Friday, November 9, 2001
Selectmen fine-tune Warrant
Facing a Town Meeting with a number of potentially controversial issues, the board of selectmen took time at its October 30 meeting to fine-tune the eight Warrant articles. (See final version of the Warrant on page 13.)
Paul Morrison of the Carlisle School Committee defended a proposed article (Article 6) asking for $20,000 to look again at alternatives to Banta-Davis for a new school. "It's a small amount of money to answer our questions and ensure our plans are well thought out." Eileen Riley, school business manager, hopes to have a better sense of what state funds will be available for the project.
Morrison asked that the article dealing with the development of the Town Forest (Article 7) eliminate mention of siting a school there. "If this comes up at Town Meeting, we'll lob rocks at it." Selectman Vivian Chaput suggested the wording should be changed to authorize the selectmen, not the housing authority, to appropriate funds. These changes were made.
In regard to Article 7, selectman Doug Stevenson had done research and quoted a 1923 town document which appeared to set aside the Town Forest as a forest "and let nature take care of it." It may require a 2/3 vote of the state legislature to change the use of the land. Stevenson was also concerned that appropriating money for a study was "putting the cart before the horse" since no decision had been made by the selectmen to dedicate that land to a particular purpose. "As a board, is that the direction we want to go, or are we being led?" he asked. "We haven't had that discussion, and I don't agree with it [the article in question]."
FinCom chair Tony Allison defended the article. Referring to a presentation by Ed Sonn and Tom Bilotta, he pointed out that only 5 to 7 acres of the Town Forest would be impacted. He then pointed to the estimated $250,000 to build a road and wetlands crossing, and reported "they seem confident it will be self-sustaining after that." he added, "That doesn't seem onerous to me if these figures are right. Ed Sonn added, "It can be self-sustaining. Other towns have done it. It's not rocket science."
Gary Davis reported that there are currently five private roads plowed by the DPW: Red Pine Drive, Berry Corner Lane, Cutters Ridge Road, East Meadow Lane, and Koning Farm Drive. Only Koning Farm is likely to be presented for acceptance within the year; the others were "grandfathered" when the plowing policy was adopted.
Looking over the Warrant articles, which include school septic, school building, affordable housing, conservation, road acceptance, and bicycle safety issues, selectman Tim Hult summarized, "There's going to be some interesting constituencies."
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito