Friday, February 28, 2003
Selectmen hear 40B development plan off Maple Street
On February 25, Walter Eriksen, manager of Massapoag Real Estate Development Corporation, described his proposed 12-unit subdivision to be built on 4.37 acres off Maple Street. He has filed an application with MassHousing to determine the project's eligibility for a Chapter 40B comprehensive permit. Such a permit would free the development from many local zoning constraints, including the minimum acerage requirement of two acres per house.
The development, named Carlisle Woods, would be accessed via Carlisle Street, a "paper road" on the developer's plot plan that follows an existing unpaved driveway serving two homes. The plan calls for paving Carlisle Street and joining it to the existing Estey Road in Billerica.
The proposal includes three buildings, each of which will contain four housing units. Three of the homes will be affordable: two with 1,469 square feet, and one with 2,061 square feet. They are expected to sell between $165,000 and $175,000. The nine market-rate units would be about the same size, and range in price from $449,000 to $569,000. Each four-unit building would have its own well and septic system. All the units would have two bedrooms. The selectmen were told there were no wetlands on the site, and that the land slopes from 0% to 8%.
The selectmen have until March 21 to review the plan and send comments to the state, which will decide on the project's eligibility under Chapter 40B. Selectman Vivian Chaput voiced two main concerns about the project: legal access and water resources.
On the subject of access, Chaput said that the land has only 40 feet of frontage on Maple Street, not the 50 feet needed for a legal subdivision road. She said that during her 17 years on the planning board (before she joined the board of selectmen) she remembered three proposals to develop the land, and said that none of the proposals were ever able to demonstrate legal access to the land. The applicant agreed to provide additional documentation to prove that Carlisle Street was in fact an approved road. He did say that they would be seeking a waiver of the 50-foot requirement. Eriksen said, "We believe that we have every right to access this property."
Chaput said to the applicant, "I have a second point. From the standpoint of Carlisle's natural resources, you should know that we have no sewer or public water, and our overriding concern is to avoid polluting our groundwater." She questioned the ability of the septic systems to handle a density of 24 bedrooms on the property, but Eriksen said the plan met state Title 5 requirements. Chaput then pointed out that Title 5 specifications for conventional septic systems require 10,000 square feet of land per bedroom, or a maximum of 17 bedrooms on four acres. Eriksen explained that his plan would use non-standard septic system technologies that support more bedrooms. Chaput said she was concerned should the septic systems fail. The selectmen suggested Eriksen read the minutes of past board meetings for a similar discussion with the builder of the proposed Laural Woods 40B development on Lowell Street.
Eriksen agreed to send additional documentation, including a more detailed map prior to the selectmen's meeting on March 11.
Town counsel Paul DeRensis was present at the board meeting, and the selectmen asked if it was legal for a development to have its only access through another town. He answered, "You can. That doesn't mean you should."
© 2003 The Carlisle Mosquito