Monday, May 12, 2008

Put off a parking lot

I bumped into John Hall at the Feet to the Fire Festival (the Jonah Center, which he helped found was co-sponsor), and he told me that an unneccesary paving plot was rejected by the Inland Wetlands Commission.

It's a pleasure to sit at a town commission meeting where commissioners seem engaged, alert and willing to listen to scientific reason. This was the case at the Inland Wetlands Commission last week as the town's public works department, and their civil engineer proposed paving (actually re-paving) a lot near the town's Veteran's Park because it had fallen into disrepair.

The meeting began with chairman Joe Carta insisting that diagrams of the proposed work be situated so that the attending public could see as well as the board. It progressed with the presentation, followed by an eye-opening public rebuttal by John Hall and Barry Chernoff, who made the point that re-surfacing the lot would do great harm to the Coginchaug River, which runs adjacent to the lot. In terms of usage, the lot is used when capacity of other lots at Palmer Field are filled - approximately a dozen times a year.

In addition, Chernoff noted that a lot for a new CVS, a short way upriver, will already sheet runoff, along with sand and salt, into the already distressed Coginchaug.

According to Hall, the board set the Public Works department away to come up with another, better plan for the lot, which should include larger river buffers.

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