The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 1, 2001


Different rules for different roads

Flooding on High Woods Lane

"The question seems to be whether this was built according to the approved plan," explained planning board member Dan Holzman regarding the High Woods Lane common driveway special permit.

With the applicant's engineer, the town's consulting engineer and two West Street abutters present, the planning board discussed the drainage on the partially constructed common driveway off of West Street at its meeting on May 21. The planning board permitted the common driveway that serves four lots under the special permit bylaw. The application also included the creation of a five-lot conservation cluster with an open space parcel owned by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation.

Abutter Barry Hoffman contended that the creation of the common driveway "created runoff over and above that which had historically been a trickle." Abutters Hoffman and Alan Lehotsky cited the recent storm this spring as evidence that the board ought to reconsider the common driveway drainage design. Dale McKinnon of Earth Tech, consulting engineer to the board, concluded "everything is working against us here." McKinnon said the drainage problems "were compounded by incorrect construction and a tremendous storm." In a letter to the board dated April 27, McKinnon suggests several corrective measures to correct the flooding problems.

No authority over construction

The planning board does not hold collateral from the permit holder to guarantee construction on common drive special permits. In the discussion that ensued it became apparent that the planning board has responsibility for issuing the special permit but cannot take corrective action should the driveway be built incorrectly. Town counsel Richard Hucksam was present to confirm for the board that "once a special permit is out there it can not be changed" by the board. However, with a full hearing, special permits can be amended at the request of the permit holders.

Drainage is not the only problem to plague High Woods Lane. The board noted that several engineering bills for the project review have not been paid. Planning administrator George Mansfield was instructed by the board to begin the process of rescinding the common driveway special permit for High Woods Lane. The board may rescind a project for nonpayment of bills. The board will hold a hearing on June 25 if payment is not received by June first. The rescission is complicated by the fact that there appear to be four owners of record. If the board rescinds the special permit, then building inspector Bob Koning could potentially withhold occupancy permits since no real access is available to the lots.

Is Tall Pines completed?

William Costello, developer of Tall Pines subdivision, has requested certification of completion of the subdivision.M ember Michael Abend outlined the board's responsibilities under subdivision control as deciding whether the road was constructed according to Carlisle's roadway standards. The board authorized its engineering consultant to conduct an inspection of the subdivision roadways as part of this process.

No responsibility for maintenance

Planning board chairman Michael Epstein took note of the concerns of David Freedman of Hutchins Road over the maintenance of the roadways. Freedman was concerned that the maintenance would fall between the cracks of acceptance of the road by the town and the certification of completion of the subdivision. Frustrated with the lack of sweeping and debris in the roadway, Freedman contended that the planning board can find a "way to make it (maintenance) happen and that it should." Abend reminded Freedman and board members "we're not obligated to worry about the gap between completion and road acceptance." Town counsel restated Abend's point by saying, "Subdivision control has all to do with design and construction and is not about maintenance."

Freedman further addressed the Subdivision Rules and Regulations that are in place to govern maintenance and homeowner responsibility. Mansfield pointed out that Tall Pines subdivision was approved in 1989 prior to the '91 amendment to the Rules and Regulations regarding maintenance. Member Reed ended the discussion by advising that the "homeowners get talking and find out who owns the road."

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