The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 11, 2004


Carlisle Board of Health tackles range of water, air, septic issues

At its regular meeting on June 3, the Carlisle Board of Health (BOH) was confronted by a wide range of issues, all directed at protecting Carlisle's water, air, and the people that use them. From business licenses to dirty water to bad smells — it was a typical meeting.

Is a fitness center like an office?

Although many in town would welcome the opening of a Shapes Total Fitness Center at 1 River Road in Carlisle, health regulations at a local and state level may close the doors before they even can open. The site already has approval, dating back to 1941, to lease space for office use.

Chairman Martha Bedrosian asked the Carlisle Board of Health (BOH) to consider if a fitness center differs enough from office space so that "change of use that would increase water flow" would be a problem. Such a determination by the board would require a Title V inspection, an expense the property owner H. Larue Renfroe allegedly does not want to incur at this time, especially if either of the two septic systems supporting the site should fail the inspection.

"The guidelines are clear," said BOH member Mike Holland. "If there are more than 20 users, he [Renfroe] must have a license for a public water supply."

According to Carlisle resident Gail MacLeod, the proprietor of the proposed Shapes fitness center, the facility will not need to support that many members at the same time. She does not plan showers for the center, and her business will only access one of the two bathrooms at the site. MacLeod spoke of her discussions with personnel at a Shapes in Cambridge and her own experience at a Curves fitness center in Westford.

"People use bottled water and shower at home," MacLeod explained. Although the Shapes machines could support up to 20 users during the busiest early morning and early evening times, MacLeod believes the use of the onsite bathroom will be minimal. She feels people working during the day will rush home to shower to get to their office, or rush home after working out to be with their families. During the day, the facility will be less busy and will minimize the demand on the water supply.

Board members asked MacLeod to obtain more specific water-use data from existing fitness centers in neighboring towns. If the usage corresponds with current logs of a "business," then the site may not qualify as a change of use.

Also, the board will issue a request for more information about the size, capacity, and condition of the systems at 1 River Road.

Manure odors offend Brook

Street residents

For two years neighbors of Ted Vandusen's property have complained about odors coming from the property. Vandusen has been housing two horses on his property since a barn where they were boarded was sold. He tried to stockpile the manure, then turned to composting versus trucking the manure off his property. He admits he needs "a long-range plan" but says his workload is prohibitive for such an endeavor.

The Conservation Commission notified him that he needs to ascertain the location of wetlands on the property. In March the BOH reiterated the requirement, and ordered removal of the manure on a weekly basis. After Vandusen made the case that the ground was too wet for trucking out the refuse, he suggested composting instead. The BOH then requested a composting plan.

"You need to get the wetlands delineated right away so we can determine where the manure composting takes place," said Bedrosian. "Then you need to put together a manure composting plan. We need to know if you are doing what you said you would do."

The BOH requested that delineation of the wetlands be completed within ten days.

When is a camp not a camp?

The BOH, which must license out-of-town camps run in Carlisle, reviewed applications for two camps. Applicants for a third, the Middlesex Soccer Camp, requested postponement.

Agent Linda Fantasia summarized for the board that the first time a camp opens in Carlisle, a public hearing must be held to discuss water usage, waste issues and health requirements.

The Leading Edge Lacrosse Camp, operated by the Moreau family, originally from Concord, operates camps in New Jersey, and hopes to expand to Massachusetts in Belmont and Carlisle. The camp will run from July 5 through July 9, 9-12 a.m. at Spalding Field. Children from age 4 through the eleventh grade can participate. Participants will bring water bottles, and the field site already has portable units for waste. The Lacrosse camp plans to conduct a CORI review, and will provide evacuation procedures for a field in the event of inclement weather or disaster to satisfy outstanding BOH requirements for licensing.

Little Brook Farm, run by Barney Arnold of Lowell Road, has boarded horses and provided riding lessons for ten years. It already meets the stringent health and safety requirements required by the state and local laws for a stable that offers riding lessons.

Last year the stable ran a summer program, called the Little Brook Farm Day Camp, for current students and families. The program ran two weeks and involved riding, swimming in a baby pool and a horse show at the end of the session.

"The summer activities are just an extension of a riding-lesson program," said Arnold. "We use the word 'camp' loosely as just a 'fun' word."

The board stated that if the participants include only current students, and the number of attendees does not exceed four, the site would not require licensing as a camp. As such, Arnold cannot advertise the sessions as a 'camp.'

"It seems like over-regulation to me," said Arnold. Bedrosian replied, "If you fit the criteria of a camp, and we close our eyes to it, and a child gets hurt, the Town of Carlisle is liable."

Septic system advice and approvals

131 Virginia Farme. The board reiterated its April 29 decision to approve the new septic system, with a variance for distance to groundwater and a deed restriction prohibiting a garbage disposal.

330 Fiske Street. As no alternative location existed at the site, the board granted a waiver to reduce the minimum setback distance to wetlands to 53 feet, pending Conservation Commission approval.

684 East Street. Owners Steve and Charlene Hinton sought guidance on whether they could convert the space above a garage to a hobby area with a small bathroom. The building, 70 feet from the house, would access the existing septic system, a 1,400 gallon tank dating back to 1963. The board determined that if the home were restricted to three bedrooms, it would be possible to utilize the same tank. However, such a requirement would trigger a Title 5 inspection every three years. Board member Lisa Davis-Lewis said, "We cannot give a deed restriction without doing a Title 5 inspection."

88 Forest Park Drive. The board approved a revised septic plan, initially discussed at the May 14 hearing, granting a reduction in distance to groundwater from the required five feet to four, and a deed restriction disallowing a garbage disposal.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito