By Kara Herlihy

Members of the Fayston Select Board are planning a site visit after Robert Crean's application for a road access permit on Slide Brook Road lacked necessary information. 

Select board members assume that the road access permit application is for the single family dwelling which he can build as a use by right, though Crean did not indicate its location on the application.

Board member Jared Cadwell noted that the board wanted to be thorough in their investigation of the site "due to the lengthy driveway and the 2,200-foot section he's going to be using up of the town road."

The application for a road access permit follows Crean's final public hearing held last week over a proposed five-lot subdivision located on Slide Brook Road. The primary issue under contention is the protection of beech tree stands critical to bear habitat and a deer wintering yard at possible risk.

The real contention came in the form of two dueling wildlife biologists, neither of whom was present at the meeting.

During the hearing, Crean read a report from certified wildlife biologist Jeffery Wallin of Multiple Resource Management that indicated that while he did visit the site and find bear-scarred beech trees, these trees were not 'critical' to the habitat.

Wallin writes, "This pocket of bear-scarred beech is simply that, a pocket. It is situated on a ridge between the two small streams and measures 1.75 acres. This plot of beech, though showing signs of utilization by bears, is too small and distant from CBH #1 to be considered significant or necessary wildlife habitat."

The Fayston DRB sought the consultation of Jeffery Parsons of Arrowwood Environmental. In his report, dated March 24, 2007, Parsons cites that "CBH #2 has a density of almost 30 trees per acre, a density of bear-scarred beech that the Fish and Wildlife Department considers high enough to be critical wildlife habitat for black bears."

Though Crean assured members of the Fayston Development Review Board (DRB) that his proposed subdivision is "a good plan," neighbors and members of the Friends of Slide Brook Basin group disagreed.

The Fayston Development Review Board has 45 days from the October 16 meeting to issue notice of decision on the proposed five-lot subdivision.