Friday, October 24, 2003
Board of Appeals approves first 40B development in Carlisle
The first 40B comprehensive permit for a multi-unit development in Carlisle has received the unanimous approval of the Carlisle Board of Appeals (BOA). Last April the board took up the application of Michael Kenney to develop an eight-unit complex on a four-acre parcel of land at 302 Lowell Road. Because one quarter of the units are designated as affordable housing, the developer is able to by-pass many of the town's building restrictions on setbacks, minimum acreage and density. However, the developer must adhere to the state's Wetland Protection Act and Title 5 requirements.
The Chapter 40B law requires that all towns and cities in Massachusetts maintain a minimum of 10% of housing stock as affordable housing. Carlisle, like many suburban towns, is not in compliance, and thus is likely to see more comprehensive permits in the near future.
From the beginning, the board seemed eager to approve this small development. Kenney had originally received permission from the Massachusetts Housing Authority to develop this site with twice the number of units. The developer met with the Selectmen earlier in the year and was convinced to reduce the size of the Lowell Road development, known as Laurel Hollow. In addition, the BOA had not initiated the application process within thirty days of Kenney's filing, as required by state law. As a result, Kenney could have bypassed the board entirely and received an automatic approval, based on this technicality. However, the builder waived his rights to the thirty-day limit.
During the course of the public hearings over a seven-month period, there were many objections voiced by abutters over the course of the hearings, including concerns about water, privacy, and landscaping plans. In addition, the town's other boards — the Planning Board, Conservation Commission and Board of Health were all asked for input. Finally, the board insisted that an engineering peer review be performed, and the suggestions made by the outside consultant, David Ross and Associates of Ayer, were incorporated into Kenney's plans.
BOA Acting Chair Hal Sauer asked that an engineer be hired to visit the site on a regular basis to ensure compliance with the terms of the permit and all its conditions. The board utilized the services of Town Counsel Rich Hucksam extensively through out these hearings as they felt their way through the complex process for the first time.
© 2003 The