The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 30, 2002


Conservation proposal ignored as Acton approves 90-home plan

On August 22 the Carlisle Conservation Commission voted to endorse an eleventh-hour effort by former commissioner Ken Harte and others to consider an environmentally friendly change to plans for the pending 90-home Robbins Mill Estates subdivision just across the Acton border on the west side of town. Harte's proposal was strongly opposed by the developer when he presented it before the Acton Planning Board on July 22, and in spite of a follow-up letter on August 18, he had received no official response. Nonetheless he felt that a statement of strong support from the Carlisle commission might have an impact. On Monday, August 26, the Acton Planning Board approved the subdivision without discussing Harte's proposal.

As one who has successfully championed contiguous land preservation and maintenance of wildlife corridors here in Carlisle, Harte proposed establishment of such a corridor between currently protected areas in the two towns. Flipping through large maps of the proposed subdivision and its environs, he showed how an area of open space targeted for the center of the development might be reallocated to the periphery to provide an 150-foot-wide forested connector for wildlife migration and trail extension. It would also serve as a buffer between the densely developed subdivision and properties along West Street in Carlisle.

Although happy to express support for both the environmental principle involved and Harte's concrete plan, commissioners were also aware that convincing the developers to participate would be a difficult call for the Acton board. However, they voted unanimously to communicate their backing immediately to that town's conservation commission, planning board and open space management committee. The letter stated in part: "Wildlife corridors linking conservation lands are of importance in maintaining breeding populations of birds, mammals and many other species. This corridor would support a connecting trail between conservation lands in both towns that could be used by hikers, cross-country skiers, nature enthusiasts and others. We believe it is an excellent example of regional planning applied to conservation."

The Acton Planning Board released their decision on approval of the existing subdivision plan Tuesday afternoon. That leaves only their conservation commission that can effect changes to the 90-unit submission from Robbins Mill Estates. Jill Reichenbach of West Street told the Mosquito that a Carlisle group, deeply concerned about the threat to water quality in the area, is planning to attend the Acton commission's September 4 meeting at the Acton Town Hall at 7:30 p.m.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito