Conservation Raises Questions About Buffer at Lorden Commons

Steve Keach of Keach Nordstrom Associates in Bedford detailed phases 2, 3 and 4 of
Lorden Commons for the Conservation Commission last week. Lorden Commons is the
first Conservation Community in the town and is located at 17 Old Derry Road.

Keach said he had given design review information to the Planning Department for the
project to go before the Planning Board but the request for a Conditional Use Permit
(CUP) had not reached the Conservation Commission.
Phase 1 of Lorden Common has 50 house lots, and there will be a total of 133 lots with
full build-out. There will be 147 acres of open space in phases 2, 3 and 4, with 18 lots
developed in phase 2, for a total of 83 lots developed in phases 2, 3, and 4.
The design proposed by Keach Nordstrom Associates reduces the wetlands impact and
wetland buffer impact and avoids some wetlands altogether, with the storm water
management plan under the Alteration of Terrain Permit designed to minimize the
wetland buffer impacts. There are no wetlands impacts under the conditional use plan.
At the Commission’s Tuesday, Aug. 23 meeting, the members discussed at length the
design of the road Keach described as "threading a needle" to reduce the wetland buffer
impact. Conservation Vice Chair Eugene Harrington objected, saying they could have
reduced the buffer impact further, but Keach said he didn't see how.
After discussion, he said they would look at it again and if they could reduce it a little
more, they would. But he said to remove the berm from the buffer entirely would not be
Keach also described the buffer protections provided by the no-cut zone for the lots that
touch or are close to the buffer zone. He said the no-cut zone is a buffer but the
commissioners were not impressed, noting that most people don't understand that the no-
cut zone means no trash or grass debris can be deposited in that zone, not just that no
trees can be cut.
The commissioners said that even though the no-cut area would be in the deed, they
questioned who would enforce it.
Keach said one alternative would be for the Conservation Commission to request a
Conservation Easement for that particular area.
The Commission also was not pleased with being asked to make a decision that evening
after not receiving the conditional use permit request, and Keach said they could think
about it and get back to him prior to Lorden Commons going before the Planning Board.
The Dredge and Fill permit for Lorden Commons was straightforward, showing minimal
wetlands impact, and the members saw no issues with it. The comments from the
Commission included the fact that the CUP had not been received.
The commission would like to see the developer consider reducing the number of units
that are near the wetlands buffer zone so that the lots would be kept out of the buffer
zone. Member Mike Byerly said it would only take reducing the overall number of lots
by seven to accomplish this.
The Commission noted its concern about the no-cut zone enforcement and where the
buffer zone markers would be placed. Commissioners said the Town should get
permission to go onto the land to conduct enforcement checks so that no-cut zones would
remain free of grasses and other debris.

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