S. Lake Avenue, map 18 lot 45, regarding the work approved under issued OOC 254-0438. Dave opened this hearing and asked the Commission if any issues – per the folder, no issues, all work was completed as approved. Therefore, Dave made a motion to approve and issue a COC for this project. DB 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve and issue a COC for this completed project.
- Public Hearing – COC Request – Submitted by Alexander S. Villar, 2501 Algerie Road, map 4 lot 1, regarding work approved and completed under OOC 254-236 in 2004 to Larry Stevens. Dave opened this hearing and asked the Commission if any issues – per the folder, no issues, all work was completed as approved. Therefore, Dave made a motion to approve and issue a COC for this project. JL 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to approve and issue a COC for this completed project.
- Public Hearing – Follow Up on Issued OOC 254-0369 – 64 Drive B, John Wagner – required to plant several of trees that were taken down without approval, as well as planting of native species in the north area of property, as per ordered under OOC issued 254-0369. Dave opened this hearing and invited anyone to address the Commission. Dave recommended to continue this until we can work with property owner to address additional plantings ordered under above Order. Therefore, he made a motion to continue this until the Commission has a chance to work with applicant to address the additional required plantings. RM 2nd the motion, and the Commission voted unanimously to continue this matter.
Next office hours: Wednesday, May 5, 2021 from 6-9 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.
Next meeting: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. at Otis Town Hall.
Dave made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 7:29 PM. RM 2nd the motion and the Commission voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting.