Conservation Commission Takes Next Steps on Parker School Tree Issue
The board met on Tuesday to discuss the problem stemming from clearcutting in the environmentally sensitive area.
The Chelmsford Conservation Commission continued discussion on the recent clear cutting incident at the Parker School, looking at topics from courses of action on addressing environmental and aesthetic to continued damage assessment.
Recently, all trees within 15 feet of the school were scheduled to be removed by a private contractor, only to have trees as far as 250 to 350 from the school removed, leaving the landscape of the area drastically different.
A date of January 8, 2013 was set for a preliminary enforcement order date for the “short term” portion of the restoration plan, with “medium term” and “long term” phases of the plan still pending.
Various actions such as reseeding certain areas near the school and planting taller grasses to hide stumps in wetland areas were discussed, although additional planning remains to fix the problems of sediment loss on the site.
Conservation Commission member Cori Rose describing that as much as five to seven inches of sediment has been lost in areas near the school recently due in large part to the cutting.
Rose, who works as a biologist, offered a series of suggestions to town engineers who will eventually submit a full plan on how to restore the site, although the board also requested outside expertise be consulted to help avoid conflict of interest concerns.
In addition to the sediment, other various problems still linger such as light pollution now seen from the school at night from neighbors on Princess Drive due to the lack of trees left between them and the school.
The School Committee was also in attendance to address concerns over an enforcement order for all portions of the plan defeating the original purpose of removal: limiting pine needles that damaged the school’s roof.
Only verbal instructions were given to the contractors who were assigned to do the job, who the Conservation Commission requested to see at an upcoming meeting to determine the full extent of how the incident occurred.