The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 22, 2000


Conservation protection debated at planning board

At the September 11 meeting of the planning board Albert Ira Gould and Betsy Goldenberg came before the board seeking endorsement of subdivision and conservation cluster plans for a subdivision at Great Brook Estates. Following a debate over the appropriate level of protection for the conservation lands in the cluster, the board tentatively endorsed the developer's plans for local protection.

Wayne Davis of the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee explained that the land should be put under state protection and that "the restriction is approved by the Division of Conservation Services as are most other conservation restrictions". Gould proposed that the land be placed under the care of the homeowners association, bypassing the state approval process.

Planning Administrator George Mansfield maintained that state approval "is a fairly lengthy process. It involves review by our conservation committee, getting certain documents sent to the state, and then they go through the review process. It seems people wait months." Carlisle's town counsel has proposed a locally-based alternative, in which the town shares responsibility as a grantee to the conservation cluster.

Belt plus suspenders

Davis argued that "'the [conservation restriction] process can be described as belt and suspenders. In order to undo it you need an act of the legislature following a 2/3 town meeting vote, so it offers extra protection. What the town counsel is proposing is a belt and a pretty strong one. It might be a little easier [to undo the restrictions] because we don't have to go to the State legislature. However, we might want to leave this to the State in its wisdom. A lot of things have changed in Carlisle over the last two hundred years and we want to protect it for the next two hundred years."

The board finally agreed to endorse Gould's plans, save one signature, pending the Selectman's meeting, with Gould agreeing to add a grantee clause as proposed by the town's attorney. As the members signed off on his plans, Gould explained to Davis the benefits of "local control, which is preferable to Big Brother when everything has to go through the State."

2000 The Carlisle Mosquito