The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 6, 2005

Eugenia Harris candidate for Housing Authority

To the Editor:

I'd like to introduce myself as a candidate for the Carlisle Housing


I'm a software engineer by profession and have lived in Carlisle since 1996. My long-time boyfriend David Nicewicz is a farmer in Bolton.

I became interested in the town's housing issues when the proposal to purchase the Benfield property first came to light, though I've had a general interest in housing — architecture in particular — for much longer. I have been following the work of the Benfield Planning Task Force and attending meetings of the Housing Authority since last summer, and have been impressed with the immense amount of effort that's been expended in working out the myriad issues involved.

I expect we're all aware by now that the state insists that 10% of the town's total housing stock be affordable and that Benfield alone will not get us to that goal. Regardless of one's personal views on the issue, the fact is that we will provide affordable housing one way or another. Either we cede control to private developers, or we take a more pro-active approach and try to provide this housing ourselves. Most likely we'll end up with some combination or mingling of the two.

Funding is a huge challenge. Carlisle's property taxes are among the highest in the state and many people in town are already finding it hard to meet this obligation. A worthwhile goal of providing affordable housing is to achieve greater diversity. But we're already a diverse group and it would be an unconscionable waste to drive out existing residents through the imposition of higher taxes, effectively exchanging our existing diversity profile for a new one, at great expense.

We'll have to be creative to achieve our affordable housing goals while at the same time maintaining the character of the town. I see some hope in the fact that we're not alone and that all Massachusetts towns are facing these same dilemmas. There are good ideas out there and we can benefit from the experience of others. I hope to be able to make some contribution to this effort.

Eugenia Harris
South Street

Affordable housing construction will be costly

To the Editor:

I am continually fascinated by the ongoing discussions and planning for the Benfield Land project.

Two weeks ago, an article in the Mosquito discussed the Conservation Commission's potential reservations about the alternative known as Plan B, describing in some detail the likely impact on wetlands and the Spencer Brook reservation. Since the Conservation Commission is well known as an active enforcer of the various federal, state, and local ordinances which control development or modification in any area within its jurisdiction, I was very surprised when your article in the April 29 Mosquito made no mention of the issue. Perhaps the Conservation Commission will weigh in on the proposed development prior to Town Meeting.

I was even more surprised to learn that the current estimates for continued development of the property exceed $7,700,000 and that none of the development costs have been presented to the voters for approval. I am willing to wager that this estimate is on the low side, since development is still quite a while in the future.

It appears to me that the purchase of the Benfield Land may have been rushed through the approval process, without consideration of the complete costs to the town. I truly hope that a detailed airing of all the issues surrounding the development of this property, including complete development costs, future town commitments for services, and potential community liabilities, be raised before any vote is scheduled. While I appreciate the hard work of many committee members, I don't believe that the complete picture is being adequately communicated to the taxpayers who will have to shoulder the burdens of the current proposals.

Kyle O. Price
Hartwell Road

Donors thanked

To the Editor:

To all participants of the Massachusetts School on Wheels Donation Drive, the Carlisle Boy Scouts would like to thank you for your contributions towards the Massachusetts School on Wheels program. This program enhances educational opportunities to homeless children by providing new backpacks and school supplies.

It is really nice and appreciated to live in a community where so many people care about less fortunate people. This kindness and generosity of the Carlisle residents and others visiting was expressed during the backpack and school supply drive held Saturday, April 30, at Ferns Country Store and the Carlisle Transfer Station.

Jason L. Drinkwater
Carlisle Boy Scouts Senior Patrol Leader
Fiske Street

Citizen concerned about Rep. Atkins voting

To the Editor:

It is sometimes difficult to determine whether our state representatives have our best interests at heart. For example, I learned this week that Democratic lawmakers in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, including Cory Atkins, proposed a state budget that is $500 million more than Governor Romney's budget and fails to include the Mass. income tax rollback that Concord citizens voted for.

We voted in a statewide referendum to roll taxes back by less than a percentage point. I know that may not sound like much extra money for some,but for many of us it's the difference that could allow us to put a few dollars in the bank for a child's college tuition or for the many seniors struggling to pay spiraling real-estate taxes.

Right before Cory Atkins was re-elected this year, I remember a few of her debates where she strongly stated that she shares our values and will represent us on Beacon Hill. If this is representing "us," then who is "us?" It seems to me that this issue makes it evident that our interests are not being represented accurately by Representative Atkins. Where are our tax cuts?

Susan Deisenroth
Minuteman Drive

ConsCom action praised

To the Editor:

Solid job by the Carlisle Conservation Commission to deny Lemonias Development a Notice of Intent to clear and build on Lot 3 Koning Farm Road. My suggestion to Lemonias would be to show a little more pride and to spend a little more money on architectural plans for a structure that fits the lot instead of "fighting" to "jam" a structure too close to the wetlands. Who knows — in the long run the developer might even make a few extra bucks by building a more esthetically pleasing house than a cookie cutter.

Billy Glazier
Kimball Road

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito