Editor, Townsman:

It is a great relief that the protracted dispute between the town and Mr. James Berberian has at last been settled. The case seemed unfortunate and unnecessary — not the proudest moment for the town, which generally is on the right side in caring for the environment. The damage done needs rectifying — not a punitive settlement that hurts the town and gives the appearance of enriching the landowner and his able attorney. Preserving wetlands and water quality are ongoing and important issues for the town. While I certainly expect that the town has learned its lesson and will correct its procedures in the future, I can only hope that the settlement might also encourage the beneficiaries of the settlement to share their proceeds to broadly promote wetlands protection in town.

Today, I received the annual report from the Shawsheen River Watershed Association accounting for another year of excellent work advocating for preservation and use of the river and its associated wetlands. In 2013, it along with its partners, including AVIS,, and the Andover Trails Committee, hosted countless events and trips educating our town to the important resource values of the Shawsheen River, supported the development of a Shawsheen River Greenway and fostered scientific research to assure its water quality and quantity. I can only dream of what good could come from this settlement if even a portion was directed to supporting those volunteer organizations that help our town protect its critical wetlands and natural resources.

In the spirit of reconciliation, I hope that all involved in this case can make something positive come out of it for our town.

Steve Golden

13 Robandy Road

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