Friday, March 3, 2000
Planning board considers plans for real estate office in center
The selectmen requested comments from the planning board for a site plan review on the "change in use" proposed
by Carlson Real Estate for 7 School Street. Attorney Howard Speicher appeared at the February 14 planning board meeting to plead for the new occupants.
"This building is 200 years old and has a history of commercial usea wheelwright shop, grocery store, post office," explained Speicher. "It's now proposed to be a satellite office for Carlson Real Estate." He described the office as consisting of one or two brokers who might make appointments to meet customers there. There would be a small, carved, wooden sign displayed outside and parking would be either in the driveway or on School Street in front of the Unitarian Church. "There's no change in ownership and we're just proposing to use what's already there," revealed Speicher. "Carlson has already moved in. They didn't know they needed a site plan review."
Planning administrator George Mansfield was somewhat annoyed that the "change in use" plans had been belatedly submitted to the board on that day and contained several violations. He proceeded to point out that the building is a nonconforming structure on a hill with suspect drainage. This prompted Speicher to respond, "If we were asking for a building permit, it could trigger building violationsbut we're not!"
Member Michael Abend zeroed in on the parking situation, which only accommodates five cars. Two or three of the cars would need to line up in the driveway. "Customers won't know where to park. They'll stop in the middle of the rotary to look for a parking space," said Abend. "There are residents in the other end of the building that also need a place to park." Member Kate Reid envisioned several cars backing out of the driveway just when the Red Balloon nursery school lets out.
As if board member concerns weren't enough, both George and Brigitte Senkler had misgivings about their new neighbor. George Senkler identified himself as owner of the building next door, which houses Brigitte's real estate office, and the property across the street. Footprints through the snow confirmed his suspicions that customers of Carlson were using his private parking lot. He also raised concerns about their septic system located somewhere on the hill above his well. "More intense use could overtax the system in a very sensitive area," he warned.
Chair Bill Tice could see that it would take more time to resolve these issues and elected to continue the discussion at the next board meeting. In the meantime, Mansfield will send a note to the selectmen informing them that the review is ongoing.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito