Chris Ford, who represents his brother Ted in the matter, has been going before the conservation commission for four (4) years.
The Cohasset Conservation commission will hold a continued hearing on July 10 at 8 p.m. Chris Ford, who represents his brother Ted in the matter, has been going before the conservation commission for four (4) years. Ford did get a storm water permit and a foundation permit, but now the conservation commission has other concerns. At the June 19th continued hearing Ford and his engineer and landscape architect introduced a new site plan.
Here are some facts.
- One of Ford’s abutters said he had learned that the sewer commissioners would not extend Ford’s sewer permit. This is not true. Once you have paid for a sewer permit it is yours. There are people with sewer permits all over town who have not acted upon them.
- Ford’s engineer Morse Engineering has now done four separate filings. Two of those filings involved a new house location that Ford thought the conservation commission might find more acceptable.
- Commissioners are concerned that Ford is cutting down Norway maples, an invasive species. Ford initially proposed a massive landscaping project that would have cleared out the invasive species and introduced all native plant species to the area. After commissioners complained at the last meeting, Ford’s landscaper, Brad Holmes (ECRHolmes.com) re-designed the area to allow some of the older Norway maples to remain. Now, commissioners are confused. At one point a commissioner suggested that commissioners personally mark the trees that could be removed. Holmes told commissioners that taking out only some of the invasive species would like a doctor taking out only some of the cancer he found and slowing the rest to spread. He added that when Norway maples are present, native plants cannot survive. Selectman Martha Gjesteby, liaison to the commission, reported that the Cohasset Community Garden Club also finds the tree to be extremely invasive.
- Commissioners claim that Ford has not paid some invoices from conservation since 2011. Ford said he has paid every invoice he has received. Nevertheless, ComCon chair Jack Creighton advised Ford that the commission would not be able to deal with him further until the invoices were paid. Engineer Gregory Morse asked that all invoices be given to Ford before the continued hearing on July 10. Apparently commissioners asked town counsel for a legal opinion on the Ford matter and now would like to charge Ford for the legal opinion.
- There is a water stub on the property at the driveway into Ford property. Morse Engineering has long assumed water and sewer would enter the property at that location. Water and sewer line trenches would enter into the 100 foot buffer zone, a proposed work zone. Commissioners suggested that water and sewer enter the property another way, but that other way would require Ford to drill (expensively) through ledge and it would impact natural vegetation. Earlier in the evening an application for new construction at 23-25 Elm Street, that abuts water, sailed through the commission in 10 minutes. Commissioners had no problem with work being done in the 50-foot buffer zone at 23-25 Elm. Further, installation of water and sewer lines is not considered be construction. This of course shows that Ford is being held to higher standards.
- Ford offered to bring in goats to get rid of invasive species when at the last hearing commissioners said they were concerned about impacting the delicate area. An abutter to Ford suggested that goats were dirty and proof of vaccination needed to be supplied. Up until now, the Board of Health has not required anyone to fill out an application to bring in Goatscaping out of Plymouth. Nevertheless, Ford got a $12 animal husbandry license from the board of health the next day. One commissioner suggested that the invasive vegetation be taken out by hand – perhaps by Chris Ford.
- A box on the application to DEP identifying the project as not being in the Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) worried commissioners. Paul Shea, conservation agent for the town, said that this was not significant. Commissioner Patrick Kennedy said under the state definition the ACEC cannot extend into the buffer zones. The commissioners have allowed trenches to be built for water/sewer in 100s of other buffer zones. How is Ford’s project different?
- Creighton said the area was strewn with broken glass and high weeks and he might like to see some clean-up of the area before the July 10th hearing. Legally, Ford can’t do any clean-up until he gets a permit from conservation to do so. Creighton should know that. The conservation commission never voted on Ford’s revised landscape scheme. It is unclear to this applicant what the commissioners wish him to do, other than clean up glass on the property.
Permitting boards should attempt to conduct enforcement of state and local bylaws and work to allow man and nature to live in harmony. The 559 Jerusalem Road property is a build-able lot, and the property owner has a right to enjoy his property. Chris Ford, acting for his brother Ted who resides in California, has spent four long years trying to acquire permits to build a home. The Cohasset conservation commission has required Ford to jump through hoops not required of other applicants. At one point he was required to submit shadow studies. It is unconscionable that commissioners have delayed this project for four long years and are seeking to delay it longer.
The Cohasset Board of Selectmen who replaced 2/3rds of the commission for political reasons in 2011 have decimated this commission.
At the selectmen’s next meeting these commissioners are asking to be reappointed: James Marten, Jamie Gilman and Doctor Bill Henry. Henry serves as an associate member. Commissioner Alex Koines is not asking for reappointment and is thought that Henry will be appointment a full member, replacing Koines. But Henry has been absent from meetings more than he has been present this past year.
Selectmen should not reappoint any of these people to the commission. Selectmen should seek other candidates forthwith.© Copyright 2014 Tanna K, All rights Reserved. Written For: Tinytown Unleashed