Friday, February 13, 2004
Maple Street 40B still lacks legal access
The major question left unanswered at last month's Board of Appeals hearing on the proposed 40B development off Maple Street was still there on February 5. Just where is that 40-foot easement which allows the developer to build on 4.37 acres, in Carlisle or Billerica? The property has no frontage, and has been before Carlisle boards in the past. However, this time, under the 40B rules, the board has the unique ability to waive local requirements, such as frontage.
Chair Terry Herndon opened the continued hearing with the full board in attendance. Also present were Town Counsel Rick Hucksam and consultant Ralph Wilmer, a 40B specialist from the law firm of McGregor and Associates.
Herndon told those present that the board's consultant, David Ross and Associates, hired to resolve the survey contradictions, had just informed him that day that the survey provided by the developer, Walter Eriksen, was not a legal document. Apparently, it contained the stamp of approval by an engineering firm, and not a certified surveyor.
There are a number of different surveys on the record that offer conflicting information about the location of the easement on which the developer could build an access road to this property. The board must resolve this issue before it can proceed with the other details of the development. The board assured Eriksen that as soon as this opinion was received in writing, Eriksen could deal directly with the board's consultants to address this concern. It is expected that the consultant, Ross and Associates, will perform their own survey to resolve this issue.
Following last month's agreement, the developer handed a $5,000 check to the board to establish an escrow account for Ross' services in regard to the surveying question. If the project proceeds, the developer will deposit additional money for the costs of a general peer review of the entire development.
According to the Billerica Minuteman, the Billerica Selectmen voted unanimously to send a letter to the Carlisle Board of Appeals denying permission to use Estey Road as a way to provide access to the proposed 40B development off Maple Street in Carlisle. The paper said that the Selectmen were "firm that the road does not have sufficient width." The 18-foot-wide road was discussed in terms of access to the property or as an emergency access. Estey Road is not an accepted road in Billerica, and is not maintained by the town. The discussion took place following a request by Carlisle Town Counsel Hucksam for information on Estey Road.
As reported in the Mosquito last month, Hucksam told the Carlisle board that after researching the title Eriksen provided on the 4.37 acres, he concluded that the developer had an easement to this property, which includes improvement rights. However, this easement is not Estey Road, but instead a paper road called Carlisle Street. The location of this easement is under scrutiny, as it appears that part of this easement is in Billerica, and part is in Carlisle. The new survey, by consultant Ross and Associate, should determine the location of this easement.
As of last Thursday's meeting, the Carlisle board had not yet received this letter from the Billerica Selectmen, so no mention was made at the meeting of this correspondence.
The board acknowledged much correspondence had been received, as the audience last month was encouraged to submit in writing all relevant information, including other surveys that existed. Hucksam, in attendance for these hearings, had told the audience at the last hearing that the board can only act on information that has been put into the record. The large number of documents was probably in response to this statement.
© 2004 The