Friday, September 24, 1999
Wetland crossing, path and cisterns: issues for Rutland Street development
On September 13, the planning board continued a review of Great Brook Estates, a 43-acre subdivision extending from 195 Rutland Street to 120 Pine Brook Road. This is an application by Albert Gould and Betsy Goldenberg for a 12-lot development consisting of a 1,000-foot cul-de-sac (Great Brook Path) off Rutland Street and separate common driveway serving three houses off Pine Brook. The issue of back taxes was put to rest. A letter from the town tax collector's office certified that back taxes are now paid in full, thus allowing review of the preliminary subdivision plan to continue.
The board held a site walk on September 9. Member Louise Hara remarked on the beauty of a clearing located within the property and asked that it be preserved as much as possible. "Also, try to preserve the stand of pines in back along the state park boundary," she requested. Hara took exception to a statement by engineer Gary Shepard of David Ross Associates about the private trail easement only for residents from Pine Brook into the park. "Access should be available to the public from Pine Brook," said Hara, who is also a member of the trails committee. "Closing it off to the public doesn't make sense."
In a review of the subdivision plans, the town engineer from Landtech Consultants, Inc. commented that individual driveways for three lots would require filling of wetlands. "This raises the question as to the legality of these lots since their frontage may be considered illusory and not actually usable frontage," stated project engineer Mark Sleger. Shepard was prepared for this challenge and distributed copies of a Mass. Supreme Judicial Court ruling in Corcoran versus the Planning Board of Sudbury. The Sudbury Planning Board refused to endorse an "Approval Not Required" (ANR) plan because wetland areas prevented access to a public way, and Corcoran appealed. A Land Court judge ruled that Corcoran was entitled to an ANR endorsement. The Sudbury Planning Board appealed the Land Court judgment and the Appeals Court reversed the decision. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court granted further Appellate review and affirmed the judgment of the Land Court, reversing the Appeals Court.
Planning administrator George Mansfield read a letter from fire chief Bob Koning concerning the proposed subdivision. Koning recommended that two fire cisterns of 20,000 gallons each be located along Great Brook Path. This is due to the length of the road and driveways to the proposed homes. One cistern would be located 100 feet in from Rutland Street and the other within 100 feet of the turnaround. Koning also observed that there are ten existing homes on Pine Brook Road and the proposed development will add three more, with the furthest 1,200 feet from the public way, thus requiring another fire cistern. Although not mentioned in the letter, Koning previously expressed concern about the name Great Brook Path being confused during emergencies with Great Brook Farm. Gould informed the board that he is "contemplating another name." Review of the plan will continue at the board's September 27 meeting.
West Street plans delayed
Resident Chris Fleming returned for a continued public hearing on his plans for a conservation cluster and common driveway to serve five lots at High Woods located at 662 West Street. Fleming had appeared at the August 16 meeting, along with several abutters, only to be told that the board did not have the requisite five members present to act on issuance of a special permit. There was no such problem this time, as five smiling faces greeted Fleming.
This time it was Fleming who begged off. "I would like to delay another two weeks," he announced to the accompanying groans of frustrated abutters. Chair Michael Epstein clarified the situation by explaining that Fleming had chosen to wait until six members of the planning board are present as insurance, since five must attend every hearing until the vote on the special permit. "Meanwhile," continued Fleming, "I would like to break out an ANR to sell the existing house."
Mansfield immediately dashed any hopes that Fleming had for an easy solution. "If you remove that lot, it wouldn't leave enough frontage for the proof plan needed to create the conservation cluster," disclosed Mansfield. Fleming paced with a distressed look on his face, while the audience leaned closer to hear his next revelation. Since none was forthcoming, Mansfield suggested, "Making the new owner a co-applicant might work," although this would require extraordinary benevolence on the new owner's part. There were no other ideas forthcoming and the hearing will continue on September 27.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito