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Letter: Essential reasons to preserve Spring Pond Woods

Guest Commentary, by yours truly in The Daily Item, Fri. Oct. 29
( Thank You Item! )

click to view....

~Text ~
Essential reasons to preserve Spring Pond Woods
of Lynn, Peabody and Salem MA
Protecting natural and historic resources on the hills around Spring Pond, are overhanging with the threat of Lowe’s, Wal-mart and a Meineke expansion, a new Camp Lion ‘pad’, and water tower, including residential construction heading in from urban sprawl.  Protecting the environment there is left, is important for these simple principles:
Help the charter of the Lions remain genuine.  In 1972, The Lions Clubs International adopted a policy to protect the environment.  The ‘Lions Policy Statement on the Human Environment’, was adopted as part of a commitment recognizing the “critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man”.  Camp Lion, a related organization, with parallel members to the Lynn Lions Club, District 33-N of the Lions Clubs International, by which Camp Lion is operated exclusively for the benefit of, or carry out the purposes of the Lynn Lions, is selling a portion of their parcel, lending acres of pristine forest and wetland for destruction, contrary to the environmental policy set by the international charter.  Environmental concerns addressed by the Lions Clubs International, reflect:  “Destruction of natural habitats; Land, air, and water pollution also endangers earth's flora and fauna. Trees are an important component of life on earth. Trees recycle moisture through their leaves. They absorb the heat of the sun and soak up carbon dioxide. Deforestation is responsible for adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere; Wetland ecosystems often disappear due to economic desperation; Polluted land run-off; and Global temperatures have been increasing for the past 50 years.” 
Protect important waterways to drinking supply.  DEP Water Surface Protection Areas and the down sloping topography to Spring Pond, is seen from Mass GIS maps, and indicates how the sloping hills down to this drinking supply should bring concern.  Furthermore, there is concern of the proposed project being “within the Proctor Brook catchment of the North River, which may be tributary to Spring Pond, which is tributary to the public water supply of the City of Peabody.”, as cited by New England Civil Engineering Corp, dated July 1, 2010, to the Salem Planning Board.  
Sustain a regional wildlife habitat.  Mass DEP Wetlands, Certified and Potential Vernal Pools are reported within these areas, as seen from Mass GIS data.  7 potential vernal pools are near the area of threat.   The wooded southern borders of Peabody, including the neighboring woods of Lynn and Salem, is “an important wildlife corridor; a significant regional resource that supports many species and serves as a route for over 144 species of migrating birds”, as cited by the City of Peabody Open Space Plan of 2006.  A portion of this natural habitat is at threat for destruction, and the remaining woods could be exposed to night-light and other pollution, hurting the wildlife.
Preserve cultural and recreational open space - Spring Pond Woods was voted by the public, as one of the ‘1000 Great Places in Massachusetts’.  This list was created by an Act of the Legislature and signed into law by the governor.  The mission is to “recognize the most truly special places in the Commonwealth, in order to celebrate pride in our history and culture, and increase knowledge of our natural surroundings”.  In the “City of Salem Open Space and Recreation Plan: 2007-2012”, Camp Lion is inventoried as open space to protect.  Camp Fire is an active camp on Camp Lion, providing programs for 400 children.  The trails connecting to Spring Pond, are enjoyed by many in passive recreation.

Preserve historic resources - 500 acres around Spring Pond in Lynn, Peabody and Salem, including Camp Lion, was the estate of Richard Sullivan Fay.  He planted a vast variety of native and exotic trees from all parts of the world, sprouting one of the first man-made natural and exotic arboretums.  Many of the flora was seen here first in the country.  His creation predates Olmstead’s.  The trees were once mapped for people to view, and a revival map of the arboretum is underway.  There are a number of glacial erratics.  Some stones appear to have man-made features, believed to be Native American.  There are not many ancient sites around, to see anymore.  Further investigation is necessary, before these resources are lost.  

Maintain social harmony for healthy living - Saving trees will help avoid: drainage and flooding problems, acoustical, lighting, air and traffic pollution, blasting concerns, regressing views, property depreciation, and loss of open space. 
For a site that could have a maximum impact on life, please consider maintaining the balance of harmony Spring Pond Woods offers between nature and humanity.  I hope Lynn, Peabody and Salem can come together, to preserve these beautiful resources in creating ‘Spring Pond Reservation’.
Katerina Panagiotakis
Historical Commissioner of Lynn


Lions Policy to Protect the Environment, and concerns:
Video of Lions Clubs International:  Protect the planet 

Public tax records Camp Lion relation to Lynn Lions

City of Peabody Open Space Plan
City of Salem Open Space and Recreation Plan: 2007-2012
Community unity
Letter from State Archeologist
Peer Review showing concerns for Proctor’s Brook
Mass GIS data - OLIVER
Maps created from Mass GIS, including historical maps of the area
Map of Arboretum

Request for photos from Lowe's in NH

Here is a request sent in by someone...

"If anyone is traveling to New Hampshire--please take a picture of Lowe's in Rochester, NH, Route 16 southbound lane so we can present it at the next Planning Board Meeting. They blew the top off a mountain, re-configured Route 16 and it is a disgusting MESS. Unbelievable traffic now and Lowe's rises above all else and half of the remaining mountain is rip-rap stone leading into a mosquitoe-infested detention pond. This is what Highland Ave. will look like. Go take a picture so we can show reality!"

Lions go Green to Protect the Planet

"...we have to either pull it off together or not pull it off at all" ~ Adil Najam, Nobel Peace Prize winning environmentalist

The Lions Policy to Protect the Environment

Please, protect the remaining natural and historic resources, on the hills around Spring Pond, and help the charter of the Lions remain genuine.

         In 1972, The Lions Clubs International adopted a policy to protect the environment.  The ‘Lions Policy Statement on the Human Environment’, was adopted as part of a commitment recognizing the “critical importance of restoring and maintaining environmental quality to the overall welfare and development of man”.  Camp Lion, a related organization, with parallel members to the Lynn Lions Club, District 33-N of the Lions Clubs International, by which Camp Lion is operated exclusively for the benefit of, or carry out the purposes of the Lynn Lions, is selling a portion of their parcel, lending acres of pristine forest and wetland for destruction, contrary to the environmental policy set by the international charter.  

Environmental concerns addressed by the Lions Clubs International, reflect: 
“Destruction of natural habitats; Land, air, and water pollution also endangers earth's flora and fauna. Trees are an important component of life on earth. Trees recycle moisture through their leaves. They absorb the heat of the sun and soak up carbon dioxide. Deforestation is responsible for adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere; Wetland ecosystems often disappear due to economic desperation; Polluted land run-off; and Global temperatures have been increasing for the past 50 years.”

Salem, MA: A Green Community


Some people have been looking for the ANRAD (Abbreviated Notice of Resource Area Delineation) for 488 Highland Avenue, to appeal.  (Here is the link to the document:  http://springpond.us/Reports/ANRAD.pdf )

If anyone wishes to file an appeal, it can be done by either 
a direct abutter to the project, 
an aggrieved person (someone who will be adversely impacted as a result of the construction), 
or a 10 citizen group in the community (if one of the residents had made public commentary before).

For more information on how to appeal, see:  http://www.mass.gov/dep/service/appeals.htm

Issues in the ANRAD report (in my opinion):
  • The major wrong in this report is that there is more than 5,000 sq ft of wetland being affected, where only up to 5,000 is allowed.  
  • The delineation of a wetland was made in a cold month, an improper time to make a determination.  Back on Dec. 11, 2008, in a meeting with the Salem Conservation Commission, Terry Gensel from ENSR/AECOM requested to classify the designation of a wetland as "intermittent rather than perennial so there will be no surprises to the buyer or seller.  "A site visit was okayed at this request.. in the cold month of Dec-Jan, an improper time to make a determination of a wetland http://www.salem.com/Pages/SalemMA_ConCommMin/2008Minutes/S022A5291
  • There is no mention of Water Surface Protection Areas (related to water supply) or DEP Potential Vernal Pools, as seen from Mass GIS, which are near or in the project site.  

peace on

Sprawl Busters helps the fight to preserve land

Norman of Sprawl-Busters writes about the political issues happening here:

He also writes what one can do
A quote from a letter, urging Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll to hear the great concern and opposition to this project from the neighbors in Lynn - "This is a regional land use project, and if you put a sign over Wal-Mart’s door which read: ‘Salem residents only,’ the Wal-Mart would close within six months." 

And Norman has a suggestion
"...tell Wal-Mart to simply reformat their existing store into a supercenter. This is called an ‘inbox conversion,’ and doesn’t require site plan review or any other permit, and does not waste any more acreage." 

"It’s a logical solution, and one which Wal-Mart has done with other expansion projects that have run into strong opposition. The fact is you don’t need more Wal-Marts. There’s one a few miles away in Danvers, and one on the Lynnway. Help Wal-Mart learn to live within the box.”

peace on

Letter: Lowe's project will steal the night sky.

Below is a letter to the editor, The Daily Item, Monday Oct. 25, by William Reilly.
Others and I have the same question about the night sky.  Not only are the stars becoming difficult to see, Spring Pond Woods is an important regional wildlife corridor.  It is important to keep these woods dark for the harmony of the wildlife and the community.  This project is already proposing to clear away a habitat, but to light the remaining area at night, is introducing further threat.

On July 15th, in a Salem Planning Board Meeting, open to the public, Lowe's discussed using lighting which will not illuminate the sky (but not on 4' poles), and Walmart discussed nothing about it.  I stood to argue, that the lights in the parking lot will not be illuminating an empty, asphalt parking lot, yet light will be shining down on metallic surfaces, such as glass and metal on vehicles, whereby reflecting light into the sky.  And as vehicles travel up the inclining roadway to reach Lowe's parking lot, the headlights will be shining in the night sky and direction of the forest... and as they travel around in the parking lots.

My question remains.  Even with precautionary lighting to reduce illumination in the sky, it is safe to say, the sky or nearby woods will not be dark, and how much will it be illuminated?

I have a question for you.  Most of your letter highlights several concerns, but it seems there is an argument in the last paragraph, which seems unfinished?  

Good work on raising the question.

peace on

News article - Lowe's drainage concerns

The Lynn paper is writing on drainage concerns for the Lynn area.
Please note, in the meetings, there are drainage concerns for Salem.  
The existing pipes on Highland Ave, cannot handle excessive storm water run-off.  

This reporting is another reason why acres of trees are important to preserve.

peace on

Salem Public Meeting notes from Oct. 21

During the Salem Public Meeting, the reps of Lowe's presented a view study using balloons.

Before the meeting began in the room, where the union men packed in, with buttons and signs for Lowe's, where a few stood to say 'We need jobs!... there are starving families!'... I had the privilidge to speak with a few union members, who slipped to reveal they themselves are "very busy, and only have a day off, once in a while".  Hmm?  After the meeting, the union men crowded the developer, Thomas Kennedy of the Kennedy Development Group.   I myself had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Thomas, to ask - why not look at alternative locations.   One site, he mentioned, is contaminated and would be expensive to clean  (but would not the cost equate to the amount of lawsuits and court hearings over a period of 5 years, including claims from any neighboring residents, who will sue for depreciation of property values?)  
Perhaps it would be quicker and better for the environment of 2 sites, to sustain one and clean an other... rather than wait 5 years.  The economy might recover by then, and there may be a new Salem Mayor with a different perspective?

Other highlights:  It was nice to see the Mayor of Lynn, Judith Kennedy, standing in the background,  listening to the proceedings and concerns of her constituents.  Councilor Dan Cahill was in attendance, but I am unsure if he spoke after I left the room.

Mr. Demakis, an abutter to the property, stood to ask for mitigation and compensation for the loss of his real estate investment.  He criticized the placement of the camera shots when taking the photos for the presentation, saying, "it is easy to hide a balloon behind a tree'

Councilor William Trahant stood to make comments.

Calvin Anderson stood to say that Lowe's is not guaranteeing to hire local labor. The Planning Board asked him to stay on topic, but he continued, noting that if the unions are allowed to speak off topic about jobs, then it certainly gives him the right :)  (I was absent from the room when he spoke.)

Here's my critique of the presentation by Lowe's.  (Note:  I stand to preserve the environmental and historic resources, but also stand to help advise the neighboring residents on the issues they should be concerned with.)

Lowe’s reps placed red balloons, where the corner of the building is proposed.  Photographs were presented of different views, to show the balloons cannot be seen.  However, there are standing trees that will be cleared for the drive-around and the basin, eliminating the existing tree buffer where the balloons were placed.  Therefore the test of the balloon views through the existing trees.. is meaningless (as I mentioned).  

When speaking, I was interrupted by the developer's lawyer and the developer (which is fine), but when I attempted to reply... a member of the Salem Planning Board tried to silence me.   I then had to raise my hand to continue speaking again at different turn.  (Certain members of the Salem Planning Board, continuously try to suppress my voice in these proceedings.  This is becoming upsetting and uncivic!)

Continuing on my critique of the design (which was later sent by email)...
In the site section, which is sliced through the marsh,  I’ve drawn the trees in green for the elimination of the road, but this area could be cleared for a bigger basin, as mentioned in a previous meeting.  Either way, the sloping hills at other points of view, may very well reveal Lowe’s building, if standing away from any cleared tree line, or by standing on a 2nd floor level, or from other surrounding hillsides, or by looking through a thin tree line.   From Apple Hills, the building will likely be seen through the thin deciduous tree line.

I then left the room after my critique, to discuss matters in the hallway with the developer.

In this study...
The red and green tree line is drawn over an image from the Lowe’s presentation. 


Union letter

This letter from the union, to the editor of the newspaper, should not even be posted here on Spring Pond Woods.   The issue of jobs has nothing to do specifically with the concerns of this site.   If the unions want to hold Lowe's signs- why not have all the agencies write letters, like Mass Health... asking to help create new applicants on healthcare and subsidized housing.   Meaning... if the unions help construct a project that does NOT support union labor with their employees, then the unions really have no care for  the future of the American workforce in these stores.

The opposition to destroy the land in Spring Pond Woods, is not about not wanting jobs or Lowe's. Everyone wants jobs, but please lets be responsible and conscience about how this project will affect the environment, history, open-space, neighborhoods, traffic, etc.  Building here will have a maximum impact on life on several levels.

What happened to the unions, being for the people, instead of 'special interest'?  

By the way, in discussion with a couple union members, at the Salem Public Meeting,  I found that they only had a day off, once in a while.  Makes me now wonder.

Please help preserve Spring Pond Woods.

lavender Asters

Asters (Gr. Αστερια: Stars), lavender color.  Last weeks bloom

Salem Public Meeting, Thur Oct. 21

It is important to continue sharing the concerns at the Salem Public Meetings.
Please come even if you just want to listen.

Thur, Oct. 21
7:00 pm
Salem Public Planning Board Meeting
Salem Annex Building
120 Washington Street, Salem, 3rd fl, rm 313

Note:  The hearing is listed near the end of the agenda.

peace on

Fall images

Some images in Spring Pond Woods, mostly on Salem's Public Parcel
Fern in Rock
Leaves are changing color
Red Leaves
Large nest
Snake pose

Pyxie Cup (tiny compared to pine needles)

Pyxie Cups
Pyxie Cups are essential nesting material for small birds.  The cups collect raindrops which help with the growth of the planting.  More info here:  Discovering Plants through Native American Stories


'Lions of the day' mission to preserve the site

The Lions Club of Lynn/ Camp Lion has been a great organization in the past, helping the whole community.  Many Lions Club members volunteered their time at Camp Fire.  Camp Fire is an active camp on Camp Lion, by which the organization is offered to use the grounds and facilities, serving 400 children.  The Boy Scouts use Camp Lion's facility in the rear, on occasion, in the wintertime.  The beautiful trails have been open to the public to enjoy on the weekends, and the Lions offer grants to other organizations in the community.  In the past, "The lions of the day thought it beneficial to keep an area forever wild as a refuge because of the urban expansion taking place throughout the communities."  ~ Camp Lion's website

Camp Lion's mission is honorable and respectable, and many are thankful for the organization for being able to preserve this place over the years.  But something has happened to change things.  4 acres of Camp Lion were taken by eminent domain by the City of Salem, and is now a public parcel being delivered to the retailer.    A sale agreement to clear acres of pristine wooded Open Space, preserved by past leaders, is now threatened by the proposal to construct a Lowe's/ Walmart.  Because of the past, some believe there may be a lack of choice today, in why the Lions are lending to selling portions of the land?  Some may wonder if the Lions are being strong armed against their very own mission?  I wonder this myself sometimes, after reading over a letter from a Camp Lion member who once expressed this fear to me... but even so, the 'glorious' facts about the proposal have been half truths, as been witnessed in the presentations of the Salem Public meetings, if it is believed to be a great idea.   I wonder if the Lions are waiting for the facts proposed by the retailer to fall apart, to end the deal? Just like I wonder if Lynn's Mayor knows the facts will prove the project will fail in the end.  Many might have lost faith in Mayor Kennedy, and think the battle is over, but not me.  Kennedy has pushed for the real facts to be further studied.  And the Lion's are making sure the demands of the neighbors are heard... so if you are a neighbor... be heard! (and thanks for signing the petitions.)

The purchase and sale agreement with the retailer was said to of expired in September, but the Lion's voted to continue with the sale.  It is said, Councilor Paul Crowley resigned from Camp Lion, but is he still a member of the Lions Club of Lynn?  Elizabeth Puleo resigned from the Lions after discovering the fact that Camp Fire will not receive a new facility from the deal and 400 children will loose a good camp, as the camp needs to raise funds to rebuild.

For the most part, the main members of the Lions Club of Lynn, are members of Camp Lion.  So if you know any of the members listed below, please reach out to them, as they may need our help.   Maybe the group needs to know the real facts of the issues, because as we found, Elizabeth who was a member, did not know all the facts, and as we seen, the full truth is not being presented very well by the retail reps in the Salem Public meetings.  The facts are not being presented very well by the Mayor of Salem either, in her public quotes in the paper, where she mentions the deal is only between 2 private parties, and that only 15 acres is being affected... not true!  Maybe the mayor of Salem needs our help too, in understanding the full facts? 

Board members of Camp Lion, 2008
Current President:  John Baker
Vice President: Sean Crowley
Clerk: Joseph Sano

Resigned members (that is known):  Paul Crowley and Elizabeth Puleo

Board members of The Lions Club of Lynn, 2008

Current President:  Sean Crowley, owner of the Sportscenter, Lynnway
Secretary:  John Baker
Membership:  Sean Crowley
Web Master:  Al Clark

Source:  Public tax documents for nonprofits, filed 2009 for Camp Lion and Lynn Lions.
Note:  The year 2008 may have been the year the initial sale agreement was signed, but not all the facts may have been presented to the Lions.


Disturbed hole

Update:  The Salem PD has inspected the tarp, and found nothing inside it.  

Here is a photo someone shared of a disturbed hole.  I believe someone, not so long ago, found this old pit, and then went to a lot of trouble to bury something in it.  There is a black tarp pulled out of the surface, which was once hidden under the leaves.  Several heavy rocks rest on top.  There appears to be colorful little aquarium pebbles, under the heavy rocks.  Is this someone's buried beloved pet or ...?

Now there are two unsolved mysteries.  Why are these random old pits found around Spring Pond, and what did someone decide to bury in one of them?

Theories of old pits:  
Wolf Pits - Reference:  Lynn Woods, unsolved theories
Old burial - Reference:  Rev. Bentley's Diaries, of Native American Graves looking like wells

Booth at Harvest Fest

The Spring Pond Woods booth was a favorite among children and adults, at a local community fair.  The various bird feathers and images of pressed flowers, played a fun guessing game among all.  The adults tried to guess which herb was edible.  The binoculars was the children's favorite as they learned from the bird, vernal pool and flora books displayed on the table.  A slideshow of the woods, wetlands, animals, and historic structures running on a small display, caught the eye of each passerby.  Nearly every child picked up a coloring page or two, found below (click on image to enlarge, then right-click to download.)  Everyone expressed interest to explore nature and walk the woods in Lynn, Peabody and Salem.    

Thank you to Mary Ellen and the Highlands Coalition, who welcomed us to the community fair.


Topo Study of the hills around Spring Pond

          There is concern of having commercial or industrial 'development', especially businesses which have a history of pollution offenses, to be allowed on the hills surrounding Spring Pond, Peabody's Drinking Reservoir.

Lowe's history of offenses
Lowe's was fined a penalty by Mass DEP in April 2010 for polluting groundwater in Pembroke: www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/0410lowe.htm
Lowe's developer penalized by Mass DEP in May 2010 for violation of a wetland: www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/0510lowe.htm
Lowe's fined $137,500 by EPA for failure to adequately control storm water run-off at 4 Mass construction sites: click here

Walmart's history of offenses
MassDEP Assesses $8,000 Penalty to Wal-Mart for Violating Hazardous Waste Management Requirements at Four Central Mass. Stores in May 2010. www.mass.gov/dep/public/press/0510walm.htm

What the reps of Lowe's/ Walmart presented

In the last Public Meeting on September 30, 2010, the reps for the proposed Lowe's/ Walmart refuted environmental concerns by saying there is no record or potential for endangered species and there is no concern of the project related to Spring Pond.  A flat site plan was displayed, showing no topography, with only showing a dimension line from the back of the project to Spring Pond.  There was no indication of Mass DEP Wetlands or the Mass DEP 'Potential Vernal Pools' on the drawing.  There was no mention of the latest Peer Review provided for the project, which mentions concern for Spring Pond.  ( Is this the best the Walmart/ Lowe's reps can do, to represent an environmental study of the site?  Topography and wetlands should not be ignored when researching a study of the site.)

Concerns for Spring Pond
A recent Peer Review warns of the concern, the project might have to Proctor's Brook which flows to Spring Pond.

A precedent environmental mistake in 1996, cost the City of Peabody to clean the sludge from the Coolidge Avenue Water Treatment Plant, which accumulated to the bottom of Spring Pond.

A further  study, by an ordinary citizen...
The 3d model of the site above and the 2d site plan below, was created using data extracted from Mass GIS, in the software program Vectorworks Designer: Architect, Landmark, Renderworks. 

peace on