Excellent Turn-out at the CPC Meeting

July Fourth Weekend several years ago

At the Community Preservation Committee’s Public Hearing this evening, the Town Hall meeting room was filled and that is a very good thing. The discussion was insightful and at times lively, yet civil and well-behaved, that is a very good thing.  Yet no vote was taken, that is not a very good thing.

Due to a faux pas, though there was a properly posted public hearing, there was not a properly posted CPC meeting, so no action could be taken.  The Public Hearing will continue on October 5th, so mark your calendar.  Since it is approaching midnight I am turning in for the night.  I will follow-up with another post about the discussion.  Since there were so many of you at the meeting, I expect to see some feedback.  Good show tonight, thanks to all for doing your part.

Chuck

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About saveourpond

I am a lifelong resident of Ayer who lives on Flanagan's Pond.
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9 Responses to Excellent Turn-out at the CPC Meeting

  1. a Sportsman says:

    The CPC seemed to be hung up on ‘if’ their funds could legally be appropriated for weed treatment and more importantly were worried about the town being sued. I suggest visiting these websites. Note that the 2nd one is very recent thus erasing some doubt about being appropriate.

    http://www.communitypreservation.org/enews/Water_ResourcesJP.htm

    Several CPA communities have used CPA funds to preserve and restore important water resources that are integral to their unique character. Water-related projects have taken several different forms – from purchasing land for the protection of drinking water sources to eliminating invasive species from key water bodies. Coalition intern Ali Kleyman wrote a short report on how this is done under CPA.

    You might wonder how water preservation projects relate to the purpose of CPA. Section 2 of the CPA statute defines open space as including “land to protect existing and future well fields, aquifers and recharge areas, watershed land…fresh and salt water marshes and other wetlands, ocean, river, stream, lake and pond frontage, beaches…and other coastal lands” (M.G.L. ch. 44B, section 2).

    also

    re: http://www.maccweb.org/documents/comment_letters/Community%20Preservation%20Act%20testimony%204_13_11.pdf

    Testimony Submitted by the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions in support of S.1841 & H.765,An Act to Sustain Community Preservation
    Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Business
    April 13, 2011

    The primary responsibility of Conservation Commissions is to protect the wetlands and water resources within their communities. CPA funds may used for the preservation of degraded water resources or protection of watersheds. For instance:
     CPA funds have been used for invasive weed control in numerous communities including Lake Mascuppic in Tyngsborough and Bare Hill Pond in the Town of Harvard.
    ==========
    There are many more references to using CPA funds for such purpose. Seems like the Ayer CPA committee didn’t do their homework in advance.

  2. a Sportsman says:

    At the meeting one committee member thought that since the pond was man made the pond should return naturally to being a meadow. Although I don’t agree that a wetland teaming with wildlife hasn’t any value as a pond she might have had a point if the pond problem we were dealing with wasn’t also man made. Understand the issue at hand is non-native invasive weeds which man put in the pond and if the pond didn’t have to deal with them then the pond would do just fine for the next 100 years or so.

    Another said that since the pond wasn’t open to the public that it shouldn’t receive support from the town. Well I know of four access points commonly used by the public.

    Another committee member was in the mode of trying to be a lawyer when she didn’t want to do something that might end up in a lawsuit. It seemed a little like the depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is. How about the committee protect open spaces and support the will of the people and let those whose job it is to give a legal opinion do just that. However, it also seems like it is how the plan is worded that is important. So lets offer a properly worded plan and let the CPC vote on it.

    Lastly, we go to the other extreme when a resident asked about the MassDEP citation and was given a blase response when the responder said that he didn’t understand why it was so important since Ayer has been doing the same for years. Well, in this case Massachusetts laws were broken by those who were chartered with enforcing the Wetlands Protection Act. So in one case we are risk adverse and another flaunts the disregard of following environmental rules. Follow this link and read the citation and decide for yourself. I wouldn’t have gone through the effort of posting this because this should have been put to bed long ago but this person has never said a mistake was made nor shown any remorse.
    re: http://tinyurl.com/3rqhrcr

  3. Patrick Hughes says:

    1n 1996, 1999 and 2002 (I believe the dates are correct) Aquatic control technologies ( the firm who did weed control for the town on these occasions) applied for required State Permitting for weed control Including the lower of Flanagan’s pond per a contract signed and reviewed by Boards of selectman and previous members of the Ayer Conservation Commission to Worcester DEP. In 2001 the Ayer Fire department issued guidelines to reserve authority for the board removal at Balch pond dam as the Fire department has a feed pipe at west main street as it passed over the stream coming out of Flanagan’s pond so as to use the resources of these waters in case of fire to supplement town water. In 2004 the Ayer conservation commission as had previous commissions under different members had done made written notice to the Fire department to affect a winter draw down to attempt to freeze shallow weeds per the Ayer Fire department guidelines and the newly accepted five year plan for weed control in Ayer ponds. At some point unknown vandals removed more boards than per the town policy causing a Catastrophic drop in pond levels To date it has not been discovered who did this. DEP issued the Violation notice to the BOS and this executive secession item was leaked to the press by a BOS member before action could be taken to review the matter. The board of selectman twice reviewed the incident and both times came to the conclusion listed above. Such findings were forward to the Worchester DEP who have not pursued further action or issued a fine and now continue to approve application for weed treatment that included pond lower with the caveat that an Order of conditions was provided to clear up the matter which was done and has been renewed by the current Ayer conservation commission. The fire department has locked the boards in place and remains the only authority to remove them as has always been the case.

    As I stated a the CPA meeting it is unfortunate that a few people (anonymously) would rather continue this misinformation campaign than solve the problem at hand.. I stand by these comments as I have done since this incident was first reported as this is the truth of the matter. I remain as dedicated as always to seeing that Flanagan’s as well as all of Ayers ponds are provided with the caretaking they need for the benefit of all of Ayer’s residents.

    • A Sportsman says:

      After the BOS claim of vandals, Mass DEP was contacted by several people, including a representative from the Public Spirit and was asked if their citation was in error. They replied that they stood by their investigation and that the BOS findings were deemed to be spin (their word). MassDEP siad no fines were levied because they feel boards such as a ConsCom are comprised of volunteers and in light of that MassDEP does not wish to punish towns. Let this go, continued spin does nobody any good. I think almost everybody at the recent CPC meeting has the best interest in mind and to continue to spread misinformation just keeps the issue alive.

  4. Jeremy Callahan says:

    Another meeting needs your attention: The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on October 6 at 7 PM for the entirely new Zoning Bylaw which will, among other things, increase residential density in all zones across Town and consume precious open space. Despite my screaming at various meetings, I have no success trying to stop this. If you care about the Planning Board’s attempt to change this Town, please attend the hearing on October 6. The new zoning bylaw and all related attachments can be found on the Town of Ayer website at:

    http://www.ayer.ma.us/pages/AyerMA_GenAnnouncements/01796AA8-000F8513

  5. Jeremy Callahan says:

    SORRY FOR THE TYPO FOLKS!

    Another meeting needs your attention: The Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing on October 6 at 7 PM for the entirely new Zoning Bylaw which will, among other things, increase residential density in all zones across Town and consume precious open space. Despite my screaming at various meetings, I have had not succeeded in stopping this. If you care about the Planning Board’s attempt to change this Town, please attend the hearing on October 6. The new Zoning Bylaw and all related attachments can be found on the Town of Ayer website at:

    http://www.ayer.ma.us/pages/AyerMA_GenAnnouncements/01796AA8-000F8513

  6. David Bodurtha says:

    Rough acreage calculations are in for Flanagan’s Pond (online measurement tools)
    Pond = ~76 acres
    Privately held acreage = ~31 acres
    Private pond acreage that would be treated for weeds ~ 41%

    Dave

  7. saveourpond says:

    David;

    Since the Dam owners are responsible for the impact that their dam has on landowners upstream and downstream, then they must be held accountable for the weed problem. If the dam was not there, homeowners like me could simply mow our grass to the stream bed. There would not be any milfoil and fanwort to contend with.

    Obviously I am exaggerating simply to make a point. As a homeowner you know that because of our tangled web of laws, I cannot treat the water on my property. And if I could, I could not contain the herbicide to limit it to my property. AND neither can the Town. So we can either continue to ignore the problem or we can proceed to treat the pond as a whole and protect a valuable asset to the entire community.

    Regards,
    Chuck

  8. David Bodurtha says:

    What if the town didn’t build the dam, what if it was built by a private individual to flood the area so that he could sell more summer cottages to people from Boston?

    Actually you can apply to treat or remove the weeds from your portion of the pond floor, however you are correct that it would be difficult to contain the treatment to just your property. As part of the NOI from the ConsCom I wouldn’ think there would be an issue in killing some of the surrounding weeds.

    “So we can either continue to ignore the problem or we can proceed to treat the pond as a whole and protect a valuable asset to the entire community”.

    Sounds like a reasonable statement and I would support the treatment of the portion of the pond (59%) that is “undefined” not owned by the town. Those residents and / or association that own the other 41% should contribute funds to cover that portion. The good news is that would extend the town funds that have been assigned from UDAG and would not require the funding voted on but not specified at town meeting. This would mean there would be no need to use CPA funds and force a split in the town’s residents over the issue. This show of support and willingness to contribute a fair share would go a long way to gain the support of the town this year and in future years, I know it would for me!

    Dave

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