The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 4, 2005

Ballantine will not seek third term

To the Editors:

I will not run for a third term on the Board of Selectmen. After 18 years of elected and appointed positions on town boards and committees (Housing, Personnel, Finance, Selectmen, Municipal Land) it is time for me to take an official break.

The boards, committees, and volunteer organizations are an essential part of our town. And I believe that stepping back is part of our vitality — we need both perspective and engagement. To me, Carlisle has always been open to new people, new ideas, and new perspectives. We need new energy and new volunteers on many of the town boards.

If you read the town reports and Mosquito over the past 30 years, you will see that the challenges of the town are strikingly the same. Conservation, schools, taxes, affordable housing, growth, town services, and a sense of community. Clearly, we will continue to debate and address these issues as best we can over the coming years.

I have learned a great deal and gained a tremendous amount of satisfaction from my service on town committees. Carlisle is fortunate to have such committed, passionate and hard-working volunteers and employees. It has been a pleasure to work with almost everyone.

As I take leave from town government, it is ironic that my wheel has come full turn. In 1986, I began working on affordable housing issues confronting the town. Progress has been slow. Over the coming years, I plan to work with housing not-for-profits so that Carlisle has the opportunity to manage its development pressures. The 4OBs are here, and I feel that we must respond proactively if we are to preserve our sense of Carlisle.

Finally, I encourage everyone to become part of town government and the community. Run for office, volunteer; meet your fellow Carlislians. I have found it a rewarding and special experience. a truly unique opportunity.

John Ballantine

Fiske Street

Carlisle Woods 40B unsafe and should be denied

To the Editor:

Safety is one of the few conditions [where] a denial of a 40B is upheld by the state. The Carlisle ZBA [Zoning Board of Appeals] is poised to approve the Carlisle Woods 40B application in spite of the very strong 2/23/05 recommendation of the Planning Board that there are "significant, perhaps insurmountable, safety concerns..." concerning the access road to this property and the developer's admission that he cannot modify the grade of the access road (which would make it safe). The Planning Board goes on to say that "this fact alone should lead the Board of Appeals to deny the application." Again, safety is one of the few conditions a denial of a 40B is upheld by the state. If the BOA approves this application even though it is unsafe, it will set a dangerous precedent for the town and citizens of Carlisle.

Jeannie Geneczko
Maple Street

Move forward on affordable housing

To the Editor:

I support town-directed affordable housing.

These days, every time my car hits the "bump by the dump" on Lowell Street near the stalled 40B development, I am reminded of the horrors that unsympathetic 40B development will inflict upon our unique town.

I am reminded of the many chances to take control of the affordable housing agenda that have passed us by in recent years.

I am reminded of the NIMBY keening of the Rockland Road neighbors when housing was proposed for the Conant Land a few years ago.

I am reminded of those who argue against the Community Preservation Act.

I am reminded of the protests of the Benfield neighbors at last year's Town Meeting, and the arguments of those reflexively opposed to affordable housing, even though each unit we build will save the impact of three more on the town. We need to build this project.

I am reminded, of course, of the scar on the landscape at the Lowell Street site where a paltry number of affordable units might get built.

I am reminded of the respected real estate person, who, at the same Town Meeting, assured us that water and septic issues (and I'm paraphrasing) would prevent more than one or two really big developments being built here.

I am definitely reminded of the anger and resentment I and many townspeople feel about the outrageous Concord Street plan. I have news for the real estate person: one of these is too much.

Concord Street proves the urgency of the situation. Perhaps we should be grateful that the developer has chosen such an obtrusive scheme to motivate us.

The question is: will we watch 600 housing units be built when 150 are required? In this community, it's a huge difference.

Forget about the "not in my backyard" stuff. This is in everybody's front yard now, and it is time to answer the doorbell.

Let us devote our energy to intelligent planning of Carlisle's future and then show up and vote for it.

P.S. I hope we are holding the builder accountable to fix the bump

Mark Levitan
Wolf Rock Road

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito