The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 28, 2000

Brophy for town moderator

To the Editor:

Next month we will go to the voting booth and one of our tasks will be to elect a new town moderator.

In reviewing the current nominees, it is clear that all are qualified. One candidate, however, stands out from the rest. Sarah Brophy is not only experienced in public speaking, expert in managing large meetings, well-versed in handling controversial discussion, and exceptionally familiar with the Carlisle community, but she also has thoughtfully studied the rules of order governing Town Meetings and has seriously explored the nuances of serving as town moderator.

Sarah is a professional who has assumed leadership roles in managing large-scale panel discussions (audiences of 300 or more) with national groups such as the American Association of Museums, as well as with the local organization of the New England Museum Association. On the local level, Sarah is currently chairman of the conservation restriction advisory committee and she has previously been a participant on the historic properties committee and the historical commission. Equipped with this background, Sarah has attended numerous Town Meetings in Carlisle, Concord and Westford during the past few years, the last under the mentorship of its town moderator.

Sarah has the knowledge and spirited personality to step into the shoes of our previous moderator. She is our only candidate who has, well in advance of the election, demonstrated a steadfast interest in the position of town moderator. As such, I ask you to strongly consider casting your vote for Sarah Brophy as Carlisle's new town moderator.

April Stone
Spencer Brook Lane

Support for Davis

To the Editor:

May I highly recommend Wayne Davis for moderator? His training and his experience make him superlatively qualified to handle the preparations for and moderating discussion of town issues.

He attended Harvard Law School after Williams College, worked with Judge Abrams on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and with Roger Fisher on the Harvard Negotiation Project, Conflict Resolution and Management Groups. As an advisory member of the Security Council of the UN he worked to make meetings more effective. Having traveled extensively helping world organizations to resolve problems, school boards to talk to each other and negotiating South African mining contracts and aid dispersal, Wayne is happy to be home in Carlisle and be a group manager for Fidelity.

We are fortunate that someone of his calibre is willing to take on this position for the town. I recommend him unreservedly.

Phyllis Hughes
Acton Street

Endorses Brophy

To the Editor:

I'm writing to encourage you to vote for Sarah Brophy as town moderator. I've known her since she came to be assistant director at the Concord Museum 13 years ago, even before she moved to Carlisle. At the museum, and here in Carlisle, she was and is well-liked, and known for being hard-working, positive and effective. She did a great job at the museum and will do a great job here, too, beginning with preparing for the job before she has it. She is sure to be an asset to our Town Meeting. Please be sure to vote on May 9 and vote for Sarah Brophy.

Judy R. Larson
Forest Park Drive

Wanted: a plan as solid as Castle Rock

To the Editor:

As a new resident of Carlisle, I am both perplexed and concerned by the affordable housing to be built on the Conant Land. Why is a complex, that so minimally impacts the state requirements, being built in a manner which detracts so greatly from Castle Rock? Two-story buildings will affront visitors to this natural site, with serenity lost amid the sounds of radios, televisions, and the smells of car exhaust.

Additionally, the housing authority has not provided definitive answers that this project is environmentally safe. MTBE in the town's contaminated wells has fluctuated randomly in levels of detection. One well has ranged from 40 parts per billion to 610 parts per billion. With such flexibility, there is the distinct likelihood that MTBE levels at the Conant Land may be acceptable one day and not pass on another. This creates a moral questiondoes the town feel placing families in such a location, knowing the potential risks, is appropriate?

Blasting could spread MTBE miles from the site. The housing authority's response of being "hopeful" that blasting will not be necessary is neither convincing nor acceptable. If housing cannot be built without blasting then it's time to recognize that the Conant Land is not suitable. Proceeding on "hopeful" is irresponsible when there is the possibility for poisoning more wells, including those of area churches and the school.

Pushing this project forward based on the premise that the land is town-owned and therefore the only economically feasible location is a grave mistake. A project driven by monetary consideration over and above health and human issues raises serious concerns.

Turning over any portion of this land to Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. without knowing the specific, concrete, details of environmental impact and true monetary cost, is unwise. Come to Town Meeting and voice your concern for both the health of current and future residents, as well as the unacceptable impact this development has on Castle Rock. The housing authority must know we expect definitive answers and community-sensitive development before they move forward with this project.

Andrea Proctor
South Street

Cultural council voices concerns

To The Editor:

We of the Carlisle Cultural Council support the effort to provide housing options here. However, we wish to again register our disapproval of the current plan to build so-called affordable housing on the Conant Land.

The section off Rockland Road slated for three units is almost on top of Castle Rock, as this significant granite outcrop is known. From the largest boulder at the foot of the vertical rocks, it is 166 feet to the first housing footprint. Clearly, any construction there will destroy the integrity of this landmark which the council highlighted with a sculpture for our "On The Land' sculpture show in 1997. The same footprint is only 96 feet from what appears to be a vernal pool to the north.

Other fundamental concerns are water quality issues and support. There is the likelihood of MBTE polluted wells and the disruption of an already compromised water supply for the center. Not having the enthusiastic support of the neighbors makes any project difficult and there are many valid reasons for their objections.

We question the wisdom of this expensive project for very little gain, even if the money comes from sources outside the town. Without a comprehensive plan which provides for a sensible, long-term increase in affordable housing such as land bank legislation and planning board requirements for all subdivisions to be mixed, this one-shot project will not solve our housing needs.

We simply can't afford affordable housing mistakes.

The Carlisle Cultural Council:
Bonnie O. Miskolczy,
Nancy Stadlander, Gloria Conley
Malcolm M. Walsh, Andrea Urban
Joan Goodman, chair person

Find a more suitable site

To the Editor:

I visited the Conant Land to look at the building envelopes of the proposed Carlisle Affordable Housing units. The proposed sites are located in an environmentally sensitive area. The buildings are too close to the Carlisle Castle rock formation and wild turkey vulture rookery. A vernal pool is less than 100 feet from one of the buildings. This site most likely will fail to meet the Carlisle Board of Health septic regulations for the number of bedrooms proposed. The availability of potable water needs to be demonstrated.

In summary, the Conant Land is not suitable for the affordable housing project and the effort should be directed at finding a suitable site elsewhere.

Gabor Miskolczy
Cross Street

Thanks for the salute

To the Editor:

I want to thank the Carlisle Minutemen for the four-gun salute given me and my family for 30 years of providing doughnuts and coffee, as they and the townspeople marched to Concord for Patriots Day.

We are proud to have been associated with this organization, participating in the many historical events, which led to the formation of this country.

We will miss you when we move.

Janet Liessner
Bellows Hill Road

Let's search for a better proposal

To the Editor:

A spring walk by Castle Rock into the warm moist woods of the Conant Land is like no other woods walk we know. High ridges, deep ravines and spectacular rock outcroppings alongside vernal pools and mossy hillsides greet you. To get to the entrance path, you walk on one of the least traveled Carlisle roadsrustic and reminding one of an earlier era.

This is a special place, located within an easy walk of Carlisle Center and our schools which makes it not only nice for a walk but also an excellent ecology laboratory for the use of our students. Our schools do use this property and the children love it. Many have fond memories years later of this place!

Do we really want to tamper with such a centrally-located resource? Once we send in the bulldozers, scrape the land bare, reform it and make the most accessible part into housing, we will have changed forever, irreversibly, a special community resource. We will have given away six acres worth $600,000. What do we gain? Seven housing units with five considered affordable housing and two at market rental to support the five. Does this satisfy the Commonwealth's goal of ten percent affordable housing? Far from it. This represents a fraction of one percent. Where do we go from here if this is considered a show of good faith as a commitment to low-cost housing? Do we take more of the Conant Land? Do we buy land on which to build?

Furthermore, do you realize that affordable housing is not housing available at a low price? Affordable housing means subsidized housing or rent-controlled housing.

Our point is that once this project is completed, not only will we have destroyed a valuable resource (part of a watershed), but we will have gone nowhere with affordable housing. The hearts of the housing authority are in the right place. We hope they will continue and look for another way to meet the housing needs.

Let's search for a more town-friendly proposal. Please join us and defeat the Conant housing articles on the town warrant.

Sally J. Naumann
Arthur S. Turner
Lowell Street

Conant plan leaves town too vulnerable

To the Editor:

Picture an outside developer coming to town boards with a proposal asking for control of a portion of the Conant Land to build affordable housing and, by the way, 25 percent of that housing will be at market, not "affordable," rates. No doubt the town boards would balk at such a proposal. Even if they agreed, protests from the citizenry would be heard from the Town Hall to the borders of Carlisle. Yet this is exactly what the housing authority is asking us to approve. Once control of the Conant land is turned over to Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc., no one outside the selectmen's office will have input into anything done to that land. Why would we even consider such a thing?

Additionally, the quality of water provided to the proposed housing continues to be an issue. Are we creating another remediation site that residents of Carlisle will spend millions of dollars cleaning up, as we are doing at the DPW and police station sites? Why are the housing authority, board of health and selectmen so reluctant to do current water quality tests at the fire and police stations and Town Hall? Are they concerned that their "downward trending" levels of MTBE's won't continue to show a "downward" trend? Their most recent water quality tests for MTBE's are more than two years old!

There could be 20 or more children in these apartments. If one of them is eventually diagnosed with some form of cancer, the potential liability to the town is incalculable. Parents will not stop at Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. in their search for responsible parties, especially since a potential hazard is well known. There has to be a better site found for affordable housing. The Conant Land is too fragile in too many ways to support 30-35 people.

Please come to Town Meeting and listen carefully to the discussions on both sides of these articles.

Sharon L. Connors
Westford Street

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito