The Conservation Commission has ordered a full restoration of the 2 Gully Road property that was clear-cut in violation of the Wetland Protection Act last Christmas, according to a press release distributed Monday morning.
The restoration will take three years and require the removal of invasive species as well as the planting of 445 native trees, shrubs and other plants across the area.
“While it is unacceptable that this unpermitted activity took place, all parties involved responded quickly and provided a thorough, professional response,” the press release read in part. “The developed restoration plan is comprehensive and in the long run should provide a habitat that is in keeping with the interests of the Wetlands Protection Act.”
Dubbed the “Christmas Catastrophe,” the clear-cutting took place immediately before the DiMartino family sold the 3.2-acre waterfront property to the Sconset Trust for $4.75 million.
The DiMartinos are paying for the restoration work to be completed. The full cost of the project is not known, according to Nantucket Natural Resources Department head Jeff Carlson.
Robert Slade, who the DiMartinos contracted to do the work, felled 151 Japanese black pines and an eastern red cedar, clearing the view from the DiMartinos’ house to the ocean. In several recent meetings, Commissioners debated whether Slade should be named in the press release, but ultimately voted on July 20th to approve a draft that includes his name.
Last Christmas, Conservation Commission Chair Ian Golding (vice chair at the time) called the clear-cutting “malicious damage at a level I don't think we’ve ever experienced.”
To facilitate the restoration of the Sconset property, the Conservation Commission is requiring a three-year monitoring and maintenance plan and regular reporting. The Commission is also holding a bond to guarantee the project is funded and completed.
While the clear-cutting was done on private property, it occurred in an area considered to be a coastal dune, protected under the Wetlands Protection Act and Nantucket Wetlands Bylaw. Any work done in a portion of the island covered by those regulations is under the purview of the Conservation Commission.
“The Nantucket Conservation Commission and Town of Nantucket Natural Resources Department are happy to work with any property owner to develop plans for proper habitat management on any property,” the press release read. “The Conservation Commission recommends that all contractors or parties hired to conduct work for property owners confirm that all permits are in hand and request copies prior to doing any work.”