The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 5, 1999


Should the town prohibit irregularly shaped lots?

Members of the planning board discussed a possible bylaw amendment that would establish requirements for "lot regularity." This was instigated by the recent application from Theodore Treibick in which oddly shaped lots are strung out with very thin connections to obtain sufficient acreage. Westford and Groton presently apply a "coefficient of regularity" to prohibit irregularly shaped lots. That formula is applied only to that portion of the lot that conforms to the minimum dimensional requirements (frontage and area), thus allowing greater irregularity on large parcels where such irregularity is not used to meet minimum requirements.

Carlisle does have some restrictions for lot regularity, such as a minimum width of 40 feet up to the building site, a minimum depth of 40 feet along 80 percent of the frontage, and the circle/ellipse requirement. These are apparently not fully effective, as seen in the Treibick example. The coefficient of regularity is calculated by multiplying the lot area by 16 and dividing the result by the square of the perimeter. The number, which is a dimensionless coefficient, must be greater than 0.4 to qualify.

A perfect square has a coefficient of 1.0. For example, a two-foot by two-foot square has an area of four. Four multiplied by 16 equals 64. The perimeter is eight. Eight squared equals 64. Dividing one by the other equals a coefficient of 1. As the lot becomes more irregular, the coefficient drops. A two-by-four rectangle equals a coefficient of 0.88. A coefficient of less than the 0.4 limit corresponds to a rectangle of 2 by 16.

"This could limit remote ownership of land or creative developments," said chair Tara Hengeveld. The Groton version of the bylaw states that the planning board may waive this requirement if it determines that a less stringent requirement will result in a better potential house siting, less environmental damage, or better land use. Board members will continue to evaluate the application of a coefficient of regularity to building lots.

Two ANRs

Two Approval Not Required (ANR) plans were approved by the board with little discussion. Theonie Mark of 328 Concord Street requested that her single lot be divided into two parcels. This was endorsed by a vote of 5-0. The second ANR plan contained a slight movement of the boundary between lots 2A and 3B on Hutchins Road. Member Dan Holzman asked a couple of times why but the remainder of the board thought it was irrelevant. The plan was endorsed by a vote of 3-0, with Hengeveld recused and Holzman abstained.

The next meeting of the planning board is scheduled for March 8.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito