The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, December 17, 2004


Consultants, boards advise BOA on Maple Street 40B

The application for a 40B development off Maple Street proposes to build eight housing units on three lots, designated as 18, 19 and 20, with a combined area of 4.37 acres. Carlisle Street and Carlisle Place are private roads. The developer claims he has an easement for access to Maple Street via Carlisle Street. (Map adapted by Hal Shneider)
The 40B development known as Carlisle Woods again topped the agenda of the Board of Appeals on December 9. Present were representatives from Ross Associates, the engineering firm that the town is relying on for a peer review of the Massapoag Development proposal to site eight houses on 4.37 landlocked acres off Maple Street in Carlisle. The developer has claimed he has an easement from Billerica and is applying to both towns for the necessary variances.

Access through Billerica

Michael Martarello from Ross told the board that he reviewed the town line location on a survey dated October 18, 2004 sent by developer Walter Eriksen. "The town line is accurately shown on the most recently shown survey," he confirmed. "Some property lines were indicated as approximate, and prior to construction a tightening up should be done."

Board member Hal Sauer queried Martarello if this "confirms that most of the access road is still in Billerica?" Martarello agreed. The location of the access road in Billerica is most troublesome to the board, as there are many outstanding safety issues regarding access to the property by the Carlisle Fire Department.

Fire Department concerns

Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery submitted some of his concerns to the board. He said that Carlisle has the legal responsibility for fire protection on this property. The builder's lawyers, Harrington and Son, suggested that Billerica has a hydrant right by the property and a fire station less than a mile from the proposed development and would be able to provide protection. Fire chiefs from both towns agreed that there is a mutual aid agreement between the two towns, but Flannery insisted that Carlisle is the responsible town.

Flannery stated that a 30,000 gallon cistern needs to be located within 100 feet of the Maple Street entrance, which is Billerica property, to be able to successfully fight a fire. The developer said that in order to build it near Maple Street the town would have to get permission from Billerica. He offered to build it on his property, within Carlisle. However, placement so far from the main road would be a problem for the Carlisle Fire Department. The board asked that the builder meet with the Fire Chief to resolve the placement of the cistern and other outstanding issues.

Consultants identify issues

Jesse Johnson, another engineer from Ross Associates, gave the board a review of the preliminary plans submitted for the Carlisle Woods development. Some of his concerns were as follows:

• storm water management,(calculations and run off from roads and roof ), not included;
• traffic sight lines dodn't meet Mass highway standards;
• drainage on Maple Street from Treble Cove Road aren't addressed;
• infiltration ditch, excavation trench filled with stone along road, not adequately addressed;
• intersection with Treble Cove Road needs a leveling out as the five percent slope is too dangerous;
• plan showing existing conditions of current typology and landscaping is inadequate.

Johnson told the board that the developer had already responded to some of his concerns, and has agreed to provide additional plans within the week.

Boards offer comments

The Planning Board had been asked to make recommendations to the BOA on this development. Planning Board Chair Louise Hara reported that their concerns were similar to Johnson's: the run-off of storm water onto Maple Street, the steep slope of the road without an adequate leveling off so that cars would not slide into the main road on icy days, sight lines along the street, a bus turn around for school children, run-off to properties on the backside of the houses, and the concerns of the Fire Chief.

The Board of Health pointed out that the applicant had not applied for a septic permit, and that the applicant would have to be in compliance with Title 5. Associate Town Counsel Richard Hucksam told the board that the applicant can apply for this before or after the BOA decision.

Monitoring 20% profit limits

Board member Terry Herndon reminded those present that a 40B project is limited to a profit of 20%. The developer's lawyers, Harrington and Son told the board that Eriksen would agree to pay for a brief review of the financials that the board had requested at their last meeting. This pro forma review will be done by a 40B expert who is assisting the town on this development.

However, the developer will not pay for an independent appraisal of the property, as was discussed at the last meeting. The board is unclear as to the value of the land. The developer claims that his cost is $500,000, but it is assessed only at $15,000, because it is deemed unbuildable by the town. At the last meeting the board was told by town lawyer Hucksam, "Under state law regulations, the value of the land can't reflect the value of the permit."

Whether the cost is a million or $15,000 is significant. Ralph Wilmer, who is a 40B expert from the law firm of McGregor and Associates who is advising the BOA on the economics of the project, said, "Acquisition cost is one piece of the picture. . . You can't impose conditions to make the site uneconomic. If a project is approved you need to monitor for financial accounting. If project makes more than the 20%, the excess profit goes to the town for more affordable housing."

The hearing continues on December 22.

Elizabeth Ridge Road

In other business, the board granted a variance to Durga and Lakshmi Rao, of 45 Elizabeth Ridge Road, to build an additional two car garage, which would allow them a total of three garages. The Raos need to house a large handicap-equipped van and presently their garages are too small. One of the existing bays in the present two car garage, would be turned into a mud room, and the Raos would extend existing space so that the house can accommodate a care-giver.

The variance was necessary because the garage would be within the 40-foot set back from the property line.

Present at the meeting was abutter Gordon Banister, of 19 Elizabeth Ridge, who told the board he was not opposed to the additional garage, as long as it doesn't detract from the property. He told the board that Rao agreed to put some trees and landscaping between the two properties.

The board asked if the garage could be put elsewhere, but were told that alternate sites are occupied by the existing septic system or wetlands.

2004 The Carlisle Mosquito