The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 17, 2000


Bank proposes new use for church site

The conservation commission has received a preliminary look at the latest proposal for use of the former Saint Irene Church site on Bedford Road. North Middlesex Savings Bank bought the lot last year in hope of establishing a Carlisle branch office, a plan that was rejected at Town Meeting, and is now proposing to raze the present structure and build a 3,000-square-foot single family dwelling. Since much of the construction will take place within two 100-foot wetland buffer zones, the bank's engineer Jeff Hannaford of Morse Environmental Services presented a site plan for first-pass consideration by the commission on March 9.

The good news from an environmental standpoint was the fact that the plan will result in a reduction of the impervious paved area, thus absorbing an increased amount of unwelcome runoff. This feature was clearly agreeable to abutters Beverly Porter and Joseph Donovan, who were present at the session.

Hannaford said the house would be set back from Bedford Road about 150 feet with no filling contemplated within 50 feet of the street. The elevation of the septic system mound will be approximately five feet with the top of the residence foundation at about seven feet. Shown was a "generic" four-bedroom house with a walkout basement and a garage under the structure. Grading in the rear near the wetlands will be kept to a minimum, and the driveway will follow the path of the present access way.

Bank representatives have already met with the board of health and accompanied them on a site visit that resulted in some changes in the leaching field. The conservation commission could take no official action until the board of health approves that revision.

Speaking from the audience, Carlisle Conservation Foundation representative Eunice Knight again raised the possibility of enlarging the septic system of the Church Street elder housing complex to accommodate structures on both parcels. She said she would "appreciate" the owners looking into the possibility of such a tie-in, which might allow for more badly needed elder housing. Hannaford was far from encouraging, noting that the Department of Environmental Protection does not accept a shared system on a new lot.

Curve Street conservation cluster

The commission was also given an overview of a far more complex project currently in its late stages before the planning board. It covered the 100-acre tract off Curve Street, directly opposite Fiske Street and abutting the town's Wang-Coombs parcel.

Following the recommendation of the planning board, owners Paul and Helen Hart have agreed to forego the original plan and now propose a 12-lot conservation cluster with 13 acres of open space. Attorney Joseph Shanahan noted that the Harts have offered to turn over to the Carlisle Conservation Foundation 65 acres of land abutting the conservation tract. Although the land is almost entirely wetland, the attorney said the owners could have used it to justify more lots, and that if the foundation doesn't accept it, the owners would add it to the open space allotment.

The Harts' engineer George Dimakarakis reminded the commissioners that they had already accepted the wetland delineation and noted that the present Notice of Intent (NOI) pertains to the proposed subdivision road and common driveway with their extended detention systems and associated grading. NOIs for lots that impinge on the wetland buffer zones will be submitted later.

Dimakarakis described the "very labor intensive modeling process" that is required to evaluate a drainage system in an area with such a high water table and to design it for a 100-year storm. He said it was from that standpoint that the planning board's consultant would look at the specifications. As shown in his detailed maps, roadway drainage would be collected by deep sump pumps and directed to detention basins which would feed into a "micro-pool" for eventual dispersal to the wetlands.

Conservation administrator Katrina Proctor told the commission they could accept the evaluation of the town consultant who advises the planning board or ask the applicant to pay for the ConsCom's own consultant. Commissioner John Lee assured his colleagues that he would ask for the independent consultant to ensure that the proposed drainage and overflow system is the best possible approach. A site walk will be scheduled before the March 28 planning board hearing.

As for the overall design scheme, Shannahan stated that prospective buyers would be required to come before an association commission, and that firm restrictions would be placed on building envelopes. These envelopes would contain between 3,500 and 5,000 square feet. The intention is to seek to have Hart Farm Road accepted by the Town, but in the event that the Town turns them down, they "would probably agree to have the association assume responsibility for maintenance of the drainage system." Abutters asked about access to the 55 acres of town conservation land, if the road could not be accepted. The lawyer assured them that, by agreement with the planning board, a private way would remain open to the public.

The hearing was continued to 9 p.m., April 13, following the site walk and planning board session.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito