The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 18, 2000


Another tricky deed restriction for board of health

"It's interesting that you come and visit with us at this time," commented board of health chair Steve Opolski in yet another case of someone wanting to deed restrict the number of bedrooms in a planned expansion. Architect Chip Dewing presented a design for a home at 200 Indian Hill, which, if a proposed heated greenhouse and workshop are counted, will have a total of 12 rooms.

The board of health's rule is that if there are eight or less rooms in a house, the number of bedrooms are used to determine the septic system size. If the room count is greater than eight, then the number of bedrooms are determined by counting the total number of rooms, dividing that by two, and rounding down, if necessary. By this rule, Dewing's design becomes a six-bedroom house. However, Dewing wanted to have a deed restriction on the house for four bedrooms.

The board's consulting engineer Rob Frado suggested, "We may be interpreting the [state] code incorrectly." Frado had spoken to two people at the Department of Environmental Protection and heard differing opinions. One position is that the deed restriction is a last resort after expansion of the septic system, including alternative technologies.

Dewing thought that it would be a straightforward process and intended to apply for a building permit at the end of the month. He reasoned that the restriction would allow a modest expansion of the dwelling, without having to replace a septic system that is working well.

Board of health agent Linda Fantasia pointed out that Carlisle was one of the few towns that permitted such deed restrictions. It was first granted when one applicant did his own legal research.

Opolski explained that in the past, the board allowed an expansion with a deed restriction which counted down only one bedroom and, if Dewing could remove a room resulting in a room count of 11, the plan would be considered 11 rooms which would equate to five bedrooms. Dewing decided that the ground-floor workshop, which was supposed to be heated, could have no heat in the plan and thus be deducted from the room count. Allowing one bedroom less as they had in the past, the deed restriction to four bedrooms was permitted by the board, provided a satisfactory review of a septic system pumping report is submitted.

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito