Friday, September 3, 1999
Consider other sites for affordable housing
To the Editor:
I am writing to speak out against the proposal to use the Conant Land for affordable housing. I have no objections to affordable housing; diversity in Carlisle is past due.
However, I don't believe the Conant Land is the proper site for this housing. The Conant Land already supports the fire station, police station and the Town Hall and their attendant requirements for water, septic and parking areas.
Picture a cluster of homes with no garages, and the required street, driveways and parking areas for two cars each, a total of 18 to 24 parking spaces. Now picture the Conant land in its present state and visualize the resultant destruction of trees, wildlife habitat, and the rock and ledge blasting that will be required for this construction. It's not a pretty picture, is it? The housing authority may propose one parking space per unit. This is unrealistic, and everyone who lives in town and drives elsewhere for everything knows it.
The housing authority is also working on the premise that construction costs will be approximately $80 per square foot. Any articles, books or discussions with architects I have had over the past few years state that construction should be estimated at $100 to$125 per square foot, and that is without any "unusual" site preparation required. The Conant site will require blasting. A local, well-known and well-respected hydro-geologist says that there is a very real danger that blasting may result in rock fractures that could impact the water table. The natural filtering system could be destroyed so that any kind of pollutant (septic, road salt, oil/gas) could be widely dispersed through the groundwater. The long-term ramifications would be felt throughout the town if a municipal water supply were then required to repair a costly problem that doesn't need to transpire.
We must consider other sites for the affordable housing. A site that comes immediately to mind is the Banta-Davis land that has a flat site designated as "proposed/future playing field." Having a small neighborhood there would also diminish or eliminate the potential for vandalism. Could the designation of conservation land for the Wang-Coombs site be modified to include "other town uses?" That is also a level parcel of land that would require minimal site preparation and is already on a main road.
Bottom line: affordable housing is good. We need it; we just don't need it on the Conant Land.
Sharon L. Connors
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito