The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 23, 2000


Cistern conflict forces Carriage Way hearings to be reopened

The planning board was caught between the fire chief and a hard place at their meeting on June 12 and voted 4-0 to reopen the public hearing on Carriage Way on July 17. Specifically, fire chief Bob Koning was not happy about the board's decision to let developer Bill Costello install only one fire cistern on the ten-lot subdivision off East Riding Drive known as Carriage Way. Koning originally asked for two fire cisterns for the subdivision, but he wasn't there to defend his position at the May 8 meeting when the planning board decided that one was adequate and voted 7-0 to approve the long-debated project.

The original approval also enabled the town to proceed with the sale of its four-acre pork chop lot that residents voted to accept at the May 2 Town Meeting. With the current price of land in Carlisle rivaling southern California, the town stands to net approximately $400,000 for its piggy bank on the sale of this lot. Since the Carriage Way plans as originally approved are key to the town realizing its $400,000 windfall, the whole deal may be jeopardized if the terms of the approval change.

The rules are clear. The fire chief has the right to review all plans prior to final approval by the planning board. "I haven't had a single discussion with the developer and engineer from day one!" declared Koning. "I didn't sign off on the Carriage Way plans." It quickly became obvious to the board members at their June 12 meeting that Koning was not in the mood for compromise, and the board voted unanimously to reopen the public hearing. This requires, at the town's expense, adequate notice in the local newspaper and certified mail to all abutters. Members agreed that the hearing would not have to be reopened if Costello would voluntarily foot the bill for another cistern, which can range from $45,000 to $70,000, depending on the location.

Selectman Vivian Chaput reported the news to the rest of the selectmen on June 13. That board offered no specific suggestions on how to proceed but reiterated that the transaction relating to the town-owned lot and the approvals regarding the subdivision as a whole were two separate matters.

As Costello stated when he first proposed helping the town benefit from its landlocked parcel, "In Carlisle, no good deed goes unpunished."

Change in road name

In their zeal to honor Farnham Smith by using his name for a common driveway in their Great Brook Estates subdivision, Albert Gould and Betsy Goldenberg overlooked one minor detail. They failed to ask permission. It turns out that the Smith family is less than thrilled about having his name memorialized on a subdivision road sign. Farnham Smith worked hard to maintain the rural character of Carlisle in the more than 50 years that he owned property and lived here. To have his name preserved in a subdivision road is not how he would wish to be remembered, according to a letter from Susan Smith to the board.

Gould and Goldenberg have been politely requested to find another name, hopefully getting permission before they announce it to the public.

Curbing 101

Town engineer Sandra Brock, of Judith Nitsch Engineering, presented a review of alternate forms of roadway curbing, Curbing 101, if you will. The board struggles with this issue at each subdivision review and Brock hoped to enlighten the group on the subtleties of roadside garnishment. The board traditionally chooses from four types of curbing -- vertical and sloped granite, and traditional versus modified Cape Cod berm. Brock's first lesson was terminology, and the correct name for the topic under discussion is "edging". Edging is the all-purpose term used to refer to curbing and berm. Curbing has a face, either sloped or vertical, while berm is more "laid back" with a lower profile.

The materials used for edging are granite, precast concrete, and bituminous concrete. Most folks know bituminous concrete as asphalt, but insiders like Brock use the term "bitconk." Bitconk is molded and laid over the base course, while granite is partially buried as evidenced along the town center walkway. The cost ranges from granite (highest), to precast concrete, to bitconk (lowest), with required maintenance the reverse. Examples of Cape Cod berm in Carlisle can be found on Monroe Hill. Koning Farm Road has granite throughout. Board members could not think of a town location that uses precast concrete, a material used mostly in cities.

The board thanked Brock for her tutorial and they plan to study the alternatives further before proposing new guidelines.

The next scheduled meeting of the planning board is June 26.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito