Friday, February 5, 1999
Meeting consensus generally in favor of two cul-de-sacs for Hunters Run
Once again, discussion of the Hunters Run subdivision drew a crowd to the January 25 meeting of the planning board. In an effort to appease town officials and abutters, the developer presented a revised conceptual plan which met with mixed reactions.
Discussion continued on the informal conceptual plan for the subdivision known as Hunters Run located off Nickles Lane and Oak Knoll Road. Douglas Hausler, attorney representing landowners Robert and Jean Kydd, opened by stating that they have had further discussions with abutters and the town fire chief. Obviously frustrated, Hausler explained that they have spent considerable time and effort trying to reach an agreement. "We're at wit's end," he lamented. "There will either be a through road or notit's your decision."
Hausler introduced John Boardman of Ross Associates and asked him to describe the latest variation of the belabored subdivision. "The last proposal featured ten new houses, six on a Nickles Lane cul-de-sac and four on the Oak Knoll extension," said Boardman. "We now propose a seven-lot subdivisionthree on Nickles Lane and four on Oak Knoll." A 12-foot-wide loop road, possibly one-way, replaces the turnaround at the end of each cul-de-sac. Citing concerns of the fire chief, Boardman indicated that three houses could have direct access from the Oak Knoll loop, leaving only one house at the end of a 330-foot driveway. He also revealed willingness to construct a fire cistern if the latest plan meets with board approval. But the key question, one that has thus far defied resolution, is "Do we provide a through road or two cul-de-sacs?"
Chair Tara Hengeveld opened the floor to discussion and first to be recognized was fire chief Bob Koning. "I believe the best plan is a through road," said Koning. "That has not changed. I'm also concerned about this loop road; our fire trucks can't get by in the winter if there's a car parked in the loop. I'd like to see three cisterns, two up in the Oak Knoll area and an upgrade of the Nickles Lane cistern from 10,000 gallons to 20,000 gallons." Member Michael Epstein asked for Koning's feeling about the 330-foot driveway. "We already have 400-foot driveways around townwe'll live with it. But I wouldn't want to see two houses on that length of driveway."
Richard Meyer of Nickles Lane viewed the decision as a public safety issue. "I'm concerned about a child being hit by a car coming down the hill at 40 miles per hour. I endorse the cul-de-sacs," he said. Tom McAndrew of Nickles Lane shuddered at the thought of a through road with 20 feet of fill and guard rails. Chris Chin of Hemlock Hill was concerned about the dangerous attraction that a ten-percent grade would present to kids on wheels but member Dan Holzman didn't see this as an added danger. "Oak Knoll has a 12-percent grade, so Hunters isn't worse." Holzman clarified his comment by admitting that he's not in favor of a through road either, but grade is not the issue.
Stewart Roberts of Nickles Lane worried about blasting and the effect on his adjacent home. "The topography doesn't lend itself to a through road. There'll be a 700-foot by 18-foot trench produced by a scale of blasting never before seen in Carlisle." Roberts made clear his preference. "The new proposal with two cul-de-sacs avoids blasting and I'm in favor of it." Milan Bedrosian of Nickles Lane agreed. "The through road plan is not Carlisle-like," he said. "Cul-de-sacs provide neighborhood security and I support them completely."
Those who thought that consensus was imminent weren't familiar with the history of Hunters Run. Next to speak from the audience was Susan Baxter of Hemlock Hill. "Everybody is happy with the cul-de-sacs except us on lower Hemlock," said Baxter. "This means more traffic. Four more houses, eight more cars service vehicles, delivery trucks, we get two passes from everyone because of the dead end." Baxter believes that Hemlock Hill and Laurelwood Drive will no longer be safe roads. "A through road would lessen traffic on both ends. Your new plan makes everybody happy up there, but not us."
Praise for landowner
Ken Jeffers, an abutter on Oak Knoll, admitted that he'd rather the property was never developed. "However, I want to thank the Kydds. They have been terrific through the whole process."
Planning board administrator George Mansfield distributed letters from Ferris Taylor of Hemlock Hill Road and David and Joanne Kelch of Oak Knoll Road. They generally agreed with the cul-de-sac proposal, but had reservations about the additional houses off Oak Knoll. Jerry Smith of Hemlock Hill Road also voiced his concern at the meeting. "There used to be two lots, now there's four. Is there a way to use the savings of no-through-road to create fewer lots?" asked Smith. Hausler was not sympathetic. "We've reduced the lots from ten to seven already. I have difficulty believing that seven houses add that much traffic," he concluded.
An informal conceptual plan does not require action by the board, but rather is intended to encourage comments and recommendations. Epstein summed up the situation. "We are faced with two un-ideal situations. I believe the lesser of two evils is the latest cul-de-sac plan." Epstein cautioned that he would not accept a plan that didn't have the fire chief's approval, implying a need for three cisterns and turnouts to prevent blockage. He also would like to see the Nickles Lane entrance onto East Street improved. Member Bill Tice agreed, but said, "I wish there were fewer lots on the Oak Knoll side." Hengeveld concluded the session by voicing appreciation for the Kydds' attempt to work with neighbors.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito