The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 14, 2003

Concerned about 40B? Come to Planning Day

To the Editor:

Look to your left. Look to your right. Is that a four-acre lot you see? Or four one-acre lots with four houses? Or 16 bedrooms-worth of condominiums?

You're right, it's not possible under Carlisle's current zoning or board of health regulations. That doesn't matter. Given the state's Affordable Housing Law (Chapter 40B) and the current economic environment, Carlisle had better brace itself for a proliferation of developments on four-acre lots, and de facto one-acre zoning.

As many townspeople know from discussions stretching back a decade, Chapter 40B gives a developer the right to override most local zoning, planning, BOH and conservation regulations, if the developer makes at least 25% of the units affordable · until at least 10% of the town's housing stock is classified affordable (only I% is at present). Despite having been on the books for years, 40B has had relatively little impact on Carlisle. Until now.

What's different today is the economics of housing. Buildable lots in Carlisle cost about $450,000. Lenders don't like to see land costs exceed 25-30% of total property value, so developers must build "enough house" to sell in the $1.5 million range.

But only the market for houses below $900,000 remains strong. What's a developer to do? Buy an existing, four-acre lot with house for $600,000, use 40B to sidestep Carlisle zoning, build four, four-bedroom houses, sell three quick into the sweet spot of the market at $850,000 and one affordable at $150,000. The economics are compelling. Two such developments have already been reported.

This is a terribly inefficient way to build affordable housing. Even if every fourth home built in Carlisle from now on were affordable, we'd need to grow from our current 1,700 households to nearly 2,700 to reach 10% affordable; yet accomplish little for teachers, police officers, firefighters, young couples and the elderly.

Imagine what 950 more, 4-bedroom homes · all on one-acre lots · and another 3,500 residents would do to Carlisle: to our schools, roads, volunteer fire department, open space, rural look and community traditions.

Let's talk about it. Come to Town Planning Day at Town Hall on Saturday, March 22.

Barney Arnold
Lowell Street
Christine Bopardikar
Carlisle Pines Drive
Greg Peterson
Indian Hill

Two ways to be heard about town development

To the Editor:

The community development plan steering committee invites all Carlisle citizens to take part in the development of a plan for the future of the town: First, by filling out the questionnaire that was published in the February 28 issue of the Carlisle Mosquito; second, by attending the general meeting to be held on Saturday March 22, from 9:30 a.m. to noon in the Carlisle School cafeteria.

Additional copies of the questionnaire are available in the library or at Town Hall. For your convenience, a downloadable, printable pdf file of the questionnaire is available online at The questionnaire can be dropped off or mailed to the Carlisle Planning Board at Town Hall, 66 Westford Street, Carlisle, MA 01741, or mailed to our planning consultant, Thomas Planning Services, Inc., 60 Temple Place #410, Boston, MA 02111. Or you can bring the completed questionnaire with you to the General Meeting on the 22nd. Whether or not you are able to attend the meeting, your responses to the questionnaire will be useful in the planning process. Please take the time to give us your input.

The meeting will be co-sponsored by the Concord-Carlisle League of Women Voters and is an opportunity for you to make your views known about issues in town, your desires, and a town vision. We hope to have a good turnout and that the insights gained at the meeting will be a valuable step in developing a new plan for the future of Carlisle. The committee looks forward to seeing you there.

David Freedman
Community Development Plan steering committee
Carlisle Planning Board

Terms of teachers' contract should be examined

To the Editor:

In 2002, one half of the teachers at CCHS had earnings greater than $78,142. The average teacher's earnings were $76,949 for 185 days of work. These figures represent an increase of over 8% over the previous year. Based upon this, it is difficult for me to see that teachers at our high school are part of an underpaid profession. This observation is not, and should not be construed to be, an "attack on teachers." The teachers are the fortunate beneficiaries of a very one-sided contract negotiated by our school committee.

Teachers, or anyone in negotiations, should try to get the best deal they can for themselves. On the other hand, the school committee should be representing the interests of the town, the taxpayers and the schools, in striving for contract terms which give the school administration the tools to provide the best educational capability that we can afford.

When looking at other schools with comparable results, one finds that the costs-per-student are far higher at CCHS. The costs of our schools are driven by the personnel costs, which are in turn being driven by the terms of the contract. It is the terms of the contract which are being "attacked." It is my hope that by drawing attention to the failings of the past contract, that the contract currently being negotiated will be one that does not result in the forced dismantling of our school. The combination of the restrictions on the number of classes taught by an individual, with the strict limits on class size, is forcing both a high operating budget and the need for a 42 million dollar building addition.

We need to increase the flexibility for the administration in terms of both the number of classes taught per teacher, and in the class size. Without changes in both of these areas, the costs will continue their unreasonable and unaffordable rise.

Ralph P. Anderson
Baldwin Road

Ad was deceptive

To the Editor:

The recent full-page ad that vilifies the CCRSD School Committee and the CCHS faculty for creating a contractual pork barrel is, at best, highly deceptive and counterproductive. Its vitriolic rhetoric is certain to create animosity and polarization among the members of our otherwise caring and mutually supportive communities. It is also guaranteed to accelerate the demoralization of a highly talented, dedicated, and productive faculty/administration.

The CCRSD and the citizens it serves share a proud history of constructive dialogue and carefully considered outcomes that have treated all parties fairly and with dignity. Although the unusually difficult nature of current economic issues is certain to test our ability to continue this tradition, we must make every effort to do so.

Hopefully, all of us wish to provide a high-quality education for our young people in adequate, safe facilities that are staffed with properly compensated teachers and administrators. Recently retired from CCHS, I know the district's needs well and I assure you that there is no pork in that barrel! The budget submitted by the CCRSD is bare bones and the unmet needs are undeniably and painfully real.

The only questions that remain to be addressed are the degrees to which we are able and willing to fulfill our obligations. And the only way to do this successfully is to conduct our deliberations in an atmosphere of respect and civility that assures honest and intelligent consideration of the needs and concerns of all parties.

Those who comprise the Carlisle Committee for Tax Fairness must cease their negative tactics if we are to have any chance at all of achieving this goal.

Al Powers
East Street

Swim team member urges support for C-C pool

To the Editor:

What CCHS team spends more time sitting than running? What CCHS team talks more than it walks? What CCHS team has a home field that moves? That would be the Concord-Carlisle High School Swimming and Diving Team. It spends an hour and a half on the bus each day traveling to and from its "home" pool on the far side of Sudbury. It then practices for one hour before heading for home at ten o'clock at night. There is no rest for the swim and dive team at the high school. It has the longest season of any sport, fall, winter, or spring, stretching from the beginning of November to the beginning of March.

The swim team at the high school has been around for over 40 years and the people of Concord and Carlisle cannot even do themselves a favor and build a pool. Alfred Sawyer gave five million dollars to the Concord Recreation Department years ago to build a community aquatic facility. Since then, goals have been set, races have been run, and plans drawn, but what has happened? Nothing. All the project has left to acquire is support from those it would benefit. Who would it benefit? Everyone.

The pool that has been designed for the high school is planned for seniors, swim teams, children, and anyone else in between. There will be swim lessons, rehabilitation, exercise programs, summer recreation programs, and swim team practices. There is no end to the possibilities for utilizing the pool. C.C. Pools needs the support of the people of Carlisle. Find out how you can participate in the drive for a better, healthier, more exciting community. Thank you,

Sean DeBruzzi
Concord-Carlisle Swimmer

ConsCom clarification

To the Editor:

Kathleen Coyle's otherwise excellent article titled "Towns split cost of Chelmsford dam repair" in the March 7 Carlisle Mosquito might have given the mistaken impression that the Carlisle Conservation Commission had agreed to provide funds towards the repair of this dam. At the February 27 Carlisle ConsCom meeting, Mark Duffy of Carlisle Cranberries, Inc. and two representatives of the Chelmsford Conservation Commission discussed repair of the dam at the unnamed pond in Chelmsford. David McLachlan, chairman of the Chelmsford ConsCom, stated that he thought Chelmsford would agree to provide $4,000 for materials, which would include a replacement aluminum flume similar to those now in use at the Carlisle Cranberry Bog. Mr. Duffy thought that additional funding could be obtained through a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant. Labor associated with replacing the flume and rebuilding the dam will be supplied by Mr. Duffy, assisted by the Chelmsford DPW. There will be no cost to the Town of Carlisle.

Tom Brownrigg
Acton Street
Carlisle Conservation Commission

Is bee regulation necessary?

To the Editor.

When I moved to New England I came across this rural community that had beautiful homes that also possessed animals such as chickens, goats, horses, and bees. I have seen other communities that kept livestock but the homes seemed to suffer, and there are communities that had beautiful homes but they were not allowed to own livestock. Over the years it would appear that many people came here from the cities because they too liked what they saw. Then it appears they soon missed the sound of traffic and car fumes for the sound of chickens was foreign to their hearing as well as the smell of manure. For me it is the sound of traffic that keeps me awake and I know manure is good for the soil and in fact smells sweeter. So regulations are put in place to make the town more city-like.

Now, I hear there is an effort to regulate and inspect bees. Is it known that there are knowledgeable state agencies that inspect hives and provide bee information? I cannot help wonder what the objective is. Is it known that the flowers we enjoy, and both the fruit and vegetables we eat, are dependent on bees? That the products that they produce are also used as food, drink and medicine? That bees have a significant, positive impact on our gross national product? Furthermore, in this part of the world, they are not dangerous. I have listened to a number of stories of how individuals have been attacked by bees but, in every case that I am aware of, it was not bees but ground wasps that stung them. For most city folks, anything that stings and in particular those that are yellow are called bees. I look forward to reading the regulation on ground wasps! Again, why is a bee regulation needed?

Thomas Dunkers
East Street

'Ragtime' thank-yous

To the Editor:

The set has been dismantled and the costumes and props have been returned to the closets, but the impact of the CCHS production of Ragtime will remain in our hearts for quite some time. Director Chuck Brown wanted to "tell a story" this year, and his goal was achieved within the community and among the students.

Eighty students performed in the cast, with two CCHS teachers also appearing on stage. The pit orchestra and tech crew brought the total number of students directly involved with the production to over 140. Include the students who served as ushers and those who manned the ticket and concession tables, and the CCHS student involvement rises to l80. As a community we are proud that so many students made a commitment to the success of this endeavor.

The behind-the-scenes support for this production must also be acknowledged. Students and adults worked together for several weekends to create the set. Sixteen hundred costume pieces were created, collected and tailored to suit the period. During the February vacation and tech week rehearsals, adults prepared nutritious snacks and meals for the students. Many adults worked backstage to help with costume changes, hair and make-up.

The playbill provided background information to audience members and we are grateful to the businesses who sponsored advertising. Special thanks are extended to the stores who serve as ticket agents: The Toy Shop of Concord, The Cheese Shop, Video Revolution, The West Concord 5 & 10 and Daisy's Market in Carlisle.

In choosing Ragtime, with its requirements for a large and diverse cast, Mr. Brown challenged the CCHS population to recruit students new to performing arts. Our students and our community have benefited from his vision and his diligence.

Congratulations to the students who stood on that stage, played an instrument, manned a spotlight, cued a microphone, made sure the prop was in the right place or otherwise contributed to the success of the play. You should feel such pride in what you have done.

Mary Jane Divino
president, Concord-Carlisle Patrons of Performing Students

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito