Land Committee, Fire District Join Forces On Protection Of Drinking Water Wells

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By: James Kinsella
Published: 05/04/12

The Barnstable Land Acquisition and Preservation Committee is supporting a proposal by Barnstable Fire District officials to place three town-owned parcels into irrevocable conservation trusts.

The officials are seeking conservation protection for property at 145 Breed’s Hill Road, 246 South Flint Rock Road and 1910 Iyannough Road, the last also known as the McManus property.Fire district officials say they are seeking to protect district public drinking wells near the parcels.

“These parcels are critical to the protection of the public water supply and must be designated in a manner conducive to preventing any adverse activities,” the district officials wrote in a March 21 letter to Kristine Clark, chairman of the land acquisition committee.

The letter was signed by all the members of the district’s board of water commissioners and its prudential committee.At a meeting Wednesday evening at the Unitarian Church in Barnstable Village, the land acquisition committee, which was meeting with the water commissioners and the prudential committee, voted unanimously to support the conservation initiative on each of the three parcels.

By mutual agreement, the three boards agreed to send the same letter to Acting Town Manager Thomas K. Lynch.

Copies of the new letter will be sent to Barnstable Town Councilor Ann B. Canedy of Cummaquid, whose district includes Barnstable Village and who facilitated Wednesday’s meeting; the land preservation committee; the town’s legal department; and Frederick Chirigotis, president of the Barnstable Town Council.

Members of the three boards expressed concern that one or more of the three parcels, which are designated for general municipal use, could be put to uses that posed potential harm to nearby fire district drinking wells.

Board members in particular want to foreclose any possibility that the town will use an easement on the west side of McManus property for the underground mitigation of sewage effluent.

But a member of the land acquisition committee, Thomas Mullen, said he understood that the town Department of Public Works has no such intention.

Fire district water commissioners were open, however, to the possibility of putting the McManus property to recreational use.

David Jones, chairman of the water commissioners, said he believes any recreational use of the property would be guided by the same natural turf treatment restrictions that now apply to the Hyannis Golf Course, which already is a neighbor of two Barnstable Fire District drinking water wells.

Meeting participants also discussed the possibility of reaching out to the Hyannis Water Board to possibly put together a shared front on the use of conservation restrictions to protect the areas around their respective drinking water wells.

At the conclusion of the public meeting, the land acquisition committee went into executive session to discuss the possible acquisition of more real estate parcels for the preservation and conservation of land.

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