Friday, September 3, 2004
Disappointed by consultants, CDP Committee presses on
Hurdles remain before the state will approve a breather for the town from the threat of congestion resulting from 40B affordable housing developments, despite diligent efforts for well over a year by the members of a Community Development Plan (CDP) Steering Committee.
The town's open space advocates and planners believe the purchase of the Benfield Parcel A, approved by a Special Town Meeting last March, will give them a temporary break, in the form of a one- or two-year moratorium on dealing with "comprehensive permits" for 40B subdivisions. Such developments, named for Chapter 40B, a state law that lets developers ignore local zoning and other restrictions for projects with more than 25% affordable housing units, have been the "monster under the bed" for Carlisle and surrounding towns for years. However, more requirements remain for the town to fill before the state will approve the moratorium, most urgently developing an "approvable plan" for affordable housing, naming specific goals, housing sites and any changes to land-use regulations that might be required.
In January 2003 a $30,000 state grant allowed the Planning Board to hire consultants Carol Thomas of Thomas Planning Services and Ezra Glenn of McGregor & Associates to develop a community development plan. According to co-chair David Freedman, the CDP Committee hoped that work would result in such an approvable plan.
But over a year later, despite months of effort by the committee, a well-attended community planning day and two smaller focus groups in March and June of 2003, the town is left with "an incomplete draft report on housing" from the consultant, according to Freedman. The CDP has refused to authorize payment of "about a third" of the total amount of the contract.
The CDP committee members — David Freedman, Louise Hara and George Mansfield of the Planning Board, Tricia Smith of the Conservation Commission, Art Milliken of the Carlisle Land Trust, Jack Bromley of the Housing Authority, and Caren Ponty of the Community Preservation Committee — have not given up.They have developed "a comprehensive table of housing strategies for Carlisle" and plan to conduct another housing focus group, specifically aimed at identifying additional parcels as possible locations to develop affordable housing. They hope to present the results of their efforts to the selectmen late this fall.
More on Mosquito web siteResponding to the Mosquito's questions about the status of the project, Freedman has provided an update on the process for far and the committee's expectations for work this fall.
© 2004 The