The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 1, 2005


Costello proposes 15-lot conservation cluster on Cross Street

On June 21, Bill Costello appeared before the Planning Board with a proposal for a conservation cluster of 15 homes to be sited off Cross Street. If approved, this will be the largest Carlisle development in eight years. Under town bylaws, a conservation cluster allows a developer to add an additional lot by setting aside 30% of the parcel for open space deeded to the town. A special permit is required. There is no plan for affordable housing on the site.

A preliminary plan for a conservation cluster on Cross Street has been filed with the Planning Board. A house at 216 Cross Street will be demolished. The house at 231 Bingham Road is outside the parcel.

(Map adapted by Hal Shneider)

The plan includes three roads off Cross Street, providing common driveways (see map). David Freedman of the Planning Board said this configuration was viewed as preferable to 15 driveways emptying onto the street. He also noted that, "Costello met with neighbors quite a bit before presenting the plan" which sets housing lots away from the road and which includes a pathway easement connecting to Bingham Road. Some Cross Street neighbors appeared at the Planning Board session in support of the plan.

According to Planning Board Administrator George Mansfield, the Planning Board has some issues with the open-space plan. "The open space is in several different locations connected by narrow strips of land [see map]," says Mansfield. "The board needs to decide if it makes sense in terms of the goal of the bylaw to protect natural resources." The bylaw (5.5.1) sets out specific objectives for determining if a parcel is valuable for conservation, including:

• Preserve natural habitats,
• Expand areas for passive recreation,
• Encourage linkage of conservation land.

There is no wildlife corridor as adjacent land does not contain open space, though a trail easement to Bingham Road would allow walkers (and wildlife able to read a map) to walk a distance down Bingham and access Towle Field.

Another issue is the counting of common driveways into the calculation of open space. The board has asked Costello to reduce some lot sizes to fulfill the open space requirement. This may be difficult, as the entire parcel, at 47.3 acres, barely meets the minimum necessary to provide the 30% conservation cluster and the two-acre minimum per housing lot. "The space is very tight," says Mansfield. "[Costello] is clearly maximizing development of the parcel."

A site visit with Fire Department Deputy Chief White on June 22 also turned up a few concerns, according to Freedman. The driveway that ends in a cul-de-sac should have room for a turnaround, and a plan for cisterns must be addressed. In addition, road names, currently "Trillium," "Fieldstone Farm," and "Coppermine" will be reviewed for uniqueness to avoid confusion in emergencies, and with an eye toward using the same road names permanently. The name "Concord Crossing" proposed for the cluster may also be vetoed as potentially confusing.

A revised plan will be presented at the next Planning Board meeting, scheduled for July 18 at 7:45 p.m.

2005 The Carlisle Mosquito