The Oak Hill Study Committee recently voted to place the Oak Hill property under the control of the Board of Selectmen for the next three years, rather than the Conservation Commission as requested by hundreds of residents who signed a petition requesting protection under control of the CC. Once again, the wishes of the residents have been swept aside.
It appears that Oak Hill Study Committee member Phil Stanway (the "lead steward" of the Chelmsford Open Space Stewards) has been working quietly with a selectman to set up a deal for selective logging of valuable hardwood at Oak Hill, supposedly in order to create revenue for the Town. This is not congruent with the stated intent of the committee in their public hearings. Stanway refuses to provide answers to the simple questions directed to him in the message below. Remember, this is the same guy who has blasted me for years for trying to protect Center Park from development (including denying that Center Park ever existed).
Stanway tries to direct me to the committee chair, who has already contemptfully stated that my concerns "aren't relevant" and refused to let me speak about them at the public input session without constant objections and interruptions.
So I am publicly asking what is going on? Why on earth, after public pronouncements that the land is going to be protected, is a committee member already working with a selectman to set up a logging deal? Tree removal for public safety is not the same as logging. We've seen enough duplicity with the BOS handling of the land behind the Center Fire Station which is supposed to be protected to know that there may be more going on here than meets the eye.
My message to Phil Stanway, and his response side stepping the questions, are provided below for the information of concerned residents.
Roland Van Liew
From: Roland Van Liew
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 4:46 PM
To: 'Philip Stanway'
Subject: RE: Questions for You
This does not concern the Oak Hill Chair, and this has nothing to do with any imagined "protocol" on your part. I'm asking YOU what YOU are doing and why. If you don't want to answer, don't try to send me on a wild goose chase; just tell me you'd prefer not to answer. I'd appreciate your answers to these simple, and I think, important questions.
From: Philip Stanway [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Thursday, January 10, 2013 4:39 PM
To: Roland Van Liew
Subject: Re: Questions for You
Please address this to the oak hill chair. That is correct protocol.
Connected by DROID on Verizon Wireless
From: Roland Van Liew <email@example.com>
Sent: Thu, Jan 10, 2013 21:29:08 GMT+00:00
Subject: Questions for You
Phil, I understand that you are exploring the feasibility of selective logging on the Oak Hill parcel. It’s hardly been a month since you voted to have responsibility for the parcel placed in the hands of the BOS rather than the Conservation Commission, and I’m told you’re already working with a selectman to try and set up a logging deal.
I’d appreciate it if you would provide answers to the following questions:
1. Why would selective logging be desirable?
2. If it is desirable, why wasn’t it discussed with the committee specifically tasked with evaluating such measures during the year-long Oak Hill Study committee meetings, rather than subsequently with a selectman seeking to strike a logging deal?
3. How would selective logging take place without creating access roads for logging vehicles?
I appreciate any information and insight you can provide.