The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 5, 1999


BOH blesses repair classification for church

The Congregational Church brought forth its intention to update its current septic system for the second consecutive meeting with the Carlisle Board of Health. Chair Steve Opolski and member Laura Semrad were in attendance again, and on October 26, town engineering consultant Rob Frado was also on hand to review the issue.

Opolski summarized the situation. Church officials want to complete the original building plans for the School Street site and construct a 400-seat sanctuary. Unfortunately, testing by the Stamski and McNary engineering firm indicated that the original septic system, built in the '70s and designed to support the sanctuary, had failed due to high groundwater elevation. Opolski concluded, "Now that the system failed, is it a repair or an upgrade?"

Board members decided that they could allow the church to repair the system and enhance it at the same time to bring it more in line with the modern systems in town with comparable usage. Joe March of Stamski and McNary noted that upon presenting the board with the final repair plan, the firm would update its report on requirements of similar structures in the area to include information from the new Saint Irene Church on East Street. Furthermore, officials from the Congregation Church will need to provide a list of proposed uses for the sanctuary building.

"I see this as a repair for the present capacity," said Opolski, "but it cannot accommodate further add-ons."

The firm had requested that the board clarify the status of the job before spending the client's time and money for preparing plans. Since the board classified updating the system as a "repair" rather than "new construction," Stamski and McNary can prepare a plan which requires waivers, if necessary. The board's policy is that waivers are not granted for new septic systems.

March noted, "I don't think we will need any waivers." After the meeting, he added that he viewed classifying the job as a repair as the correct decision based on the board's record. "It's a big difference," said March. "It's more than just waivers. With new construction, you're required to do additional soil testing, more percolation tests, and find a repair site [if needed for future use]."

Is it an office or a bedroom?

The board decided to approve alteration plans for 86 Hartwell Road with a deed restriction.

The property owned by Susan Smith has a septic system, built in 1993, which is large enough to support five bedrooms. Although only four bedrooms exist now, proposed plans call for another bedroom and an office. The latter, with a door and window, could technically classify as a sixth bedroom.

Based on the age and annual maintenance record of the system, the board decided to approve the alteration plans but put a five-bedroom deed restriction on the house.

Moving forward on repairs

The board also approved proposed repair plans for Judith and Richard Glaser of 387 River Road and Susan and Michael Sturgeon of 45 Blaisdell Road. The board did demonstrate concern on the second plan as it involved grading less than five feet from a property line. Over the last year, abutters in other cases have raised issues when property lines were not accurately drawn. As this plan came from Stamski and McNary, Opolski called on March to comment on the engineering.

Familiar with the property, March responded that his firm had verified the line in question and added, "We survey the lot for every job we do."

Based on the number of jobs the firm does in Carlisle, Stamski and McNary has shown that the firm has experience with state requirements, the town regulations, and areas of local concern. "We think we know the codes inside out," said March. With the current board of health reluctant to grant waivers, that helps keep town projects on track.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito