Friday, November 17, 2000
Planning group forecasts major growth for Route 495 Corridor
Twenty to twenty-five year growth projections for people and jobs in the MAGIC (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) area indicate that there will be major growth in the Route 495 area, with a decline in the inner core community. Barbara Lucas, of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) staff presented initial population and business data for the next quarter century, at MAGIC's November 9 meeting in Boxboro. Where people live and where they work are primary determinants that need to be considered in preparing a transportation infrastructure. In addition, the data presented clearly showed that land use for the expected growth will also be directly related to water and sewage constraints. In the targeted growth scenario presented by Lucas there are areas that will be unable to accommodate further and this factor will limit the potential density of the area.
The Metropolitan Planning Office has been working on a comprehensive regional transportation plan for the last eight months, and expects an interim traffic plan by November 21, followed by a 30 day review period, a preliminary plan by January 16, 2001, and a final plan by June 2001. The data come from 164 communities and the final document will include trends, policies and proposed projects.
Senators Pam Resor and David Magnani were present for the regional transportation plan discussion and asked MAGIC to be involved in a conference on projects of regional impact. Magnani, identified by one MAGIC member as "the father of 495", said he wants the northern area "to be intimately involved" in the conference which is scheduled in April. A regional conference is also in the works to discuss Executive Order 418 which will provide limited development funds to individual communities. Resor said that the Governor realizes housing is a major issue, and although there will be less money available after the recently voted tax reductions (Question 4), some funds will survive for new programs.
The surge of development in the 495 area has led to new methods of coping with development. Magnani said municipal officials frequently have to shoulder the burdens of development and that politically "we really need to look at planned growth." He supported the concept of new alliances between towns and local corporations to cope with some of the issues attending rapid growth, suggesting that towns could collaborate with these companies, to use some of their "muscle" in addressing the area's needs.
Watershed planning resources
Robert Levite of U Mass Extension discussed coordinated outreach strategies and tools for coping with development in the 495 quarter. Levite said that the SuAsCo Watershed Group (formed around the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord rivers) has four educational modules that relate to SuAsCo watershed needs and will help towns prepare their development plans and proposals.
SuAsCo's first module is concerned with water and land perspectives and employs the EOEA (Executive Office of Environmental Affairs) buildout maps. These maps and a buildout analyses are available for every community. They provide a picture of the development that could happen in the community under current zoning codes and known environmental and land use constraints. Each community applying for assistance under EO 418 will have to present similar maps and analyses.
SuAsCo's second module addresses open space and critical habitat protection. The Sudbury Valley Trustees offer a Greenways Plan which identifies regionally significant open space corridors. A biodiversity plan highlights focal species, natural communities, priority biodiversity sites and stewardship needs. A 15 or 45 minute slide presentation is free to groups sponsored by land trusts.
The third module focuses on planning for responsible growth, through the Sudbury Valley Trustees "Greenprint for Growth " initiative
The fourth module is a group of specialized and target training programs offered for officials working with planning issues, e.g., an orientation program for new planning committee member. In addition here is a wide variety of offerings under the heading of Citizen planner training collaborative core curriculum (CTIC) ; see WEB site at UMass edu/masscptc for further information.
eligible, 200 to 220 have shown up at the two events since the beginning of this school year. The night entails basketball, a DJ, and food, and is very well chaparoned. A small amount of seed money was provided by the town, but the program is largely self-supporting through fees.
Maureen Tarca of the Recreation Commission reported, "We're booming." Programming has increased and enrollments this year topped 1,000. More programs could be offered but the RecCom is now limited by space. The summer program grew by 25% this year, and about 40 Carlisle teenagers are trained as counsellors and employed in the program. The Banta Davis fields are "the jewel of this community and the envy of Concord." The RecCom has received nets and goals from Concord-Carlisle Youth Soccer and hopes to partner with CC Youth Soccer and Youth Baseball to build additional playing fields. Next year they hope to add two tennis courts and a basketball court on Banta-Davis. "We're facing growth issues as well," added Tarca, as evidenced by the need to turn people away from some programs such as tennis, skiing, and ceramics. It is hoped that future land aquisitions will include land for recreation.
Pedestrian and bicycle safety
Deb Belanger of the pedestrian and bicycle safety committee reported they are looking for engineering firms to evaluate the plan for the school loop path. Next year the committee will focus on signage and marking of crosswalks and the possibility of volunteer parent crossing guards. They have met with nine town committees and incorporated their suggestions.
Louise Hara of the Trails Committee reported they currently maintain 40 miles of trails through volunteers. They have sponsored walks, including a recent one the day after Thanksgiving which attracted fifty-five walkers. They have also recently updated the trails book, which is available at Town Hall. Next year the committee will focus on better signage and parking spaces at the many trails which have none.
Cable TV Committee
Ray Pichuloof the Cable TV Committee reported that the change from Cablevision to Media One/At&T has not been completed. AT&T has not made any committments for expanded service in Carlisle, although a negotiation for license renewal next year will provide an opportunity to make requests. Carlisle's small subscriber base of 950 spread-out houses is not attractive. Cindy Nock suggested that any concessions from AT&T be gotten in writing, since promises they made to the high school were never been kept.
The boards and committees of town government have been successful in maintaining a quality of life in Carlisle that attracts people to the town. Fitzgerald referred to this double-edged sword when he congratulated the School Board on Carlisle's superior MCAS results,and ruefully added, "Expect a new influx of students next year." As most boards are finding, providing for and managing growth will be the major challenge facing the town in the next few years.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito