News from the Home Team...       Richard Grzywinski, Chair

September 2006 news 

At this point, several critical pieces related to building our new home on Pomona Road have fallen into place, or nearly so. The Home Team met recently to refine several points of our architect's building design, which is now nearly complete. We hope to have the option of adding a deck off the main meeting room. Some new adjustments in the basement layout are aimed at providing even more workable space than in preliminary floor-plan drawings on display at the annual meeting in May 2006. Also, our site engineering firm is making some final adjustments to building and parking lot placement and -- [high excitement coming] recently we've had a backhoe on the site digging holes to evaluate our soil for the design of our future septic system.

Moving through the Pinelands approval process, however, has not proved to be easy or quick, despite some truly outstanding help we've received. The very good news: as our environmental consultants, Jack Connor and Steve Whitford completed a detailed series of surveys that determined that our site is not habitat for any of the three threatened or endangered birds Pinelands demanded we check for: Barred owl, Red-headed woodpecker, and Coopers hawk.

The more problematic news: Pinelands notified us in August that it intends to require us to conduct time-consuming trapping studies for the Northern pine snake, largely based on a Pinelands record of such a pine snake having been spotted somewhere near our property in the past. We have a meeting scheduled with Pinelands staff in early September to ask for clarification on this matter, to discuss options and negotiate the issue in more detail. We hope to have an update available on this in the next newsletter.

-- Jon Luoma
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