TOWN OF ARLINGTON VISION 2020 ENVIRONMENT TASK GROUP
RESERVOIR COMMITTEE
December 20, 2000  Meeting Notes


In attendance: Gene Benson, Margaret Fitzgerald, Cathy Garnett, Bryan Hasbrouck, Jane Howard, Elizabeth Karpati, Ann LeRoyer, Leslie Mayer, Sharon Stafford, Susan Wheelock, David White. 
The meeting was facilitated by Gene Benson. The minutes are by Elizabeth Karpati. 

NEXT MEETINGS: 7:30 P.M., WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, AND MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26, Town Hall Annex. 

Res Timeline:
Rich Bento, who did not attend the meeting, supplied Timeline for work on the Res. It has a very long period for the permitting process (Aug. '01 to Feb. '03), probably including time for appeals. Actual work is planned for 2003-04; it may take that long to get funding even if permits move faster. It raised many questions that we will need to discuss with Rich Bento. 

Park & Rec Meeting Report:
Leslie reported on Rich Bento's presentation to Parks & Rec.  He gave a thorough history of the Res and the issues and what is being done - much the same as what he told this committee.  He sees the Res problem as an opportunity to make improvements. Initial reaction from Parks & Rec was to ask whether the Town could take no action and thereby save the trees.  They are also concerned with the beach and landscaping. 

Funding: 
Water & sewer funds are available for tree removal and repairs only. Other sources of funding are needed for landscaping and for waterproofing the berm (amount needed is not yet known). Bento wants to try to get Weston & Sampson to include the berm in its 
analyses and specs. McClennen has already talked to Bento about the possibility of using the Mt. Gilboa money for eutrophication study. A soil study is probably not be needed since no soil will be moved. 

Busa Farm: 
Jane reported that the rumors about the farm being up for sale are not true. What is for sale is a parcel owned by Busa's cousin, between the farm and Munroe Brook upstream from the Res: 2 3/4 acres at $6.7 million per acre. The land has houses on it already; more development would require approval of the Lexington ConCom, but the 100-ft buffer zone along the brook may discourage any plans. 

Water chestnuts: 
In Winter Pond in Winchester, "Sonar" was used for a variety of weeds and it reduced water chestnuts.  If Roger Frymire wants to go after water chestnuts in Res again next year, we should get him some helpers. Borrow kayaks or canoes from Rec Dept?  Involve Scouts?  Do it in connection with Earth Day?  Or wait until after mechanical harvesting and work in shallow water where harvester couldn't go? 

Public meeting:
In Spring (in March - May 2001 period in timeline): Bento and Parks & Rec need to be part of the meeting. We should have as much information as possible about landscaping and recreation proposals for the meeting. 

Possible alternatives and additional ideas: 
Tufts is now not involved in Res. Will Weston & Sampson studies be enough, or should we try to get Tufts involved in water quality study? Gene will ask Prof. Durant. 
Our position: Keep swimming area, keep it natural. Whole area should be landscaped. Everything should be looked at together. Perhaps a larger study would include a possible need for a town pool. 
Parking and walking are issues. Biggest parking problem (along street) is in Lexington. Pedestrians on Lowell Street are an issue even without the Res; building a sidewalk would be expensive. 
There should be a way to walk around the Res in summer without going out on Lowell Street. Could a fence be put inside the existing fence to enclose the playground? But neighborhood people worked on playground and now can't use it in summer without buying a beach tag. 
When Bento talks about landscaping, he is thinking about the center of the dam; here we are talking about the entire Res area. 
The landscape designer, when selected, should sit down with this committee to find out what we want. 
Susan Wheelock's husband, an engineer, says the area to the right of the entrance from Hurd Field is too wide to be a dam. Susan will ask him for a written definition (apparently a dam is defined by cross section?) 
How much water does it take to fill up the swimming area? David will try to calculate. How much is lost to evaporation and leakage? Could a well be dug to provide water for swimming? 

Communication: 
We should monitor progress on this project - periodically call Bento to ask if this or that step was done, or ask him for monthly updates, then post these on our e-mail list. 
Find out whom he is updating (Town Manager?) and when. 
We expect Bento at the January meeting and hope he will explain how each step will be done. Ask him to use us as a focus group before making a presentation at the public meeting. 
Gene has added Parks & Rec to our e-mail list and is inviting them to our meetings. 

Questions raised for Rich Bento: 
Length of permitting process 
When do the trees come down - during the time listed for repairs (April - Nov. '03)? 
How can any repairs be done in the summer when the Res is full to keep the swimming area full? 
When will landscaping be done? It is not mentioned specifically. 
Sources of funding for landscaping and for waterproofing the berm?  If Town money, it should go into capital budget as a single item (not separately for landscaping and the berm). 
How will the whole sequence be funded? 
What studies will be done, when, and how paid for? 
What permits will be needed? 
Where in the timeline is the study and design for beach berm modifications? 
Will there be a water quality study, not just for bacteria but also for other contaminants (e.g. anything leaching from Reed's Brook landfill?)  What will happen to water quality if water level is kept permanently low and gets warmer and less mixing occurs?  (But using dam for flood control will raise water level occasionally.) 
We are concerned with landscaping issues around the entire Res, not just at the ex-stump-dump. 
How will landscape designer be chosen? The committee should participate. 
Make sure that only those trees which absolutely must be cut down are cut. 
"Who is going to make all these decisions?" 
How will we be kept informed as things go along? 

Census insert will include a report on results of last year's Res questionnaire among other things.  Insert will be printed in Arlington, on lilac recycled paper, and will go to about 19,400 households. 

NEXT MEETINGS: 7:30 P.M., WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 24, AND MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26.

 

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