Friday, May 22, 1998

Conflicts on Malcolm Meadows, Berry Corner and Ice Pond continue

by Dave Ives

Malcolm Meadows' plans for landscaping, a sixth lot on Berry Corner Lane and Ice Pond Road have been thorns in the side of planning board members for quite a while. Another chapter was written on each issue at the board's May 12 meeting, but it does not appear that any of the cases are closed.

Vice-chair Tara Hengeveld introduced newly elected member Kate Reid to everyone at the planning board meeting on May 12. Reid took her seat with others on the board, but was a non-voting member since she had not been sworn in. The other newly elected member, Dan Holzman, did not attend.

Petition from Malcolm Meadows

First on the agenda was review of the draft decision and endorsement of plans for Malcolm Meadows on Stearns Street. This amendment to a special permit by Northwest Structures, Inc., requested the relocation and redesign of the fire cistern to meet fire department specifications. The applicant also requested the rearrangement of certain plantings to comply with the preferences of residents of the senior residential community. The planning board's consulting engineers, LandTech, Inc., reviewed the final amendments and recommended their approval.

Board members gave a sigh of relief as the final plans were submitted for sign-off. At that point, Bill Reeder, a resident of Malcolm Meadows, stepped forward and presented a petition from ten owners to change the plans. Residents were unaware that the plans called for a sidewalk which narrows the width of their

street from 20 feet down to 16 feet and reduces the parking area. They also fear that the sidewalk will get damaged by snowplows and they will have to pay for repair.

"We don't have the power to stop this," lamented Hengeveld. "The developer [Ron Peabody] is complying with the approved plan. We'll need to have a public hearing and it will be another month before it gets resolved. Meanwhile, Peabody wants to finish the job." Not discouraged by these added complications, Reeder emphasized his determination by asserting, "We'll sit in the street to prevent this sidewalk from being built." Board members finally agreed to sign the plans as presented, and planning administrator George Mansfield will contact Peabody in an attempt to negotiate a solution.

Mansfield distributed a letter from Peabody's attorney, Steven Graham, in response to a query from Eunice Knight on behalf of the Carlisle Conservation Foundation. Knight recalled that Peabody promised to move a stone wall on the western side of Malcolm Meadows over to the property boundary and she wanted to know if that promise would be honored. The answer from Peabody was "no." It would be necessary to bring in heavy equipment and remove most of the trees in the area between the present location of the wall and the property line. The expense of moving the wall now is far greater than during early stages of development. The board members concurred.

Berry Corner Lane

The issue of a sixth lot on Berry Corner Lane was revisited. The planning board previously refused to approve the plan of owners Michael and David Valchuis because access to the sixth lot was not on a subdivision road. William

McNary of Stamski and McNary submitted an upgraded roadway plan including a "T" turnaround located on the Valchuis land. McNary also requested an on-site visit with someone from his engineering firm and a member of the board.

Jack Schulz and Dick Wells, both residents of Berry Corner Lane, stepped forward to review the new plans. Member John LaLiberté opened the discussion by proposing, "What if Valchuis was willing to pay for improvements which will bring the roadway up to present standards?"

Schulz countered, "It would be a shame to have it widened out." Wells added, "It's a quiet and picturesque country lane. The planning board in 1970 was happy with it. Present residents own the lane and pay taxes on it. A sixth owner adds complications. There is no advantage whatsoever."

Member Michael Abend observed, "You both seem to be against any kind of improvement." Both Wells and Schulz immediately responded, "Yes!" The owners of the lane have agreed to grant access to the Valchuis property under certain circumstances. Asked if this might be construed as an expression of willingness to have a sixth house on the lane, Wells replied, "It reflects advice of counsel that land court might allow access, in which case the owners would have no control over any ensuing development. We wanted to avoid spending $30,000 in land court."

Discussion finally returned to the original supposition that Valchuis pay for upgrading Berry Corner Lane to present-day common driveway standards. Wells stiffened his opposition by reminding the board, "Valchuis cannot improve the driveway without the owners' approval." No one in the room expected that approval to be forthcoming.


Hengeveld summed it up by saying, "Valchuis has provided a plan as requested by the planning board. Do the landowners give permission for a site visit?" The response was affirmative and a site visit was planned for Wednesday, May 20.

Ice Pond Road

Acceptance of Ice Pond Road proved to be surprisingly controversial at the recent Town Meeting. This was due in large part to concerns about trail access to the Great Brook Farm State park via Aberdeen Drive, a common driveway off Ice Pond Road.

Trails committee co-chair Judy Lane described the fuzzy history of the Ice Pond trail easement leading up to its present location in a swamp. She expressed similar frustration with the Tall Pines trail easement which requires one to rappel over a rock ledge to gain access. Trail easements are clearly being lost in the shuffle of road relocations and site plan changes.

Former chair Susan Yanofsky agreed to write a letter to the selectmen to clarify what she feels are misunderstandings at Town Meeting concerning the planning board acceptance of Ice Pond Road. Lane said that the trails committee plans to meet with residents of Aberdeen Drive on June 4 in an attempt to work out an easement agreement. Planning administrator Mansfield will try to piece together a chronology of the confusing chain of events.

The next meeting of the planning board will be Tuesday, May 26 during which they plan to hold internal elections.