The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 12, 1999


Resolution of school septic system remains mired in legal system

On February 1 the town of Carlisle received notification of opposition from Bedford Road residents Timothy and Phyllis Landers to the town's Motion for an Expedited Decision. Resolution of the Landerses' legal suit protesting the construction of the Carlisle School's new septic system on the Banta-Davis Land has become mired in the Massachusetts legal system. Frustration was expressed by the school committee members at their meeting on March 2.

The Landerses, through their attorney David Blackmar of Sherburne, Powers, Holland & Knight, feel that an expedited decision to build the septic system is not warranted. In a letter sent to the Honorable James Rooney of administration appeals in the office of environmental protection, the abutters express the opinion that the Carlisle Public School and town of Carlisle are "undeserving of any special treatment or consideration for a project that is illegal under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protections Act, as amended by the Rivers Protection Act....The town has failed to demonstrate that there was a true emergency....Judge James Rooney should order the Department of Environmental Protection to issue a superceding order of conditions denying the project as a matter of law."

Superintendent Davida Fox-Melanson explained to committee members that this will add to the cost of the project. Another building season will be missed and the project will have to be rebid. The town cannot rebid while the project is in litigation. Committee members Paul Morrison and Cindy Nock questioned whether there were alternative ways to proceed legally while member Suzanne Whitney-Smith asked, "Is there a consumer advocate they could go to, to expedite the project? It is in the public interest." Currently the town is spending $900 a month to pump the school septic system, an amount which is expected to increase because the school needs to search out a new septic service company provider.

In March 1996, the school's septic system leaching field located on Spalding Field failed to meet the state's Title 5 regulations. After exploring the possibilities, designers agreed that the best location for the replacement system would be on the Banta-Davis Land and all local boards approved the plans. However, the school has been unable to proceed with the repair due to legal issues brought by the Landerses.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito