Friday, May 27, 2005
40B developer to purchase 13-acre Flannery land Owner disputes town claim that parcel is landlocked
"We have an agreement to purchase the Flannery land," announced Willard Perkins, president of Hearthstone Realty Corporation. Perkins, accompanied by associate Eric McCarthy, is building three 40B developments in North Andover and has chosen Carlisle for his next project. "We are here tonight to inform the Board of Selectmen of our intentions," said Perkins at the May 17 Selectmen's meeting.
The 13.05-acre Flannery parcel near the end of Baldwin Road has been the topic of controversy for many years as the owner, Walter Flannery, continues to argue that it abuts the Old Estabrook Road and is not landlocked as believed. Flannery's family has owned the land for 76 years and, according to Perkins, he has lived there for the past 50 years. That will all come to an end if the proposed sale and development comes to fruition.
The landlocked controversy arises from a claim by Walter Flannery that an ancient cart path that starts at the end of Baldwin Road, then crosses his own property, the town-owned Carr Conservation Land and finally the old Bartlett Farm off Bellows Hill Road is, in fact, a public way. Flannery has an easement off Baldwin Road to access the 13 acres which he owns. However, he does not have a road that would provide him with legal frontage. It was the opinion of the attorneys as reported in a letter to the Selectmen dated April 28, 1999, that they could find no evidence to support Flannery's contention. They noted further that the town, by vote of its 1970 Town Meeting, had discontinued all town ways other than those specifically listed in the Article as presented. The path in question was not noted.
In 1978, the Selectmen accepted a conservation restriction on the Bartlett Farm property that specifically prohibits the location of a town way across said property. The Carr Conservation Land in turn was acquired by the town in 1997 with a deed that contains no mention of a public road. In the meantime, Flannery has cut down brush and a tree on the land in order to facilitate passage of his truck to where he had caused a gate to be removed from the edge of Bartlett Farm property. The standoff continues.
Perkins unfolded a large map of the property that showed Old Estabrook Road winding its way from the end of Baldwin Road past the Flannery property and down toward its better-known segment in Concord. Perkins dismissed the fact that the depicted portion of the road was discontinued as a minor obstruction that can be summarily overturned in land court. "We think there is a road. We don't think it was discontinued for our purposes," he stated emphatically. Perkins identified 2.73 acres of wetland on the property and 10.3 acres of buildable upland. "We plan to build about two units per acre," he said. "The development could be partially affordable."
Several members of the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) attended the meeting, as well as former commissioner Ken Harte. Harte took exception to Perkins's statement that the discontinued portion of Estabrook Road was identified on some of the old maps of Carlisle. "They say 'to Estabrook Road,' which means that the discontinued portion is not the Estabrook Road," said Harte. Perkins brushed this off as a matter of opinion and restated that it will all be resolved in his favor in land court.
It was Perkins's demeaning reference to the adversarial relationship between Walter Flannery and the Conservation Commission that got ConsCom member John Lee's attention. He lambasted Perkins for making such an intemperate remark at a public meeting, using only hearsay from the landowner. Lee's forceful challenge caused Perkins to apologize for his inflammatory statement.
Chair Tim Hult admitted that the Selectmen were taken somewhat by surprise by the pending sale and would need some time to review all the history of the property. The meeting ended on a cordial note with everyone in the Clark Room wondering what the next move would be from Perkins and Flannery.
© 2005 The