The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 3, 2004


Task Force takes another look at location of playing field

Narrowing the 13 options for developing housing and a playing field on the town-owned Benfield Land as presented two weeks ago by architect John Winslow may not sound hard but for the Benfield Task Force, it represents real progress.

At the November 23 Task Force meeting, after site walks by the task force, abutters, and Winslow, all arrived at the conclusion that the smaller the footprint the better the solution. This means locating the playing field close to the stone wall and the housing close to the playing field. (See map.) This tight clustering of the field and housing will minimize disruption to the area, provide better buffers for abutters, link passive and active recreation fields for town residents, and enhance the view out over the fields for the housing units. It may even have some cost advantages.

Map adapted by Hal Shneider
The Task Force will also continue to explore a location for the field closer to South Street since it is the fallback option presented at the Town Meeting last March. Opposition by South Street abutters, however, has all but eliminated this location. As Task Force Chair John Ballantine pointed out, "Essentially, we must make the case for any options we recommend at the January public meetingcost, aesthetics, abutters' opinions."

While giving direction to Winslow for location and housing layout for the next design iteration was the focal point of the meeting, the group also discussed the Indian stones found on the site, the process for blocking the flood of 40B applications, and the time line for the project.

"My meeting with Doug Harris, the Narragansett tribal representative, was fascinating," said Task Force representative Ray Kubacki. "Harris said the pattern of the Indian stones indicates the presence of a ceremonial landscape the Narragansetts once shared with other tribes." The tribe is completing a report on the area and will provide it to Carlisle in early December. According to Kubacki, Harris was cooperative and seemed to think the project could be built around the stones.

Phyllis Zinicola said, "To block 40B applications, we must apply to the ZBA (Massachusetts Zoning Board Authority) with a comprehensive permit for the project." This should be possible as early as the fall of 2005. With this permit under way, Carlisle should be able to minimize developer interest.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito