Friday, September 16, 2005
Billerica says "no" to Carlisle Woods 40B
Last week the Billerica Board of Appeals denied a 40B application submitted by developer Walter Ericson of Massapoag Real Estate Development to pave Carlisle Street. This is a Billerica road providing the only access to Carlisle Woods, a proposed 40B development which lies in Carlisle on the Billerica Line. Boards from both Carlisle and Billerica must approve the application for the project.
In March 2005 the Carlisle Board of Appeals (BOA) approved the 40B for Carlisle Woods, an eight-unit condominium including two affordable housing units on four-plus acres off Maple Street. However, with many questions and safety concerns unresolved, the Carlisle board attached an extensive list of conditions for the development.
According to the Billerica Minuteman, the Billerica board was concerned about a traffic report submitted by a town-appointed traffic engineer citing poor sight lines where Carlisle Street enters Treble Cove Road (Billerica)/ Maple Street (Carlisle). Without improvements to Treble Cove Road, board members felt the town and neighborhood had nothing to gain in approving the project.
Billerica has some flexibility to deny comprehensive permits because the town has a state-approved Affordable Housing Productivity Plan and has already met its yearly target for new affordable housing units.However,the developer can appeal the decision to the state Housing Appeals Court.
Similar concerns were voiced at hearings earlier in the year in Carlisle. The Carlisle Planning Board pointed out that Carlisle Street has a steep slope as it enters Treble Cove/Maple Street, without an adequate leveling off, so that cars could slide into the main road on icy days. Abutters to the development stated that the intersection is unsafe for children waiting for a school bus (see related letter, page 17).
Carlisle Fire Chief David Flannery submitted other concerns to the board. He said that Carlisle has the legal responsibility for fire protection on this property. Flannery stated that a 30,000 gallon cistern needs to be located within 100 feet of the Maple Street entrance, which is Billerica property, to be able to successfully fight a fire. In addition, emergency vehicles need access to the development, and a 50-foot radius turnaround is needed at the Estey Road (in Billerica) end of the project roadway.
A consulting engineer hired by the Carlisle Board of Appeals cited his concerns:
• storm water management, calculations and runoff from roads and roof, are not included;
• traffic sight lines do not meet Mass. highway standards;
• drainage on Maple Street from Treble Cove Road is not addressed;
• infiltration ditch, excavation trench filled with stone along road, not adequately addressed;
• intersection with Treble Cove Road needs a leveling out as the five percent slope is too dangerous;
• plan showing existing conditions of current typology and landscaping is inadequate.
Highlights of conditions
The following are highlights of the conditions specified in the BOA decision:
• No work can begin until detailed construction plans have been submitted to Carlisle Department of Public Works, Carlisle Fire Department and Carlisle Building Inspector, and have been approved.
• The BOA's peer review engineering firm shall review the design and construction of the entire roadway to assure the safety of the public and the residents of the project.
• The applicant shall construct a turnaround with a 50-foot radius at the Estey Road end of the project roadway, or smaller, if approved by the Fire Chief.
• The applicant shall install a pathway or sidewalk along Carlisle Street.
• A water cistern shall be required.
• A deed rider shall be attached to the two income-restricted units, so that these units be restricted in perpetuity to persons or families not earning more than 80% of the area medium income.
• There shall be local preference for applicants for these two units.
Chapter 40B is a state statute which permits developers to build higher density housing than allowed under local zoning bylaws if at least 25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions.
© 2005 The