Benfield affordable housing timeline

The following is a chronology of events related to the town’s Benfield Land:

Pre-2004 – The Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF) worked with the Benfield family to plan a limited development of the roughly 150-acre Benfield holdings on South and West Streets. The town was offered a discounted price to purchase a section (Parcel A).

Spring 2004 – The town bought the 45-acre parcel for $2 million, using Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding. In the rear of the property, 26 acres were set aside for conservation. The remaining 19 acres were to be used for up to 26 units of affordable housing and one athletic field. A preliminary layout showed a ballfield near South Street and the housing in the center of the property. Community input was to be gathered and the specific locations were to be determined by a task force. If that process failed to reach a consensus by June 30, 2005 both the housing and ballfield would be sited on default locations in the interior of the property.

Summer 2004 – The Benfield Task Force met, charged with developing a plan for affordable housing and an athletic field. John Ballantine chaired the group, which included South Street residents, as well as representatives from the Planning Board, Recreation Commission, Conservation Commission and Housing Authority.

Abutter Tim Fohl presented a map showing the location of possible Native American stones and Wampanoag and Narragansett tribal representatives said that certain stones in the woods had been used in the past for ceremonial purposes. In response, the state’s Public Archaeology Laboratory examined the land, and agreed that Native Americans had been present there in the past. However, the state did not conclude that the land qualified as a “registered” historic site.

September 2005 – A blue-spotted salamander was found on the property by abutter Steffi Samman. The amphibian was listed as a species of “special concern” under the Massachusetts Endangered Species Act. The state’s Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program was contacted and checked the property for salamander habitat. Two vernal pools were noted.

By September 2006 – the task force recommended moving the housing to the edge of the property, by South Street. The ballfield location was shifted to the interior of the parcel.

October 2006 – Town Meeting voted to accept the new configuration with the housing by the road in order to protect the salamander habitat.

Summer 2007 – The Housing Authority accepted the deed to the 4.39-acre designated housing site near the street.

Spring 2008 – Town Meeting authorizes spending up to $425,000 in CPA funds to support construction of Benfield infrastructure, including the driveway, well and septic system. Six developers show interest in the Benfield housing project.

January 2009 – Carlisle chooses the Neighborhood for Affordable Housing (NOAH) to develop and manage the affordable housing. NOAH submits a comprehensive permit application with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) in November.

July 2010 – The ZBA issues a comprehensive permit.

May 2012 – NOAH’s Benfield Farms development proposal receives a $2.6 million funding package from the Department of Housing and Community Development.

Spring 2013 – Estimated ground breaking. ∆