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The Conservation Commission handled a number of issues at Thursday's meeting.

Adams ConCom Praise Organic Herbicide Used On Rail Trail

By Jeff SnoonianPrint Story | Email Story
ADAMS, Mass. — Adams Conservation Commission praised the use of an organic herbicide to clean up the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail Thursday.
The commission discussed the process that resulted in an organic herbicide being applied along the trail to knock down some overgrown vegetation. 
"We like to protect the people of the town of Adams," said Commissioner Thomas Robinson regarding the use of a citrus oil-based herbicide.  
DPW superintendent Tim Kota and licensed applicator Jim Hall presented the herbicide to the commission at a prior meeting and after some vetting and the mandatory ten working days notice it was approved for use on the trail. Signage was installed and gates along the trail were closed while the application was taking place. 
Although the material was approved for use on the rail trail, the commission might still require approval for use in other areas. Commissioner Brian Bishop is open to the idea of speeding up the approval process saying, "If we find out that this material is approved by the powers that be above us then how can we deny it?"
The Commission also gave Burt Street resident Robert Tomkiewicz to raise the elevation on a section of his property to remove the need for flood insurance. 
Brian Koczela of BEK Associates, the firm assisting Tomkiewicz with his local and FEMA applications, said that "the minor alterations could save my client a couple of thousand dollars by eliminating the need for flood insurance."
The commission ruled that the work on Burt Street is not subject to any municipal wetlands ordinance. The ruling gives Tomkiewicz the green light to present his application to FEMA.
There will be construction starting soon at 423 West Rd. after the commission gave the OK to start building a new home on the site. Although the permit was already approved in the spring the foundation work for the modular home was delayed slightly as the commission felt the silt fence and runoff/erosion protection was not what was specified on the plans.
"They had a drawing dictating what they were supposed to do and they were not doing it," said Robinson.  
After a site visit, the commissioners are satisfied that the conditions have now been met and the foundation work will begin shortly.
The last piece of business Thursday was an in-house matter regarding the restoration of the commission to its full seven members. The commission has been short two members for several months with the departures of Zach Bantle and Cory Bishop. Local resident Natasha Bordeau has expressed interest in serving thus bringing the membership to six.
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Property Taxes Set to Rise in Adams

By Jeff SnoonianiBerkshires Correspondent
ADAMS, Mass. — The Board of Selectmen on Wednesday night set a tax rate for fiscal 2020 that is up 2 percent over fiscal 2019. 
Homeowners will pay $21.88, an increase of 49 cents per $1,000 of valuation while commercial properties will rise by 59 cents to $25.99 per $1,000. 
The average single-family home was valued at $147,266 in fiscal 2019 and the bill $3,150.
The board decided to continue the split tax rate and voted for a 115 percent shift factor for the second year in a row. The residential rate is still down from an all-time high of $22.21 per $1,000 in 2018.
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