Friday, May 1, 1998

Daniel Holzman Write-in Candidate for Planning Board

Five-year term

Tell us a little about yourself.

I was born in New York City in 1954 and raised as a would-be street hockey player and basketball star. Unfortunately, I lacked athletic talent, so eventually went to Dalton School on a chess scholarship (hard to believe, but true). I attended college at the State University of New York at Syracuse, studying forestry. When I got out, there were no forestry jobs so I became a civil engineer in Wisconsin specializing in dam safety. I am still known as that dam engineer.

I moved to Massachusetts in 1987 with my wife and then one child, and managed a branch office of a civil engineering company. In 1991 we moved to Carlisle where we have lived since. I currently manage a branch office of a different civil engineering company specializing in site development, telecommunications facilities, and water resource planning.

Experience, knowledge or special interest:

I have over 20 years of experience in civil engineering design, including water, wastewater. geotechnical and telecommunications, experience. As Carlisle is currently experiencing rapid growth, which will continue until the last lot is developed, I feel that my civil experience is very relevant. Additionally, I worked as an engineering consultant to the Carlisle Board of Health for five years so I am very familiar with local and state regulations pertaining to the design of septic systems and wells, which are integral to the design of all subdivisions in town.

The biggest challenge:

The biggest challenge for the planning board is likely to be the application of the new subdivision regulations to the six or so proposed subdivisions currently pending. Each subdivision presents unique opportunities for creative application of the rules and regulations, and the use of new rules is always difficult and exciting. In addition to the subdivision issue, the planning board is Iikely to become involved in several other complex issues, such as planning a town center water supply, cleanup of hazardous waste, and long-term planning for the preservation of the rural character of the town.

Other brief comments:

As a seven-year resident, I have watched several large subdivisions groan their way onto the landscape. As a professional designer myself, I am painfully aware of the hard choices which must be made by the planning board in each case. Trade-offs between open space, public safety, trails, appearance, drainage, well and septic locations, and traffic patterns require an open mind with an awareness of the complex connections between the issues. I think I can bring practical perspective to these considerations.

On the proposed bylaw for preservation of barns and historic buildings:

The new proposed bylaw providing incentives for the adaptive re-use of older barns seems like a good idea for preserving a historical part of the Carlisle landscape. The bylaw must be carefully crafted to prevent inadvertent permission for otherwise unacceptable uses such as industrial or milling operations, but presuming these safeguards are in place, I support the idea.

Should the board pursue additional strategies to maintain a diversity of housing?

The Carlisle reality is that land values are so high that virtually all new homeowners have a very high income. Past efforts to promote affordable housing have met with limited results, despite large expenditures of effort by some very dedicated individuals. The Malcolm Meadows senior housing project is an example of a successful project to promote lower cost housing for elderly residents, but opportunities for such projects in a town of $200,000 lots are limited and require extraordinary work by concerned parties. I believe that efforts towards preserving open space, historical structures, and attractive vistas (such as the O'Rourke purchase) ultimately may help to preserve what we all love about Carlisle, better than attempts to defeat the financial reality of home values.