Friday, October 29, 1999
To the Editor:
To all of you who revel in the magic of the full harvest moon, the eerie wonder of a screeching cat (preferably black), the mournful wail of ghosts or the howl of the autumn wind, I share a gap-toothed knowing grin. To all of you who don costumes and become the mysterious monsters and prissy princesses or who wear the terrifying masks of politicians (you know who you are). . .I cackle fondly in appreciation. To the many children of all ages who found the courage to walk up the steps to the porch, greet me, my sister witches, brother ghouls and, of course, Mr. Bones, to grab "only two" pieces of candy, I say farewell. To the very "ugly things" that walked beside the children, holding their hands and cheering them on to face the witch. . . the ones wearing the masks that look just like mom or dad...I challenge you to reinvent Halloween and keep the spirit of fun alive and maybe even revive "The Haunt."
To you all, I say thank you for the years in which you gave my cackle a purpose, my insults a target, and my candy a place to go. I have retired.
With ghoulish fondness,
The Witch of Carlisle at
45 Bedford Road
To whoever took my pumpkins:
To the Editor:
My name is Evan. I'm ten years old.
I planted and watered my pumpkins and put them at the end of my driveway and would like them back.
Come to O'Rourke celebration
To the Editor:
The Carlisle Trails Committee invites the people of Carlisle to join them in several guided walks on O'Rourke Farm Day, October 30. This is a great opportunity to see the O'Rourke Farm, and also the adjoining town conservation areas, Foss Farm and the Greenough Land. The first walk will leave the Foss Farm parking lot on Bedford Road at 8:30 a.m., arriving at the O'Rourke Farm in time for the 9 a.m. festivities. This is a one-mile walk. Townspeople are encouraged to join this walk to alleviate some of the parking pressure at the farm itself. After the formal celebration, including band music, speeches, trail ribbon cutting ceremony and refreshments, the trails committee will lead three parallel walks starting at about 10 a.m. One two-mile walk will explore the northern part of the O'Rourke land and several areas of the Greenough Land, including Greenough Pond, before returning to the O'Rourke land. Another two-mile walk to the south will travel to Foss Farm and back. A third, shorter walk will stay within the O'Rourke property. At about 11 a.m., a final walk will begin to the Foss Farm parking lot. The trails committee will also have a table at the celebration where new trail maps of the Foss-Great Meadows-O'Rourke-Greenough area will be given out and copies of the Trails in Carlisle booklet may be purchased. For more information, please call Steve Tobin at 369-1680.
Carlisle Trails Committee
Don't pull the rug out
To the Editor:
I'd like to differ with the recent letters from the neighbors discussing some of their reasons for not using the Conant Land for affordable housing.
The Conant Land contains 54 acres, with the Town Offices and the fire house located on the southern edge. The proposal for affordable housing has seven units on one acre on the western edge with another two acres used for yards, parking and septic system. Three acres out of 54 will hardly have a significant impact on the remaining land! There still will be plenty of undisturbed land for those who wish to use it.
The water quality issues in the center are significant. We have been struggling for years with the pollution caused by gasoline contamination at
the police station site. Additional spills at the gas station have added to the problems with organics (mainly MTBE) found in the wells in the center. There is also a problem with excessive salt in the water. The DPW has taken steps to minimize the use of road salt, but the level is still too high. The construction of seven units on the far side of the Conant property is unlikely to have any effect on either of these problems.
Rockland Road is similar to other old roads in Carlisle. It is not constructed to any modern standard, is narrow in places, and has an uneven surface. It is certain that the additional traffic caused by the new residents will be noticeable to the current residents, but it will hardly reach the level of a burden, or reach the levels of most of the other old roads.
The recent Town Meeting expressed overwhelming support for the town's entry into affordable housing, and for the study of this site in particular. It looks currently as if there will be a very viable proposal coming from the town's housing committee. Now is not the time to pull the rug from under this important project.
Ralph P. Anderson
Warrant article should be withdrawn
To the Editor:
Abutters to the Conant Land and others have submitted a Warrant article for the Special Town Meeting to place the Conant Land under conservation restriction with the exception of contiguous expansion of the Town Hall and fire station and development of a municipal water supply. This article would exclude the proposed affordable housing.
The Carlisle Housing Authority has listened to the complaints and suggestions of the abutters and has scaled back the original plan from twelve to seven units in three carefully sited buildings which can reasonably be built along Rockland Road without penetrating deeply into the Conant Land or making major grade changes. Preliminary evaluation of the soil shows that Title 5 compliant leaching fields can be built without mounding and that blasting, if any, should be minimal. The fire chief is asking that Rockland Road be widened to 16 feet up to the proposed affordable housing. Affordable housing can be built without seriously impacting either the Conant Land or the town center and the bulk of the Conant Land will still be undeveloped. Abutters have expressed concern over possible contamination of water from the addtional housing. Reported water contamination problems in the center are caused by MTBE from leaky underground gasoline storage tanks and not from private sewage systems.
It would seem that placing a portion of the Conant Land under conservation restriction would make sense provided that the proposed affordable housing, municipal water and expansion of existing facilities be provided for. Unfortunately the petitioners' article cannot be amended. I recommend that the petitioners withdraw their article and present an article to place less of the Conant Land under conservation restriction at the Spring Town Meeting.
I urge all voters to attend the Special Town Meeting and support affordable housing in Carlisle by voting against the proposed article to place a conservation restriction on the Conant Land if the petitioners do not withdraw it.
Edward H. Sonn
Grateful for scholarship
To the Editor:
I would just like to say thank you so very much to the Carlisle Police Association for choosing me as the recipient for this year's scholarship. It meant a lot to me and my family that they chose me. The money will be used as part of my tuition and books for the fall semester. It is nice to know that the association and everyone who contributes to this scholarship has the confidence in me to continue my education. It means a lot to me!
Thanks to the housing authority
To the Editor:
We were impressed as we walked the Conant Land last weekend by what a fine job Marty Galligan and the housing committee have done in coming up with an ideal location for moderate-income housing, and for finding answers to problems involved in building on that land.
By suggesting the Rockland Road side of the land for building, a maximum of conservation land can still be maintained. The beautiful trail we walked would still be intact and the pond undisturbed. Mrs. Conant would be happy to know that her former land was serving two such good purposes.
Having worked on the committee that got the latest senior housing built, I know how difficult it is to find land for multiple housing. Where would there be fewer neighbors to say "not in my backyard"?
School clarifies ADA commitment
To the Editor:
In response to a recent Mosquito article on possible modifications to the Brick Building, we would like to make several comments and clarifications. ADA is a federal mandate that requires equal access to all public buildings, services and programs for all citizens, regardless of their physical disability. Providing equal access to school programs is only part of the town's total responsibility under ADA. According to the law, ADA compliance is required in new buildings and modifications to existing buildings need to be made whenever structural changes are initiated. Until recently, ADA matters have been handled through the town administrator, who is a member of the ADA commission.
As a school, we have tried to be responsive to the needs of our student population and have prioritized modifications to our existing buildings based upon specific needboth known and anticipated. The school's ADA plan is neither complaint-driven nor stagnant. Several aspects of the Link Building project made older parts of the campus ADA accessible and compliant with the law. The installation of the elevator enables all students to have access to the Robbins and Grant second floor. The lavatories throughout the campus have been modified based upon ADA requirements and although all areas are not fully compliant, access has been increased. At the same time, the door hardware to the Robbins Building School Street entrance and the entrance to the Wilkins Building were changed to allow automatic opening and wheelchair access. These items and the necessary bills were coordinated through the town administrator.
Any future plans will be coordinated in the same mannerto meet the needs of the students and the requirements of ADA. Although we have made a great deal
of progress over the last several years, the task is far from complete. We will continue to work with the town in an effort to efficiently move the school towards full compliance with the law. Since the school campus is a public facility and owned by the town, funding will continue to be handled through town ADA appropriations.
Dr. Linda Stapp
director of student support services
and Ms. Eileen Riley
Carlisle Public Schools
Banta-Davis field update
To the Editor:
For the past year, Littleton Environmental Services has been constructing the first phase of a multi-field sports complex on the Banta-Davis site near Green Cemetery. This $570,000 first-phase effort is essentially complete, and the site now holds a Little League baseball field, adult-size softball field, a full-size soccer field and a jogging track. All fields are irrigated and partially fenced, and there is sufficient parking for 100+ cars.
The project was completed close to budget, with slight overruns due to more-than-anticipated blasting, and the project was delivered approximately three months late. However, the project is not expected to cost additional money since the overruns were accounted for through work order adjustments and other concessions. The recreation commission is currently developing a final punch list of items to be addressed by the contractor next spring. The RecCom has arranged for independent testing to be done to verify that the work was completed to specification.
Phase 1 is a resounding success. The RecCom would like to applaud the efforts of the large volunteer staff that contributed to the success, including Bob Hall, for his early efforts as clerk of the works, and his successor, Bob Stone, who has been instrumental in bringing the effort to final closure. The recreation commission is planning an opening celebration and dedication for the fields in the summer or fall of 2000. They anticipate the fields will be fully operational by the fall of 2000.
The recreation commission is now pursuing funding for additional needs, such as rest-room facilities, bleachers, a 3/4-mile cross-country ski path to circle the property and lights for the parking lot and fields. The RecCom hopes to raise money for these through donations from private individuals and charitable organizations. Tax-deductible contributions will be processed through the Carlisle Recreation Trust, a nonprofit volunteer organization which raises money for recreational projects in Carlisle.
Mark Spears, RecCom member
Financial management team on Article 4
To the Editor:
The financial management team announced its support of Article 4 of the Special Town Meeting of November 2 with the following explanation:
Article 4 requests a $189,043 transfer from free cash to bring the FY2000 budget voted at the Annual Town Meeting into balance. The total of $189,043 represents the $148,378 intended for free cash transfer from Spring Town Meeting and an additional $40,665 in budget adjustments that are necessary for town operations. The $148,378 free cash transfer was inadvertently not moved as part of Annual Town Meeting, but was an intended component of the finance committee's budget proposal (see budget summary in Annual Town Meeting Warrant book). In addition, since Town Meeting, actual revenues from state "cherry sheets" have been established and a number of other necessary expenses and budget modifications have been identified. To meet these expense and revenue adjustments (see chart) an additional $40,665 must be appropriated so that the town can present a balanced budget for the year.
Once the budget is balanced, the tax rate can be set and certified by the state. The estimated tax rate for FY2000 budget is $17.64, a 12.9 percent increase over the FY1999 rate of $15.62. The finance committee, financial management team and board of selectmen all support the passage of Article 4.:
Budget deficit: (206,442) From May 1999 Annual Town Meeting.
Income adjustments 59,303 Additional lottery and excluded debt.
Budget adjustments 42,426 Reduce Minuteman Regional budget.
(15,000) Final police budget
(38,000) Additional unemployment appropriation
(30,000) Tax anticipation notes - interest
(1,330) Veterans' agent funding
Adjusted deficit (189,043)
Intended free cash transfer
148,378 From FY2000 Budget (not moved at TM.
Additional free cash transfer
40,665 Necessary to balance budget.
If Article 4 fails or if free cash has not been certified by the state, Town Meeting will be presented with Article 5, which proposes the reduction by $189,043 of the FY2000 budget which was overwhelmingly approved at the May 1999 Annual Town Meeting.
Chair, board of selectmen
[Ed. note The FinTeam was created to address concerns about coordination and communication among the town's financial personnel. Team members at Tuesday's meeting included selectmen Stevenson and John Ballantine, FinCom members Tony Allison and Charlie Parker, town clerk Sarah Andreassen, town treasurer Nancy Koerner, town assessor Rena Sweezey, town administrator David DeManche and school business administrator Eileen Riley.]
To the Editor:
The board of selectmen and the municipal land committee are recommending that the Town purchase the former Saint Irene's property at 72 Bedford Road through an affirmative vote on Article 2 at the November 2 Special Town Meeting. The property is rare, not only because of its central location, but also because it is flat, with wetland only at its extremities, shares a property line with the senior housing development on Church Street, is available at a price that is realistic in today's marketplace, and would be purchased without restrictions. Most town-owned parcels have limitations as to their use.
Carlisle's historical development pattern is unique in that our roadways radiate from our core, giving us a true New England town common and focal center. Our municipal facilities and town services are provided in the most central location to all townspeople. Therefore, the purchase of a well-located center parcel for future municipal purposes is of paramount importance to the assurance of long-term services. At this point in time, no one can say with certitude for what specific uses the site might be used. However, as we have seen, as the town grows its needs grow, and it is wise for the town to protect its own long-term interest.
When the board of selectmen became aware that the parcel was again available, but at a more realistic price than previously, we felt that townspeople should have the opportunity to debate the possibilities for its use and the right to make the decision on its purchase. We urge you to consider that many competing needs will arise in the future, from affordable and elder housing to open space and community meeting space. It is our responsibility to be prepared. Therefore, we recommend a Yes vote on Article 2 at the Special Town Meeting on November 2 as well as at the ballot box on November 9.
Vivian F. Chaput
The Carlisle Board of Selectmen
Cell tower update
To the Editor:
When the amended zoning bylaw for cell towers goes to Town Meeting on November 2, citizens will see some important differences from the version discussed at the planning board hearing on October 12 and reported in last week's Mosquito. These changes to what is necessarily a very complex bylaw resulted from the wireless committee's continuing internal review and discussion of their draft, as well as from the input of the planning board and town counsel.
The most salient difference is that the proposed cell tower bylaw amendment no longer "limits location to public land" as was declared in the Mosquito headline. Under this latest version, any land parcel in town is a potential candidate for locating a cell tower. However, citizens are protected from the risks of sight-blight and property devaluation by the linchpin of this amendment: the provision that any tower must be set back at least 900 feet from all houses.
The earlier intent of the amendment had been to direct the telecoms toward larger town-owned parcels where a tower could be well set back from residential areas. On review of the September 17 draft, however, town counsel advised the selectmen that they cannot legally limit towers to publicly owned land. In a zoning bylaw, land must be regulated on the basis of its geography, not its ownership. Any description of property on the basis of ownership is suggestive of unlawful "spot zoning." To the extent that the town restricts the receipt of cell-tower property interest to itself on town-owned land, that limitation could be seen by residents as a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution.
Another important change in the version going to Town Meeting pertains to maximum tower height. In the provisions for a non-wooded area, we changed the installed-height limitation from 55 feet to 80 feet; we also added a provision whereby a tower can be "grown" later onbut only to a maximum of 120 ft above ground. For a wooded area, the installed height is restricted to clearance over the tree canopy, and ultimate tower height is limited to 150 feet. We feel that these revisions encourage tower sharing while prudently controlling both tower height and the number of towers.
I urge you all to come to Town Meeting on November 2 and vote for this important bylaw amendment.
Protect Carlisle property values
To the Editor:
We urge all voters to attend the Special Town Meeting on November 2 to support Article 3, which will amend the current cell tower bylaw. The current bylaw offers no protection for abutting residential property. Consider how little the town could do about the One River Road situation last spring. This placed a 100-foot tower within 160 feet of an abutter's house! Even when noted that River Road is a designated scenic way and the tower would have considerable visual impact. Even when informed that local realtors had told us that 40 percent of buyers would not consider a home near a cell tower, stealthily hidden or not, and our property value is reduced by at least 20 percent. These arguments, those only allowed by the current Federal Telecommunications Act, could not sway the board to deny the permit; only a buried oil tank did that. We need to give the grantors of special permits some power to determine cell tower locations with the least impact on the town. We need the proposed 900-foot setback and the tower-height-to-lot-line setback in the amended bylaw to protect our property values. We encourage everyone to support this article.
Dana and Kathy Booth
CCHS advisory board seeks input
To the Editor:
Education is such an important political and economic issue that the Concord-Carlisle School advisory board would like you to know that we are available to receive your input on all issues concerning the high school and its impact on students from the towns of Concord, Carlisle and METCO. The CCHS advisory board is made up of parents, teachers, students and non-parent community members. Our mission is to provide the widest possible community consensus and feedback for the administration of the school and to help them to realize goals regarding the education of our children. Your input is essential for us to be successful in this mission.
The CCHS advisory board holds its monthly meeting the third Wednesday of each month, except in April. The next meeting is November 17 at 7:30 p.m. in Principal Elaine DiCicco's office conference room. The purpose of the advisory council is to serve in an advisory capacity to the school principal. This year the council is to assist the principal in:
1. adopting and suggesting educational goals for the school;
2. identifying and communicating our impressions regarding the educational needs of the students attending the school;
3. reviewing the annual school budget; and
4. providing input used in formulating an annual school improvement plan.
The following citizen members would welcome your input or inquiry. Please feel free to contact them at their e-mail address, or come and attend a school advisory council meeting.
Doug Deyoe; DDVader@aol.com
Ed LeClair; Mresults@aol.com
Susan Fitzgerald; SJF119@aol.com
June Farrow; firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Goldberg; email@example.com
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito