Friday, April 6, 2001
Planning board endorses affordable housing plan
The planning board gave unanimous endorsement to the Carlisle Housing Authority's 2001 Affordable Housing Plan. Housing authority members Marty Galligan and Alan Lehotsky summarized the plan's objectives: to encourage town control over housing projects and to create several small developments over time on scattered sites. Lehotsky stated that this approach will have less impact on the school and other town services than one large housing development.
According to the plan, more than one out of five families in Carlisle have incomes under $45,000 that would meet the state income standard for affordable housing. Yet as homeowners, these families do not qualify for affordable housing. Carlisle's current median sales price of $534,000 has produced housing that is out of reach for many families. Additionally, the plan emphasizes the benefits that can be derived for the community from affordable housing: namely, a socially diverse population.
Secondly, the plan attempts to whittle away at the state requirement of ten percent affordable housing. Without some reasonable effort to increase the number of affordable units beyond the current one percent, Carlisle is vulnerable to an unfriendly Comprehensive Permit. This would allow a developer to bypass local zoning bylaws and potentially create a large multi-unit cluster that would strain local resources and services. Galligan, with much chagrin, noted that Carlisle is well behind other metrowest communities such as Weston, Sudbury and Concord. Many comparable communities hover around four to five percent of affordable housing stock.
Summarizing the planning board's response, member Phyllis Zinicola said that this plan was "good for the community" and that the threat of a comprehensive permit may be kept at bay by this "good faith effort."
The Affordable Housing Plan is available at the Gleason Library.
proposed regs to require
The board has once more taken up the revision of its Rules & Regulations Governing Subdivisions. The Rules & Regulations delineate a range of issues from the mundane, such as curbing, to the significant, such as road length.
The board is currently considering strengthening the requirements for footpaths for new developments. Applicants would be expected to consult with the Pedestrian & Bike Safety Advisory Committee (in addition to the four other required boards) regarding the location of footpaths. The planning board proposes to allow applicants to pay a fee in lieu of a footpath to "mitigate the adverse impact" of the development.
The board is also proposing minor changes to storm water control regulations. Sandra Brock of Judith Nitsch Engineering discussed proposed engineering changes. Brock characterized the requirements as being "the most conservative ones out there" in terms of drainage. Other changes will require the applicant to submit a planting plan for detention basins and to have a site visit by the planning board prior to any clearing of the site.
To adopt the Rules & Regulations the planning board is required to hold a public hearing. No date has been set..
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