Friday, April 21, 2000
Planning board and ConsCom consider issues surrounding Great Brook Estates plan
At the April 10 planning board meeting, Albert Gould and Betsy Goldenberg continued their quest for a special permit for a conservation cluster and common driveway at Great Brook Estates. This subdivision consists of nine lots (plus a bonus conservation cluster lot) on a 1,000-foot cul-de-sac at 195 Rutland Street. A conservation cluster must have ten or more acres and Gary Shepard of David Ross Associates, identified lots 4, 5, and 7 as the qualifying lots with acreage totaling 12.75. These will be re-divided into four parcels of approximately two acres apiece with the remaining land being given over to open space. Open space must be greater than 30 percent of the three parcels (3.825 acres) and the designated 3.88 acres complies with the bylaw.
Shepard displayed a map of the proposed development and described the latest features. The screening of Great Brook Path from the home of Richard and Christine Puffer has taken on the proportions of a botanical garden. "A Puffer buffer of flowering crab trees, rhododendron, azaleas, mountain laurel, and eight-foot high pines will be planted along the boundary," rhapsodized Shepard. To satisfy fire chief Bob Koning, there will be two cisternsone above the cul-de-sac and another near the entrance.
Planning board members still had a few concerns about the legality of the Approval Not Required (ANR) lots being converted into the conservation cluster. This appeared to be only a technicality, but chair Bill Tice wanted to check with town counsel and elected to extend the public hearing to April 24.
On April 13, when the conservation commission considered the Notice of Intent (NOI) for the Great Brook Estates, Shepard described the site as a peninsula bordered by wetlands. The present NOI requests approval for the road, which involves wetland alteration and replication, along with specifications for drainage and storm water management.
The focus of commission concern was the 100-foot causeway that crosses the wetland at the entrance. Although it will follow an existing path, the road will require widening to about 33 feet to meet subdivision specifications, construction of a new culvert, alteration of 2,655 square feet of wetland and a retaining wall. A 3,575-square-foot replication area is proposed further into the site, with a planting of white pines to prevent encroachment by owners of the nearest house lot.
As commissioners studied the plans, they expressed skepticism about the adequacy of the replication proposal, but withheld definitive comment pending a site visit on April 15. Spang requested flared culvert openings to permit small animals to travel from one side of the wetland to the other. Shepard had no objections, but noted that the change would have to be okayed by the planning board.
Abutter Dick Blanchard worried about the water load on the culvert, since water from the west side often crosses Rutland Road and enters the wetland there. Neighbor Rich Puffer asked if the width of the road with its shoulders and sidewalk could possibly be reduced from the specified 33 feet. "That's up to the planning board," was Shepard's reply. Finally, Ted Byers, also of Rutland Street, expressed concern about the future impact of this and two other probable developments in the area and requested the board to consider the possible combined effects as they took their Sunday site walk.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito