The town recently discovered a man-made wall built directly into the town drinking water supply without its approval and wants it removed.
But the resident who built the wall says it has been there for decades, and the town just never noticed it.
In a July 25 Wetlands Protection Act enforcement order, Conservation Director Bob Douglas wrote that the installation of a retaining wall and foundation within a wetland and its buffers at 14 Evergreen Lane “is occurring with no permits under the Andover Bylaw” or the protection act.
The wetland Douglas refers to is Haggetts Pond, the body of water along Lowell Street from which Andover residents get their drinking water. The town’s water treatment plant is on Haggetts Pond.
“The work consists of large foundation stones being mortared into place and appears to be recent in nature,” Douglas wrote.
On the same day the enforcement order was issued, acting Inspector of Buildings Chris Clemente issued a cease-and-desist order against property owner Will Horsley.
Resident defends work
But according to Horsley, the construction itself isn’t recent, and even if it was, he should be able to protect his property.
In a letter to the town, Horsley wrote that “there have been preexisting retaining walls over the past decades on my lake frontage.”
In the letter, Horsley explained that when he discovered a pre-existing wall on the property in the mid-1980s, he went through the effort of rebuilding the wall. Five years ago, he started repairing the wall again after “it seemed to succumb to the elements” over the last two decades.
The reason for keeping the wall, he says, is obvious. With erosion, trees along the shoreline are exposed to the elements much more than normal. Without retaining walls, they commonly die and fall into the pond, causing greater issues.