Friday, April 2, 1999
Conservation commission opposes release of Pine Meadows lots
The Carlisle Conservation Commission spoke up for both current and imminent abutters to two "park land" lots set aside by the planning board when it approved the Pine Meadows subdivision in October 1997. Under an agreement with developer William Costello, the two lots would not be subject to development without further board approval for a period of three years. If at the end of that time neither the town nor any private group indicated an interest in buying them for open space or recreational use, the developer would be free to proceed with house construction.
ConsCom was moved to action by a reported request from Costello that the planning board shorten the three-year holdout period and permit him to take advantage of the current market. In response, commissioners voted to inform the board of their opposition to any such early release of the properties. Commissioner Christine Bopardikar held that cutting the holdout period was unfair to abutters who would need a substantial period of time in which to work out an agreement among themselves, or perhaps in cooperation with a town body, that would retain the land for open space or recreation.
Commissioner John Lee pointed out that the abutters most immediately involved haven't even moved into Pine Meadows yet. "Just because the real estate market is hot, it doesn't mean [the town] should accommodate the developer," he insisted. He followed up by moving that the commission inform the board that they do not support releasing Costello from his agreement any earlier than is absolutely necessary. As for the planning board, on March 22 they postponed action on the Costello request until April 20, to allow for recommendations from other town boards.
Owing to a two-week postponement of a hearing on a Request for Determination (RDA) from Nextel Communications concerning their need to file an application for construction of a 100-foot monopole at 1 River Road, the commission used the hiatus to discuss a non-agenda item raised by Les Bishop. The developer was unhappy at the commission's previous denial of his request that they issue a Certificate of Compliance immediately on his Overlook Drive construction. The board had made it clear that they wanted to wait until the snow was gone and the ground thawed out. Bopardikar asked why the applicant hadn't made the request in late fall while the grass was still green. She noted that if any work had been done since then, she would want to see that the construction was indeed stabilized.
Commissioner Tricia Smith suggested that a date be set for a site visit after the ground had thawed. "The third week in April would not be unreasonable considering the problems we've had," she said. The reference was presumably to a series of washouts that had occurred last year at the site. A commission visit was scheduled for Wednesday, April 21, at 6:30 p.m.
The board heard an amended construction plan or Notice of Intent (NOI) from James Harris for his lot on Hutchins Road in the Tall Pines subdivision. His engineer, William McNary, proposed revising the grading in the rear of the house, allowing contractors to fill in a depression to avoid puddling. The work would require extension of the hay bales, affecting 1,500 square feet in the buffer zone at a distance of approximately 80 feet from a bordering vegetated wetland.
A second change was requested, this one concerning a commission requirement that a no-disturbance line be clearly marked by a row of 17 granite posts six inches in diameter every 20 feet. McNary declared that this would be both expensive to the owner and destructive to the wooded terrain, since motorized equipment would be required to fulfill the specifications. He asked to be allowed to install four-by-four wooden posts that could be implanted manually. Chair JoRita Jordan noted that the board normally prefers boulders as markers, but feared they might roll down the hill on this site.
Reminding McNary that what the board was looking for was a reasonably permanent barrier to encroachment on the wetland, Lee said he was amenable to a compromise solution, namely a line of cedar posts of roughly the same dimensions. The commission approved that solution.
Elizabeth Ridge swimming pool
McNary returned to the witness table to answer questions posed by the commission at the opening of a public hearing two weeks ago, where the engineer presented specifications for a swimming pool and retaining wall at the Elizabeth Drive home of Judy Fowler Sieffert. As previously requested, McNary furnished more detailed and elaborate plans for a drainage basin to catch the water in the annual fall draw-out from the pool. He also showed specifications for two fences enclosing the pool and running along the top of the retaining wall. Satisfied with the additional information, the commissioners closed the hearing and issued a standard order of conditions.
Davis Road trees must stand
The board was less agreeable to a written request from resident Marilyn Kelleher to be allowed to cut down two large trees on her Davis Road lot. It was her contention that the trees presented a hazard to the house. Bopardikar, who was familiar with the site, said the trunks of the trees were so thick they couldn't possibly fall on the house, but suggested that they be pruned. Lee then moved that the owner be advised that the commission would pursue the matter only if she had a professional arborist confirm the existence of a hazard.
Curve Street new construction
Engineer Jody Minkle presented a Stamski and McNary follow-up to an NOI for construction of a house on a Curve Street lot owned by John Swanson. The commission had extended the public hearing two weeks ago to allow time for receipt of a report from the Natural Heritage program on possible endangerment of protected wildlife. No cautionary report being forthcoming, a standard order of conditions was issued.
Davis Road NOI
The first new NOI of the evening also went to Minkle, who presented plans for a house, driveway, well and utilities on a Davis Road lot in the Tall Pines subdivision. Commissioner Claire Wilcox was interested in the specifications for a "lawn drain" which the engineer admitted was unusual but necessary to accommodate a basement walkout in a wet area. Smith asked that a leaching basin be added to receive and handle the resulting deluge. That utility having been agreed to, the public hearing was closed.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito