Friday, July 2, 1999
ConsCom bends to allow Concord Street construction
The Carlisle Conservation Commission bent the rules for an applicant who was so enmeshed in regulations that logic and empathy rather than conformity carried the day. After reading one letter from conservation administrator Katrina Proctor that explained to the present owner of Coppermine Farm Judith Pettit the regulations governing land on Lowell Street that she is selling to developer John Dowcett and then reading a second communication to the new owner from planning board administrator George Mansfield, sympathy for both recipients was inescapable.
Dowcett explained that he was about to pass papers on Lot 2 and was interested in buying Lot 3, if and when, that site was deemed buildable. In the meantime, he has started clearing the land on Lot 2 and is anxious to begin home construction as soon as possible. However, for Lot 3 to be considered "buildable" under the Wetlands Protection Act, there must be provision for a common drive across and including Lot 2, owing to the presence of Isolated Land Subject to Flooding (ILSF). Unfortunately, the proposed common drive cannot be assumed or built without a special permit from the planning board, which involves complicated access requirements and cannot be obtained quickly, if at all. Meanwhile, Dowcett has been prohibited from starting to build the Lot 2 house in the location necessary for approval of the common drive because of an enforcement order served on Pettit last month by ConsCom to protect the ILSF until such drive can be approved.
Dowcett noted that he could build the Lot 2 house in a different location and forget about Lot 3, but he did not want to preclude Pettit from using or selling that lot, "because she has been so understanding all along."
Commissioners agreed that the contours of the site made Dowcett's unapproved plans the most logical solution. Concurring with commissioner Steven Hinton's assessment that, "continuing this order is obviously detrimental from all aspects," they voted to remove it. Dowcett can now proceed with construction on Lot 2 and the future development of Lot 3 remains a possibility.
Far less convoluted were four Notices of Intent (NOIs) continued from June 10. The plans covered lots toward the rear of Buttrick Lane in the conservation cluster off Concord Road. The commissioners had previously found few problems with the proposals as presented by Beth Schultz of Stamski and McNary but had been unable to act on them in the absence of septic system approval from the board of health. Although the systems were approved in the interim, the commissioners returned to a previously unresolved question about "pertinent, visible barriers" to mark a 25-foot no-disturbance zone along the edge of the wetlands. Noting that she did not like to leave the line of demarcation up to the owners, chair Jo Rita Jordan commented, "Boulders form a very solid boundary; pink flamingos won't do." Following that logic, Hinton recommended one-square-yard boulders no further than 30 feet apart. Owners could then fill in the line with a stone wall or place a fence in front of the boulders, if they so desired. A standard order of conditions also stated that any future work beyond the boulder line would require filing of an NOI.
Another holdover from the June 10 meeting concerned plans for a 750-foot roadway accessing a four-house subdivision behind the Swanson home on Curve Street. Renamed Wilkins Lane, the roadway proposed by John Swanson and Tall Pines Realty Trust was approved by the planning board at its last meeting. Although ConsCom recommendations that the drainage infrastructure be simplified were not accepted by the board, they did agree to eliminate curbing that commissioners had feared might restrict wildlife movement. Happy to hear that a trail easement had also been requested, commissioners voted approval and issued an order of conditions.
David St. Onge, owner of a lot on Hillside Drive, requested approval of an amended NOI. He explained that the final plans received from his architect subsequent to his original appearance required moving and reducing the footprint of the house. The change brought the structure a little closer to the wetland, a distance of 25 feet at its nearest point.
Commissioner Christine Bopardikar was concerned that the new specifications might bring future lawn activities even closer to the resource area. However, St. Onge revealed that he has consulted the Massachusetts Audubon Society about steps to sustain the ecosystem and naturalize the lot as much as possible. Bopardikar suggested blueberry bushes for an area near a small pond.
Abutter Terry Herndon inquired about the status of a town easement. Since that issue did not fall within ConsCom's jurisdiction, the board accepted the changes with the proviso that a planting plan be approved by Proctor before construction starts.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito