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Maces, ConsCom work to correct action that brought stop work order

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HARVARD — Residents Richard and Roxanne Mace are working on a revised plan to bring construction work at 38 Peninsula Road into compliance with an enforcement order.

A public hearing on the topic will take place Feb. 7.

The Conservation Commission expects the Maces’ revised plan to propose restoring the plantings and vegetation and the habitat the town created near Bare Hill Pond.

The commission is also requiring the Maces to install silt fences immediately to preclude runoff into the pond, especially as a result of winter thawing.

The removal of trees and native vegetation near the 200-foot zone adjacent to the pond increased the risk of pollution at the pond as well as compromised the local habitat for fauna, said Bruce Leicher, chairman of the Bare Hill Pond Watershed Management Committee.

Gary Shepard, from David E. Ross Associates Inc., said clearing the vegetation occurred when Mace’s contractor took the vegetation down to “open up the view from Mace’s house.”

The result was clear-cutting — within the restricted zone around the pond, a protected wetlands area — not the vista pruning that Mace thought would occur.

Vista pruning would have resulted in a selective thinning of the tree branches and shrubs to improve visibility and left at least 90 percent of the environmental canopy the vegetation provided, said Liz Allard, of the Office of Land Use Boards.

The Maces’ contractor’s clear-cutting violated Harvard’s zoning bylaws and took place while the Maces were away from their property.

The commission required that the Maces plant larger trees such as oak and maple to recreate as much of the original environment’s vegetation as possible.

That recreation would help restore the environmental canopy that would permit more vegetation to grow naturally and stabilize the soil.

Restoration of the soil’s stability would naturally help reduce pollution of the pond due to silt and phosphorous.

Beyond the 200-foot zone around the pond there has been an expansion of lawn fertilization on adjacent properties, resulting in increased amounts of phosphorous in the potential runoff.

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