The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 10, 2000


Board of health will not waiver for affordable housing

At the February 29 meeting of the board of health, chair Steve Opolski stated, "We are not about to change our regulations. I don't sense any support from the board [of health] for changing our regulations." Board member Lisa Lewis added, "We have these standards, they apply to everybody. Now the town comes in, do we change?" This was in response to affordable housing engineer Phil Christensen's request for a waiver on garbage grinder (kitchen disposal) use. A septic system must be sized 50 percent larger, according to Carlisle regulations, than state regulations, to provide for use of a garbage grinder. Christensen wished to reduce the leaching field to that required by the state to minimize impact on the town-owned Conant Land. Town building committee member Ed Sonn explained that the affordable housing units would be rented so the town would have control to prevent the installation and use of garbage grinders.

Preliminary plans for a seven-unit affordable housing project with 16 bedrooms to be built off Rockland Road on the Conant Land were shown to the board of health. Housing authority chair Marty Galligan explained that the authority was seeking a preliminary approval of the building plans from all town boards. Galligan hopes to avoid encroachment on the large rock area known as "Castle Rock," but did not know precisely how much of the 57 acres of Conant Land the housing project would need.

Christensen went on to explain that problems could result from making the septic systems too big. If there is not enough sewage, the biological material (biomat) at the bottom of the bed could fail to build up. The bottom must be wet enough to allow bacteria to treat the sewage or else it goes into the soil without being biologically treated. Though his discussion seemed interesting, it did not change the minds of board of health members.

The board of health does not grant waivers for new construction. If a homeowner has a failed system and is unable to comply with town regulations for installation of a new system, then waivers are granted. Town consulting engineer Rob Frado explained that the Carlisle's rules follow Title 5 guidelines for the installation of garbage grinders.

Opolski asked, "How important is drinking water?" Referring to other known problems with water in the center of town, he said, "I have a lot of trouble changing standards."

An Innovative Alternative (IA) system was suggested. Frado explained that the town had granted one homeowner permission to use such a system. On that particular lot, it would have been considered unbuildable without such a system. However that did not appear to be the case in this development.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito