Friday, August 13, 2004
Closer to 40B compliance than we think?
To the Editor:
Under the 40B Comprehensive Permit Law, a town is required to meet one of two statutory minima before it can be considered in compliance. Priscilla Stevens' article of July 30th underscored only one of the two allowed metrics for measuring compliance, namely that 10% of a town's total housing units be listed as subsidized housing. This infamous metric often overshadows the second allowed metric that states if 1.5% of the total land area of a town is dedicated to low and moderate incoming housing, then the town shall also then be considered in compliance. Referred to as the "general land area minimum," this often overlooked aspect of the 40B law, when achieved, would allow the ZBA greater latitude in its decision-making process. The alternative general land area minimum stipulates that certain categories of land not be included when calculating compliance. For example, roads, water bodies, land owned by the town, the United States or the Commonwealth are to be deducted from the town's gross land area.
The town of Carlisle consists of approximately 9,913 acres with approximately 20% generally referenced as conservation land. Without deducting additional land from this calculation, as would be allowed by the law, Carlisle must dedicate, with reasonable occupancy density, only 119 acres in order to be considered in compliance with 40B using this alternative method. As an aside, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs reported in 2001 that there remained only 2,300 developable, unconstrained acres within Carlisle. The town would do well to understand its position with respect to compliance as measured using either allowed method. For example, the recently dismissed Carlisle Woods comprehensive permit application for a 40B development off Maple Street on the Billerica town line states that Carlisle currently has 48 acres dedicated to subsidized housing. On the assumption that the afore-mentioned 119 acres value could be further reduced by the inclusion of additional deductible land and that the Carlisle Woods values are accurate and defensible, we may find that we are closer to 40B compliance than expected.
Courtesy is appreciated
To the Editor:
Visitors to our Historical District will notice a new addition to the front of 18 Westford Street, a sign for the Mr. Handyman office located there. The Historical Commission, which is charged with passing on applications for alterations to buildings within the District, wishes to express its thanks to Mike Symonds, the proprietor of Mr. Handyman, for his courtesy and cooperation in connection with his request to hang the sign. Due to requirements of his franchise, Mike originally asked the Commission to approve a bright red sign that matched the Mr. Handyman logo. Mike worked very hard to address the Commission's concerns that the sign would not be appropriate for the District, going so far as to obtain approval of a modification to the standard logo. Although the Commission had put Mike in a bit of a spot, he was courteous and cooperative thoughout, and it was a pleasure working with him. Mike also demonstrated a genuine interest in preserving the character of the District. Those of us who want the District to remain a place of which we all can be proud owe him a debt of gratitude.
David B. Chaffin, Chairman
Carlisle Historical Commission
Truth in advertising
To the Editor:
When is an "Estate Sale" not an estate sale? The answer seems to be when it is held in Carlisle under "Carlisle Rules." From what I've read about estate sales they were defined as the sale of the property and personal effects of the deceased by the heirs after they had taken whatever they wanted. Hired help handled the sale. So, I attended an estate sale held in Carlisle in the basement garage on Saturday, July 31. It was well advertised at the center traffic circle and along Route 225. I soon learned that several of the tables of goods actually belonged to the dealers running the sale. That's a Flea Market sale.
Once I'd selected a couple of items and had negotiated a price, I had a real surprise. Suddenly, a woman around 35 rushed up and snatched a small basket I'd selected and said, "I'm not giving that away. I've had that basket since I was a little girl." The dealer responded, "I guess you cannot have that basket as a part of the deal." If this woman lived at the house, I was also at a classic yard sale. The Japanese print I did buy came from a house in Concord according to the dealer who owned it. I never did find the estate sale in that basement although I know some of the items must have been in the estate. Perhaps the morals of this tale can be summarized as: life is full of surprises and if the sign will hold still long enough, you can print anything on it but that doesn't make it so. Welcome to Carlisle.
Frederick A. Liberatore
Liberty Drive, North Billerica
© 2004 The