The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 26, 1999


BOH seeks greater impact on subdivisions

Sometimes, a Carlisle applicant will come before the planning board or board of appeals with a proposed development and state, "The board of health had no problems with these plans." At times, this response has surprised abutters in the audience who are familiar with topographical issues on the parcel. Historically, board of health members have not had much input on preliminary subdivision plans because they just didn't have enough pertinent data. That is about to change.

After a few months of fine-tuning the local rules and regulations, the board of health is publicizing proposed review requirements for subdivisions, conservation clusters, and senior residential open space clusters. Prior to adopting the new rules and regulations, the board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 14, at 8 p.m. in the Town Hall.

Under the proposed requirements, applicants for special permits will need to provide:

· A topographic field survey.

· Accurate locations of wetlands, brooks, streams, and surface bodies of water.

· High-water levels (taken during the spring season) and percolation tests on each of the proposed lots.

· Precise locations of the proposed sewage disposal system, the well and reserve leaching areas on each lot.

· Dwelling footprint on each lot.

The applicant will pay a fee that covers one hour of work by the town consulting engineer. This will help ensure that reviewing board members have the necessary data and technical expertise.

Impact of new developments

Although the new regulations are more inclusive, board of health agent Linda Fantasia believes they may not be sufficient. She noted that some residents have informally raised concerns about their diminished water flow resulting from a new development.

"With large subdivisions, should you also require a hydraulic study?" asked Fantasia.

BOH chair Steve Oposki does not believe the town has enough information today to place such a burden on developers. He noted, "People say they have well problems. Is it just intermittent? Is it continuing? There's a lot of speculation. Is it a growing problem in town? We won't know until we track it."

Unfortunately, the board has trouble monitoring well-flow issues. Residents are reluctant to call and complain to the board agent because they are concerned the issue may negatively affect their property value in the future. In fact, complaints are recorded in the assessor's database and, with enough information, the BOH could identify problem areas. Equipped with enough information, in the future, the board of health might be able to limit development in specific neighborhoods.

1999 The Carlisle Mosquito