Friday, December 21, 2001
To the Editor:
A wonderful solution to many issues in town! Sam Coursey makes many good points in her letter to the editor dated December 14.
We all know that Carlisle is in dire need of affordable housing, more senior housing and a community center available to all. The student population is growing. Why not sell the school property and build a new campus?
All we need now is a thoughtful builder to step forward and make an offer, before we lose what diversity we have in Carlisle.
Keep out of the striped zone
To the Editor:
Re: Midge Eliassen's photo of the Volvo station wagon parked in the striped handicapped area of the library parking lot I could not discern whether or not Ms. Eliassen was exposing the absurdity of parking in that area or applauding the "creativity" of the driver in parking that way. I also wonder whether or not the owner of that vehicle was identified and ticketed as would be appropriate.
The striped zones next to handicapped parking spots are there to ensure that there is enough space for people to negotiate their walkers or wheelchairs or to leave enough room for any other assistance or equipment they might need. It is just as arrogant and illegal to park in the striped area as it is to park in the parking spot itself. And even if the spaces are empty, it is important to remind ourselves that they should be left that way so that anyone who needs those spaces can arrive and use them with ease without having to get in and out of their cars an extra time just to find out who is blocking the area.
FinCom member clarifies
To the Editor:
I write to clarify a comment attributed to me in the paper published on December 14.
This excellent article by Nancy Pierce reported on a meeting between the FinCom and the Carlisle School about the school's budget request. The current proposed budget for regular education teacher salaries rises by 8.25 percent. The article accurately reports that this is made up of a general increase of 4 percent, "step increases" for longevity and "lane changes" to reward additional education, and small increases in staffing levels.
The article goes on to report that I suggested a 2 percent increase. It could be interpreted that 2 percent was suggested as an overall increase. This would be incorrect. A 2 percent overall increase would be unrealistic and, in my opinion, undesirable. As the superintendent observed, "The heart and soul of the school are the teachers." When I suggested a 2 percent increase in the future, it was in relation to the 4 percent general increase. Such a level of increase would still leave average salaries for regular education teachers going up by roughly 6 to 7% percent per annum. In light of the fact that Carlisle's teachers' salaries are within the top five in the state, and that inflation is very low, a 5 to 7 percent average increase does not seem unreasonable.
The town, like the country, is facing challenging financial times. We will need to make some tough financial choices over the next year. The school is requesting an increase of 11 to 14 percent in its budget. Town residents need to understand what is driving that request. The article helps explain this. The FinCom has requested further information from the school. We hope to analyze it and make a clear presentation to the town.
I hope that the school and the FinCom, with help from the paper, will be able to provide town residents with data to make informed choices about spending levels for the schools and town departments at Spring Town Meeting.
Lisa Jensen Fellows
member, finance committee
Offended by NIMBY label
To the Editor:
Mr. Fitzgerald needs to reach out to more Carlisle residents if he believes a majority of us suffer from NIMBY (not in my back yard, Forum article, Mosquito, December 14) syndrome. I am personally offended that he would label the entire group of Friends of the Town Forest as NIMBY subscribers. Here are just a few of the motives by which we are inspired. The forest is filled with trees that help to clean the air of all of Carlisle. It is filled with wetlands and vernal ponds which give birth to fascinating and wonderful new life every spring, and which replenish the aquifers for hundreds of Carlisle residents. Many of us in town, including one delightful retired physicist with a Ph.D. from MIT, know that every time we destroy a tree, we contribute to global warming. He cites a statement to me in a recent issue of World Physics, a British publication of the Institute of Physics: "Per capita, the U.S.A. contributes more than twice as much greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as the rest of the entire world."
We are at a loss to understand why anyone would consider spending oodles of the town's money to destroy and develop such a treasure when, with a little foresight, we could nail down properties all over town which are already developed. What would be involved in making an effort to purchase property as it comes on the market and slowly install small affordable housing units in each of our neighborhoods? Here is another idea: there are some beautiful and enormous barns in Carlisle in which no livestock are currently sheltered. Might we encourage a philanthropist here or elsewhere to help with the concept of using an environmentally-conscious architectural group with specific guidelines to rebuild the interiors to provide several units of affordable living space while they remain mandated to leave the exteriors untouched or unaltered to the casual observer?
It will take planning and many compromises to accomplish the goals Mr. Fitzgerald listed in his article, but it won't help anything if we start with offensive assumptions about the values and motivations of our neighbors all over this beautiful town.
East Meadow Lane
Cell tower application should be denied
To the Editor:
On December 13, the ZBA meeting, in regards to the proposed cell tower on 662 Bedford Road, continued again without resolution. I feel this application should be denied, based on our bylaws section 188.8.131.52.21, that "requires disapproval of the application ... with reapplication prohibited for two years in case of any materials, statements, or information provided as part of the process is deemed to have been inaccurate, misleading, or false."
The need for the cell tower as expressed by the applicants is to cover the east side of Route 225, apparently to avoid dropped calls. Our group has done two studies using five vendors and we were able to start and maintain conversations.
Inaccurate: The application showed proposed site of compound and tower with a "mysterious" disappearance of wetlands, as seen on official town plot plans.
False representation: With little effort our group has identified Mr. Woodward's property as viable for serious consideration. Applicants misrepresented his property as "unavailable" due to variances needed and issues with Chapter 61. These variances are significantly less egregious than Mr. Duren's, and Chapter 61 issues are resolvable. Why don't they want to explore fully?
Misleading: The applicants verbalized possible legal issues arising from a denial of these huge variances. We should not be held hostage to such threats. Our bylaws are sound and accepted by the state. Sixty-seven to ninety-five percent of the variances are not minor.
The town and its citizens have a mutual agreement to maintain the integrity of our bylaws as written.
These requested variances should, by all logical standards, be denied.
Carlisle Citizens for Responsible Location of Personal Wireless Facilities
Bad news for Montessori School
To the Editor:
Two days ago, we at the Concord Montessori School received a letter from the Town of Concord giving us some shocking news: due to planned renovations at Harvey Wheeler, the recreation department will be taking our space at Ripley after this school year. Although we have been aware for the past fifteen years of ongoing discussions of the possible use of Ripley for public school relocation, we were unaware of this threat to our use of the classrooms. The superintendent of schools has always been supportive of high quality pre-school programs, such as ours, using the Ripley space, but the town is now giving priority to daycare. This news sadly has the potential to affect dozens of families, as well as the future of the school.
Montessori School was anticipating having places for thirty-six primary students at Ripley, as it has for close to twenty years. This late -breaking news has the potential to severely affect our admissions for 2002. Our plan is to carry out an intensive search to identify potential classroom space by the end of December. It will then take us a few weeks to check with the various agencies involved whether any potential spaces meet all the requirements such as fire code, absence of lead paint, Office of Child-care Services codes, and others. We will notify families by the end of January as to whether their children will be offered spaces. As we shall be unable to establish admission policies until we have addressed the space question, we respectfully ask that parents not contact us regarding their child's status. If parents have already submitted an application and would now like to withdraw, they may submit a written request to Robin Jean, and their deposit will be refunded. Otherwise, our December 15 deadline still applies.
Many people helped with our previous search for space, which resulted in our St. Irene's program, and we would greatly appreciate similar help from members of our community before the end of December. If you think that you may know of suitable space, we ask that you please make some initial inquiries before calling us. We need two classrooms, each of which has a minimum area of 630 square feet. Each room must have an adjacent bathroom or stall and have access to safe outdoor space. The owner should be willing to lease to a pre-school, and the facility will need to conform to several strict codes and be within eight miles of Concord center. If after checking area and owner willingness, you identify a space that might meet our needs, please call Robin at 1-978-369-1455 before the end of December
© 2001 The Carlisle Mosquito