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GELD runs afoul of ConsCom with new Station Ave. plans

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GROTON — Monday night, selectmen met with Groton Electric Light Department officials including manager Kevin Kelly to discuss an impasse between the department and the Conservation Commission.

Plans being proposed by GELD for construction of its new headquarters and garage complex off Station Avenue have run afoul of commissioners charged with protecting the town’s wetlands.

The same property that made it prohibitively expensive for the town to build a new fire station on is apparently causing the same problems for GELD: It lies within the 100-foot buffer zone extending from the James Brook watershed located at the foot of Station Avenue.

If a solution to the problem is not found, said Kelly Monday night, then GELD would be forced to build its new complex on the same footprint as the existing offices and garage. They had hoped to avoid that step by acquiring abutting properties and increasing the area in which to situate the new buildings.

But the problem was seen as too complicated to solve at Monday’s meeting, at least not without the presence of everyone concerned with it. That would include the Planning Board as well as full memberships of the selectmen, ConsCom and GELD.

Consequently, a joint meeting was to be scheduled later when everyone could gather at once to discuss the issue and hopefully agree on a solution.

Last Monday night, selectmen also:

* Heard from town manager Mark Haddad that as expected and accounted for in his proposed budget for fiscal 2013, Gov. Deval Patrick’s state budget would be a level-funded one with about $41,000 in veterans benefits coming to the town as a result. “Financially, this town is very sound and is one of the soundest towns I know about,” said Haddad. He said among his peers, Groton’s fiscal position is one to be envied.

* Received a bit of a jolt when Arthur Prest, a candidate to fill an open seat on the Water Commission, withdrew his name in favor of Jessica Cajigas, an environmental manager and former employee of the Westford Water Department. Prest said he was so impressed with Cajigas’ credentials that he was happy to step aside for her. Cajigas will take the seat recently vacated by Al Collins and serve out his current term before running for election in her own right in Town Elections to be held May 22.

* Voted to appoint fire chief Joseph Bosselait as a member of the Board of Survey, Lee Davies as a member of the Recycling Committee and John Petropolous as a member of the Building Committee.