Friday, January 22, 1999
Plans for three developments draw crowd: Treibick plans, Buttrick Woods and Wheeler Lane top planning board agenda
Planning board meetings threaten to replace the transfer station as the social center of Carlisle. The sign-up sheet overflowed at the January 11 meeting as townspeople showed up in droves to attend public hearings about three developments.
Jacob Diemert, attorney for Theodore Treibick, opened the first public hearing by recalling that their 1995 application for a six-house subdivision on the 23-acre property off East Street had been disapproved by the board. Treibick then sued the planning board and litigation is still pending. The owner now seeks a special permit for a common driveway that will access two existing homes plus three new lots. "This proposal uses the existing Schneebaum driveway [off East Street] and requires no wetland crossing," said Diemert. "Basically, a driveway that presently serves one house will serve five in the new plan."
Plans call for abandoning the present Treibick driveway, also off East Street, and providing access via the new common drive. This reduces the number of East Street entries from two to one. The 750-foot common drive meanders past the two existing homes and then rises in back to three new house lots. A separate driveway goes to a sixth house, but was not included in this discussion. Diemert emphasized that all are legal Approval Not Required (ANR) lots that could have six separate driveways onto East Street if the common drive were not approved.
Eric Durling of R. Wilson & Associates provided engineering specifications. The sizable crowd of neighbors standing around the head table made it difficult at times to see the unfolded maps as Durling and environmental engineer Dave Crossman pointed out details. Board member Michael Abend, his three-sided ruler always handy, measured the slope of the driveway as it approaches East Street. "I get a 12-percent grade at the entrance. This exceeds the 10-percent requirement," he noted. Durling reiterated that this is an existing driveway and thus should be considered acceptable. Member Kate Reid took exception and exclaimed, "You keep saying 'existing driveway', but it's the planning board's job to judge its new use."
Suzanne Brown of Cutters Ridge Road was concerned about East Street traffic and school bus pickup for the additional private residences. Abend referred to the alternative of six separate driveways, with the bus stopping at each house, and said he felt that one stop was safer. Fred Lewis of Bedford Road was curious about the certified letter he received, which identified the Treibick property as "Professional Building, Suite 200." Treibick sheepishly explained it away as "just stationerya cyberspace letterhead. It is a single-family dwelling."
Love Seawright of Indian Hill Road and part owner of the Bedford Road day lily nursery listened to concerns about proximity to wetlands and septic system fill before voicing her own discontent. "The stream that flows behind the proposed development provides the water that we use for irrigation and that the Shohets' cows drink." This stirred up more questions among the agitated crowd until Diemert decided to intercede. "Could we have a site visit for the neighbors?" he proposed. "Hopefully before the snow," chuckled Treibick. The group decided to meet at Treibick's house for a site walk at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 24, weather permitting. The planning board public hearing will continue on the following day. "We'll need to know by then if the ANR lots have legal access with regards to wetlands," concluded member Michael Epstein.
Next came a public hearing for Buttrick Woods, a conservation cluster consisting of two common driveways to serve 13 lots off Concord Street across from the Bisbee Land. Engineer Joe March of Stamski and McNary displayed a large map, outlined in green. Speaking for the applicant, Landwest Inc., March said, "This is a 43-acre property with 14 acres, shown in green, set aside for conservation. Two common driveways, one with six houses and the other with seven, will meet in the middle to form a loop off Concord Street."
Open space surrounds the property. March pointed to a 100-foot buffer strip along the main road and reminded the board that this was expanded from the original 60 feet. There is 50 feet of open land on either side and almost 14 acres in back. "This will all be given to the town," explained March.
Since the last meeting, a noticeable nibble, one-third of an acre, had been taken out of one corner of the conservation land. "This is Parcel X," said March. "It is being sold to the Constantines on Indian Hill Road to provide them with more space." Board members were more concerned with the detention basin along Concord Street and how this would affect shielding in the buffer zone. March alleviated their fears by explaining that pine trees will be planted alongside the basin and red maples will be placed inside to create a wooded swamp. Stone walls will be relocated along lot boundaries and could even delineate the 100-foot buffer zone, if desired.
Results of the traffic study show that 85 percent of the vehicles travelling northbound in the vicinity of the proposed intersections were going about 45 mph. Two trees will be removed at the intersection of Buttrick Lane North and three trees near Buttrick Lane South to provide adequate sight lines for this speed, although the limit is supposed to be 35 mph.
The road names prompted planning administrator George Mansfield to call attention to two recently received letters. One from fire chief Bob Koning states, "Having 'north' and 'south' designations would be very confusing for the fire department, and I would recommend having just one name." The other letter, from town clerk Sarah Andreassen, was equally critical. "We strongly believe that (NorthSouth) is very confusing for the outsider as well as local departments and strongly urge you to consider other solutions." March agreed and assured members that the north-south designations were for application purposes only and would be dropped.
Kevin Baldoni of Ice Pond Road asked, "What's the town's position on allowing school bus pick-up on common driveways such as Buttrick Lane?" Chair Tara Hengeveld recited the official policy that schoolbus pickup is provided only on town roads, but added, "There are exceptions." This struck a chord with member Dan Holzman who responded, "I live on Blaisdell Drive, which is a town road, and we don't have pickup. It's all decided by the school committee!" Presumably, the school committee will also pass judgement on Buttrick Lane.
Betsy Constantine, the owner of Parcel X, could find no trail markings on March's map and wondered whether her newly purchased patch of privacy would be traversed by hikers. March explained that no trails were shown because the town will own the conservation land. Louise Hara of the trails committee offered solace by stating that they have no firm plans for public trails in the area. "The main intent is for a wildlife corridor," said Hara. "Any trails will probably be a neighborhood effort, to be used by abutters."
Another comment from Koning was that the building of 13 homes without the installation of a 20,000-gallon water cistern for fire protection is unacceptable. This is required for a subdivision, but not a conservation cluster. March was not pleased with this suggestion, since it adds $70,000 to the cost of development. Board members were hard pressed to find space in the development to locate such a large feature. "Why not locate it across the street on the Bisbee land?" asked Abend. Hearing silence, he added, "Just a thoughtit's not obvious, otherwise, where it would go." March softened somewhat and hinted that maybe they would consider the cistern after reviewing Koning's letter. Hengeveld announced that the public hearing will continue on February 8, giving March time to respond to all the input.
Wheeler Lane plan approved
No sooner had March sat down than it was time for his next presentation, a preliminary subdivision plan for Wheeler Lane off Kimball Road. March revealed that his client, John Swanson and Tall Pines Realty Trust, was opposed to reducing the road width to 16 feet, as suggested at the last meeting, since this would preclude its acceptance as a town road. "We will consider 18 feet with two-foot shoulders, since this is adequate for a town road, to support four houses," said March.
In response to a board of health concern about where tree stumps are left, March explained, "Nowadays, we grind up all the stumps. There will be no stump dump." March reminded board members that the subdivision will not include sidewalks. The developer will attempt to reduce the diameter of the cul-de-sac from 140 feet to 100 feet if possible. Board members were satisfied and Abend moved that the preliminary plan be approved, with the noted exceptions. All agreed with a vote of 4 to 0 (Hengeveld recused).
The Gleason Public Library contingent had patiently waited in the back of the room until the crowd dispersed. Sally Swift, chair of the library building committee, unveiled the latest plans. "We've moved the driveway somewhat, as suggested. Now there's a sidewalk out to the road," explained Swift. She went on to reveal that several parking spaces had been removed to prevent damage to neighboring trees. "We're down to 33 spaces," she admitted. This brought a reaction from Mansfield who had recommended 40 spaces, was disappointed to see 36, and now was incredulous at the proposed 33.
Abend sprang forward with his three-sided ruler and measured out three parking places along Bedford Road. "Why not?" he asked. "Keep it in mind it could be done later as another project." Mansfield wished that the sidewalk committee were there to comment, but Swift was willing to consider the idea.
Meanwhile, the state's deadline of March 10 is fast approaching. "We've requested an extension," said Swift. "We need Town Meeting approval for the matching funds in order to qualify for the grant. We hope to go out for bid during the first or second week in February."
The next meeting of the planning board is scheduled for January 25.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito