The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 17, 2002


BOA issues permits for new business, house additions

At their May 2 meeting the Carlisle Board of Appeals approved three permits and, after some soul-searching, granted a variance for a large house addition on a small non-conforming lot to a family that recently expanded with the addition of triplets.

New business on School Street

A one-year special permit was granted to Carlisle residents Peter and Laura Chelton to operate a mortgage and brokerage company, Wayside Mortgage Company, at Howard Hensleigh's property at 50 School Street. There are currently two full-time employees and one part-time employee and business is conducted mostly by phone and mail. Chelton said that there were 1,500-2,000 square feet of office space in the building.

The board was concerned about parking but was satisfied that the approximately 12 spaces would be adequate. Conditions for approval included hours of operation, from 8:30 to 5:30, and that the shrubbery between the parking lot and the abutter be maintained as a screen.

Concord Road addition

Kevin Cusack at 300 Concord Road was before the board to ask for a special permit to build a totally conforming addition to his house which was built on a non-conforming lot of 1.2 acres. The total addition would be 500 feet, less than 50 percent of the existing structure which contains 1,800 square feet. The board granted this request with the usual conditions of requiring the applicant to meet other town board requirements and begin construction within a year.

Difficult variance on Cross Street

A special permit and an additional variance requested by Douglas Stevenson of 271 Cross Street was a much more difficult issue for the board. The Stevenson house was originally built in 1952 on 0.8 acres, with two other non-contiguous acres of property which were later sold. The original house was only 800 square feet, but in 1997 a special permit was granted to raise the roof and add a studio. The baseline size of the house was then deemed to be 1,140 square feet.

Any addition to a building on a non-conforming lot needs to come before the board for a special permit. However, this application also requires a variance because of the size of the addition. The plan proposes a two-story addition of 1,552 square feet, well over the 50 percent enlargement limit.

The case of hardship was made by the applicant. A set of triplets was born last year and there is no room for the children. In addition, in order to upgrade the house a new septic system and a new well were needed.

Board member Midge Eliassen, who reluctantly voted with the board's majority to grant the request, expressed concern that variances were supposed to be tied to the lot ­ its shape, topography, etc., not to the owner of the lot. Other board members were moved by the petitioner's financial hardship and his claim that if the permit is not granted, he and his family would have to move. Stevenson and the board cited precedent for this petition; however, the board was clearly torn in making this decision.

Eliassen said that the board had asked the town to rescind the 50 percent requirement. Although it is a state requirement, the town can vote to give the building inspector the right to approve additions to non-conforming lots. She noted that these are very difficult cases and requested help from the board of selectmen to bring this issue to the public again.

As part of the conditions of approval, the board said that no other additions will be allowed and that the proposed screened porch may not be enclosed or heated.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito