The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 19, 1999


Planning board reverses decision on West Street common drive

It was too good to be true for resident Chris Fleming and his High Woods conservation cluster. Fleming had finally succeeded at the October 25 planning board meeting in obtaining special permits for a common driveway and conservation cluster serving five lots at 662 West Street. All the ducks were in a row for his closing on the West Street property and moving to Washington, D.C. That was before his neighbor, Barry Hoffman, appealed the decision.

Hoffman had retained the services of MetroWest engineers who determined that the storm run-off from the proposed conservation cluster would threaten Hoffman's septic system. Both Fleming's engineer, Joe March of Stamski and McNary, and town engineer Dale MacKinnon of EarthTech, were confident that the storm water management met all of the town's rules and regulations. But MetroWest, citing 100-year storm calculations, raised eight separate issues on the proposed drainage system.

On November 8, board members attempted to salvage the approved plans with several suggestions. Member Dan Holzman proposed that the driveway in proximity to Hoffman's septic system remain gravel so as not to affect drainage. Others tried relocating the infiltration trench or modifying the driveway slope, only to find that this redirected storm water to the Getchells' property on the other side. The board was left with no other choice but to reverse their decision and consequently voted 5-0-1 to reconsider the special permits. Member Michael Epstein abstained since he didn't attend the initial public hearing and so is not allowed to vote.

After much discussion and hand wringing, the board decided to revoke the common driveway special permit, but retain the conservation cluster permit so that Fleming can sell his house. This satisfies the needs of John and Katherine Forelli, who have purchased Fleming's house and are waiting to move in. It also allows Fleming to proceed with purchase of his new house in Washington. Yet to be decided is the fate of the subdivision and common driveway that is now in the hands of various engineers and Fleming's neighbors.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito