The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, February 4, 2005


Decision on Maple Street 40B extended to end of February

The Board of Appeals is inching toward a decision on the 40B application by Massapoag Real Estate Development, still called Carlisle Woods. The eight-unit development, including two affordable housing units, located on four-plus acres off Maple Street, with an access road which lies mainly in Billerica,has been under a tight timetable. The state gave Carlisle 90 days to come to a decision, with extensions only possible by agreement with the developer.

In the last meeting, developer Walter Ericson agreed to a second extension. The board now has until the end of February to craft a decision with conditions.

Board Chair Cindy Nock opened the January 27 meeting by reviewing correspondence from other boards. The Conservation Commission wrote the board that they were concerned about the storm water overflow onto the adjoining Greenough conservation land, and wanted a peer review of that issue. Jesse Jackson of David Ross and Associates, peer reviewer of this project, commented that drainage will be redesigned.

Abutters to this project have been active since the beginning, raising questions, doing research and providing the board with packets of information at every meeting. Abutter Ed Rolfe made some specific requests, asking that the conditions for this permit include a fire cistern, placing the sidewalk and walkway on far side of access road, away from his bedroom windows, and limiting lighting and sidewalks as they are not consistent with Carlisle developments.

Economic issues

There continue to be many outstanding issues, and the board has discussed placing many conditions on this development. Because this project has Mass Housing approval, the town cannot condition the project so that it becomes uneconomic for the developer. If the developer feels the conditions make the project uneconomic, he can appeal to Mass Housing and the BOA conditions can be overturned.

The town board has questioned Ericson on the economic basis for this development — costs of development, engineering, sales, etc. The matter that returns again and again is the cost of the land to the developer, and here there is a major disagreement. As reported earlier, the town has assessed this land at $20,000, because according to Carlisle bylaws, it has been unbuildable with no frontage in Carlisle. In addition, Town Counsel Hucksam has reported that the law in this case clearly states the value of the land cannot be the new value with a comprehensive permit. Attorney Harrington, who represents the builder reiterated that this was not the case because he believes the land is buildable without the permit. There is no agreement on this issue.

Jeannie Geneczko of Maple Street, concerned with possible overstatement of the developer's costs, presented information on the identity of interests, the developer's close ties to many different companies. Abutter George Vendura also gave the board a packet on the analysis of hidden profit in this project.

Access over Billerica roads

The matter of the access road is another area of concern to the board. Most of the road is in Billerica, and Carlisle has limited input into decisions regarding the road. However, as board member Hal Sauer said, "To put a development in Carlisle without a proper roadway is an anathema." The board would want to see the road with a binder made before building can begin.

The concerns of the fire chief remain. The developer has told the board that he would be unable to build the turn- around in the cul-de-sac that Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery has requested. Ericson told the board that to do so would eliminate two units. However, he plans to build two T-turns to the specifications that he received from the chief. Board member Terry Herndon asked, "If the chief needs a turn-around, why not buy more land to build the road with the turn-around?"

Alternative septic technology

Discussion for the first time of an alternative septic system took place, with the engineer for the developer, Stephen Ericson, proposing the "FAS System," an alternative technology. This technology allows for an increase of bedrooms per acre of land. The Board of Health has jurisdiction over all Title 5 issues and Board of Health spokesperson Linda Fantasia said that such a system was approved for provisional use, and questioned whether it is approved for general use. She said, "If they go with alternative technology, they can never go back to regular Title 5." She also told the board that the system required a blower and there is an odor, so that siting is an issue.

Ericson assured the board it was a better system than the regular septic system. He said that this technology has been around for thirty years, although only approved for use more recently. Jackson said that, "If the system is well maintained, it is a good systemYou need to stay on the owners, you need four reports a year, need to keep up, can't let it slip through the cracks." He commented that unless monitoring and maintenance are done, the conventional system is better.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito