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Letter: Out of Touch With Community

Dear Editor,

I would like to relate a story about a most unpleasant experience that I had with the Groton Conservation Commission. I obtained a permit to build a retaining wall on my property. I filled out all the appropriate applications and paid the $58 fee. The application included drawing a rough sketch of the project that you wanted to do. The Conservation Committee approved the application. I did not build the wall for two years after I had the permit, which was allowed. The Commission was informed when the project was started. After the Project was completed Barbara Ganon from the Groton Conservation Committee came down to do a final check. She called me that afternoon and to my horror she said that I had to fill out a whole new application. She claimed that I did not follow my sketch that I had on the application. I tried to explain to her that the sketch was just that, a sketch. She insisted that I go through the application process again.   

I told her that the project was complete and that she should have voiced her concerns when the project was being built. I considered the matter closed. Barbara did not however, and sent me registered mail threatening me with fines if I did not fill out a whole new application. I finally did after much hesitation and paid the $58 fee once again. The Conservation Commission did come down for a final site walk but to my amazement did not even ask my permission to come on to my property. I found them there when returning from running an errand.  The whole experience left me extremely frustrated and questioning the waste of time, town resources, the fact that town employees took the liberty to come on my property without my permission. I believe that the Commission could have just as easily used the original application and it would have ended there.

Many of my neighbors have related similar stories to me when they try to work on there lake front property. Many lake residents say that they will not question restrictions put on there project by the Conservation Commission however ridiculous they are, fearing that the project might get cancelled altogether or the need for more paperwork being filled out. Many people feel that the Conversation Committee is out of touch with the lake community. Barbara and the Committee often make decisions which make very little common sense when dealing with projects on the lake. Lake residents can't even repair our docks or add sand to our swimming areas just to maintain them without a permit. This is ridiculous and must be changed. We need to change the Groton Conservation bylaw that will allow lake residents to do this. Groton Conservation Commission members should not be able to come on our property without permission. I urge the Conservation bylaw committee to take a bold stance and change these ridiculous restrictions and allow lake residents to live in peace without the fear of being fined for maintaining there property or violating a ridiculous bylaw. Groton Conservation Commission should be a resource to the lake community not feared by the lake community.


Erich Garger

46 Redskin Trail

Groton Herald

Mailing Address
P.O. Box 610, Groton, Massachusetts 01450

161 Main Street, Groton, Massachusetts 01450
[above Main Street Café]

Telephone: 978-448-6061

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