Friday, August 16, 2002
The Acton Planning Board may decide as early as Monday, August 26, to give the go-ahead to the Robbins Mill Estates subdivision, owned by Liberty Trust, which abuts the western boundary of Carlisle near West Street, Acton Street, Log Hill Road and Woodland Road. A number of Carlisle residents who attended the Acton hearings have expressed concern that the subdivision's 90 five-bedroom houses would have a serious impact on Carlisle in terms of increased traffic as well as possible groundwater contamination.
Since the subdivision was filed as a "Planned Conservation Residential Community," Acton bylaws permit individual lots to be as small as 30,000 square feet, or about three-quarters of an acre. The homes will be supplied with town water but will require individual septic systems.
At the July 22 meeting, an Acton "traffic representative" explained that Carlisle Road in Acton (which becomes Acton Street in Carlisle) would be widened at the intersection with Main Street (Route 27). Cars driving to Concord will have to go through the crowded intersection at the junction of Routes 27 and 2A, then through more congested traffic to join a line of 25 to 50 cars waiting to enter reformatory circle, the rotary in Concord.
Carlisle residents envision an easier and less frustrating route that would take West Street in Carlisle to Lowell Road in Concord. Many residents of Marshall Path, a smaller Acton development below the planned Robbins Mill complex, already depend on West Street to drive to Concord and farther east.
The subdivision is expected to produce 876 car trips a day. To add to the traffic problem, a huge assisted living development and a large condominium complex are already contributing to the large amount of traffic on Route 27.
Carlisle abutters are also concerned about possible contamination of private wells from 90 septic systems, pumping 45,000 tons of sewage daily, and the possiblilty of heavy use of lawn chemicals and pesticides which may leach into Carlisle groundwater.
Positive reception in Acton
Many Acton residents feel this development of 90 five-bedroom houses will have a positive financial benefit for Acton. The Acton Finance Committee produced a fifteen-page document, dated May 18, 2001, written by two members of the finance committee with some assistance from UMass graduate students, the Town of Acton Planning Department and the Acton Planning Development Committee. It is a complex report with many variables, such as average values for new houses, average number of students per house, and estimates of marginal cost increases in various town budgets, especially schools. With expensive houses and few students per house, the town makes money; with less expensive homes and more students, the town loses money. Carlisle observers were skeptical of the estimated 0.5 child per house, especially as the plan specifies five bedroom homes.
The report estimates that new business development revenue will supply the necessary funds to make up any deficit. Tax revenues from new business always exceed town costs, as there are no school expenses. The bottom line is that this subdivision is not going to be a big money-maker, but the town should break even. No consideration was given to crowded roads, pollution, and increased congestion overall.
A copy of this financial report is available at the Gleason Library circulation desk.
Carlisle resident Ken Harte contributed to this story.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito