The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 15, 2002


BOH lenient with 'innocent victims'

Steve and Linda Lerner of 221 Brook Street appeared at the November 6 board of health meeting to request approval of an addition to their home. When the Lerners purchased the house in 2002 the selling point was that the older house had a Title 5-compliant septic system.

However, when board of health agent Linda Fantasia reviewed their current plan, she discovered that the room count of 12 was too big for the Lerner's four-bedroom-sized septic system. The Title 5 rule is that if a house has more than eight rooms, the number of rooms is divided by 2 and rounded down to determine the needed septic system bedroom count. By this measure the Lerners need a six-bedroom system. They had been told that the new septic system which was installed in 2000 met the town requirements, except for a waiver on well location.

Steve Lerner explained that the planned additions would provide more space, but not add to room count. "To be frank, this was a borderline teardown or rehab decision," said Lerner. The addition involves combining two small bedrooms into one large one, converting a third bedroom into a bathroom (bathrooms are not counted) and tearing down an attached garage and rebuilding it with a second floor with two bedrooms.

Board of health consulting engineer Rob Frado said that looking at the septic plan it might be possible to add some more trenches to the existing system, but then a waiver would be needed from the conservation commission because of proximity to the border of vegetated wetlands. Lerner said that H-Star Engineering, who designed the system, estimated a cost of $10,000 to upgrade their system.

The board, which was missing member Steve Opolski, debated granting a waiver with a deed restriction to four bedrooms. Normally the board's policy is not to grant a waiver when the septic system is more than one bedroom below requirement. Fantasia pointed out the addition would not increase that requirement. Members also felt that there is a safety measure because the septic system includes a 50% increase in the leaching area to accommodate a garbage grinder.

The board noted that there was precedent for such waivers on much older non-Title 5-compliant systems and that the Lerner's were "innocent victims." The board then decided to grant a deed restriction prohibiting a garbage grinder and restricting the house to four bedrooms.

Lerner wondered what he should do with his kitchen disposal grinder when he removes it.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito