The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 5, 2004


Benfield Parcels B and C inch closer to Planning Board approval

The Carlisle Planning Board opened public hearings on Northland Residential Corporation's dual applications for Common Driveway Special Permits for Parcels B and C of the Benfield family properties off West and South Streets months ago. As the hearing continued on October 25, Northland's engineer Rob Gemma appeared frustrated with the process. After considering certain requests of the Carlisle Fire Department, "I can see this being a volleyball match," he said.

(Map adapted by Hal Shneider)

An October 23 letter from Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery included concerns about the piping installation process and driveway widths. Gemma and Northland president Frank Stewart appeared to be trying to walk a tightrope between pleasing the board and unduly delaying their development. "The last think I want is to be an adversarial position with the board that needs to bless this," said Stewart. "Any town would be very happy with [what Northland has proposed for the driveways]," Gemma said.

Parcels B and C, which together contain 104 acres, have been approved for eight home sites, with all structures to be set back at least 300 feet from West and South Streets, both designated as scenic town roads. Off-road access has been limited to one common driveway per parcel. One of the driveways, located at 967 West Street, is slated to be called Apple Grove Lane and the other, adjacent to 894 West Street, will be Hobblebush Lane. Both names have been approved by the Carlisle Police Chief.

Adjacent Parcel A, which was purchased by the town at the 2004 Spring Town Meeting, consists of 45 acres to be developed as affordable housing and recreation, with 24 acres of open space.

The driveway issue, which far exceeded its 7:45 to 9 p.m. time slot, ended with Planning Board chair Louise Hara saying she thought the Planning Board was ready to draft approvals with appropriate conditions for both applications, but she left the Public Hearing open on both applications. Stewart apologized to the audience and any applicants who were waiting to be heard before the board for taking up so much time. "It's important we get this right," he said.

A second issue was whether the Parcel C driveway ("Hobblebush Lane") was to have a cul-de-sac turnaround or a "Y" type turnaround. Northland had first proposed a "Y" turnaround, which had raised concerns of the fire chief. In his letter, Flannery wrote: "I want to again reiterate the department's need for a circle, with a 50 foot centerline turning radius, at the end of all common driveways over 300 feet in length. This is necessary to safely and efficiently turn our apparatus around under emergency conditions at all times of the year."

Stewart agreed to the cul-de-sac turnaround after discussion and, in the end, actually asked the Board to require the cul-de-sac.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito