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New Ipswich

Willow Brook buffer zone debated

NEW IPSWICH — Conservation Commission Chair Bob Boynton voiced his concerns about the cutting away of a buffer zone to Willow Brook during the July 15 Select Board meeting.

The removal of trees on Academy Road property, owned by Russ Salo, that borders Willow Brook — a tributary of the Souhegan River — is a problem, said Boynton, as the town’s ordinances stipulate a 25-foot vegetative buffer to protect local water sources.

“People think this is just a small tributary,” said Boynton, “But that’s where the most damage occurs, because people think they’re not important.”

The buffer creates shade on the water, which keeps water temperatures cooler, creates an environment for bugs which the local ecosystem subsists on, and the roots system creates a filter that prevents erosion from washing into the stream and depleting oxygen levels, and ground contaminants such as salt and pesticides from entering the river.

Boynton also pointed out that a building permit had not been obtained for renovations ongoing at the property, and that if they had, Salo would have been made aware of the ordinance. Boynton suggested that more stringent criteria for when to apply for building permits and greater controls by the town may help to avoid such issues in the future.

Boynton said he would like to see plantings put back in and recommended speaking to a stream remediation expert to get opinions on the types of plant life that would be best suited for the area and to create a buffer. He told the board he had not looked into the amount that such a consultation or plantings would cost, but felt that both would be the onus of the property owner.

During the meeting, Select Board member Woody Meiszner said he would like to approach Salo informally to discuss the issue to see if it could be solved agreeably for both sides.

In a phone interview Wednesday, Meiszner said that he had spoken with Salo following the meeting and discussed the necessity of obtaining building permits for the renovation work Salo has been doing to the property, as well as the cutting. Both issues are on their way to resolution, said Meiszner, as Salo has met with the town’s temporary building inspector and is in the process of obtaining permits; Salo has also met with Boynton to discuss plantings for the area surrounding the stream.

“He has talked to Bob Boynton, and they have agreed to come up with a plan and are in the process of designing a planting scheme that will be executed in September,” said Meiszner. Meiszner said that Salo had been planning to replant in the area, and was willing to take on the costs associated with that.

“I believe that we have covered that issue very well,” said Meiszner.

Please! Please plant the trees! We must do what we can to save that mosquito infested mud bog.

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