The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 17, 2003


Board of appeals grants permit for historic barn conversion

In an effort to support the preservation of distinctive structures in town, the board of appeals has given a special permit to Francene Amari-Faulkner, of 43 Bedford Road, to renovate the barn on her property. Faulkner hopes to retain the character of the barn, which lies at the corner of East Street in the historic district, as she converts the 1,800 square feet of space into five offices.

Faulkner also visited the board of health and the selectmen for preliminary discussions of her plans.

Board of appeals says yes

At their January 2 meeting Amari-Faulkner told the board of appeals she intends to locate two offices on the barn's lower floor and two on the upper floor. In addition, there would be a fifth office space created off the back side. These would not be retail offices; instead she hopes that professional people who now have offices in their homes will rent these spaces.

Carlisle zoning bylaw specifically states that a distinctive stucture may be converted into professional office space. It requires that the structure, a barn in this case, be built before 1932. Although the exact age of the barn could not be supplied, Amari-Faulkner presented to the board an assessors description of the property from 1932 which includes the barn. The house, known to locals as the Wilson house, dates back to the late eighteenth or early nineteenth century.

There was some concern by abutters Hilton and Bedrosian about overflow parking. The board thought that the ten parking places projected by the petitioner should be enough. In the conditions for the special permit, the board prohibited on the street parking.

This is the first special permit granted under this bylaw.

Board of health offers comments

Amari-Faulkner also appeared before the board of health on on January 3 for a preliminary discussion of her renovation plans.

Consulting engineer Joe March of Stamski and McNary suggested that the attached 13-room house, with a six-bedroom septic system installed in 1985, be deed-restricted to only four bedrooms. This would free up 150 gallons per day to accommodate the state Title 5 requirements for 2,000 square feet of office space. Amari-Faulkner did not want the expense of upgrading the current system which includes an interceptor trench which would probably have to be moved.

Board of health member Lisa Davis Lewis pointed out that the board has a policy of allowing only one deed restriction, for one less bedroom rather than two. The applicant said that only four of the six bedrooms were used, but Davis Lewis argued that adding office space would increase the use of the system and, while she was sympathetic to the cause of the barn, she felt that the request was going against the rules that the BOH had established. In the past the board has granted deed restrictions for additions which obviously do not increase septic use, such as a home theater or exercise room.

The board suggested that Amari-Faulkner limit her design for use of only 1,000 square feet of office space and provide an engineering plan for upgrading the septic to a seven-bedroom system, should the current system fail.

Preliminary meeting with selectmen

On January 14 Amari-Faulkner discussed her plans informally at the selectmen's meeting. Selectman Vivian Chaput, who helped design the distinctive structure bylaw, noted that the bylaw was written to help preserve Carlisle's old barns. Amari-Faulkner said she would like to request waiver of application fees under the bylaw, and the selectmen asked her to submit her request in writing. They will then consult with the board of health and planning board, and base their decision on the expenses the town boards will incur in reviewing her project.

Amari-Faulkner, an architect, also asked the selectmen if her drawings would be accepted for the application's site plan. She noted that because the project involved modifying the interior of an existing structure, a certified engineering site plan would not provide new information. The selectmen suggested she look for an old survey or engineering site plan that shows the barn's location on the site.

On the issue of traffic, Amari-Faulkner said she had spoken with chief Galvin and the staff of the Gleason Library, which is located across the street. She said that neither had voiced concerns with the project. However, she suggested that the intersection of East Street and Bedford Road might be made safer if it were one day redesigned as a T, rather than the current V.

Amari-Faulkner welcomed questions from town residents and said she wants to calm any fears anyone might have about her plans.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito