Friday, December 10, 1999
No planning board decision on Tall Pines and East Street development
The Carlisle Planning Board enjoyed a mercifully light schedule on the evening of November 29. After months of lengthy meetings that approached and/or passed midnight, board members were home in time to catch the last half of the Packers-49ers game on Monday night football.
Fiske Street resident David Erickson decided to delay his attempt to amend the Swanson Lane common driveway special permit. He plans to subdivide 16 acres of land located off Kimball Road and Fiske Street and create two new lots with access to Swanson Lane. In addition, 3.8 acres abutting the McAfee conservation land would be donated to the town. A public hearing was supposed to continue from November 8, giving board members time to individually walk the site.
Observing that only five board members were present, Erickson led off by announcing, "I do not want to discuss the subject tonight." Approval of a special permit requires a two-thirds vote or five of the members who must have been in attendance throughout the application process. This was too close for Erickson's comfort and he chose to postpone the hearing until at least a sixth member is present. The seventh planning board member, Kate Reid, is on leave of absence until January.
A legal snafu would have scuttled the hearing anyway. All abutters must be notified by certified letter prior to any public hearing, but John and Patricia Kovach of 54 Swanson Lane, who live next to Erickson's property, were never contacted. The board demanded that certified letters be reissued to all abutters, with mention that physical changes to the common driveway are being proposed, namely modification to provide a 20,000-gallon fire cistern.
Theodore Treibick presented a seventh iteration of an Approval Not Required (ANR) plan for 138 East Street, even though the board had previously decided not to endorse it,at their October 25 meeting. R. Wilson and Associates made further modifications to the plan in hopes that the board would look more favorably on the irregular boundaries. This time, Treibick personally proffered the latest plan and commiserated with the board on the shortcomings of his engineering resource.
"All corrections have been made," announced Treibick. The ANR plan attempts to combine five parcels into a single dumbbell-shaped lot with 59.78 feet of frontage on East Street. A tiny strip of land connects the main property to a remote piece of wetland in order to create the necessary acreage. The area of the new parcel is calculated to be 4.0041 acres, just enough to meet the four-acre pork-chop lot requirements. This was too close for member Dan Holzman, who has made no secret of his aversion to the "gerrymandered" lot. "What if it's off by a few thousandths of an acre? Can we trust the CAD [Computer-Aided Design] software to be that accurate?"
Chair Bill Tice outlined the fanciful dumbbell pork-chop lot with a highlighter pen and noticed some strangeness in one remote corner. R. Wilson and Associates had apparently moved a boundary to increase the parcel size by 500 square feet, but the area of the adjacent lot from whence it came remained the same. "We have no comfort that these plans are correct," stated member Michael Epstein. Treibick was at a loss to explain the boundary change and appeared equally frustrated with the engineering work. To make urgent matters worse, "The land has been sold," he lamented. Epstein offered to give the plans to town engineer and land surveyor Judith Nitsch Engineering for review in hopes of making the eighth iteration the last.
With no further business on the agenda, the planning board discussed procedures for administering special permits for personal wireless service facilities and chatted about a recent change in conservation commission rules and regulations.
The next scheduled meeting of the planning board is December 13. This will be their only meeting in December.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito