Friday, November 18, 2005
Freedman clarifies remarks
To the Editor:
Contrary to the reporting in "Revisiting Gould v. Board of Appeals," the original decision of the BOA did not refer to the 50% limit specified in the zoning bylaw. Also overlooked was the bylaw's applicability only to extensions or enlargements of existing structures. Hence the Planning Board's objection to the decision, one in which the BOA ignored its own regulations by ruling without requiring any details of the existing or proposed structures.
The modified decision was an attempt to address the 50% limit, but still ignored the problem of the proposed tear-down. The BOA expressed concern that denying the application might lead to a lawsuit or a 40B. Unfortunately, by muddying an already flawed decision with the introduction, on advice of counsel, of new evidence after having closed the hearing, the BOA virtually invited the lawsuit they supposedly hoped to avoid.
I am distressed the BOA has apparently chosen expediency in settling this suit over their duty to apply bylaws. The newly modified decision allows a new structure "not to exceed 3600 square feet exclusive of the unfinished attic and cellar." Strangely, the BOA included unfinished space in their reference to the original structure and excluded it from the requirements for the new structure. Thus, applying a bylaw with a 50% limit on enlargements, they have granted a special permit for a house that may have more than 400% of the living space of the original.
Ironically the BOA ruled on a similarly non-conforming lot before ruling on Gould's. They allowed a homeowner, previously limited by the BOA to a 50% extension, to screen in a porch as long as it included no heating or plumbing. Town counsel stated that each case is judged on its own merits. Apparently the threat of a lawsuit merits more than the bylaw itself.
Whether or not it was the original intent of two-acre zoning, Carlisle's bylaws are critical to maintain what remains of its housing diversity. Issues with the bylaws should be addressed by Town Meeting. In the meantime, they should be applied fairly and consistently.
[Ed note: Freedman is Chair of the Planning Board.]
Local TV station explores varied topics
To the Editor:
"Speak Out!" is an exciting new series on Public Access Cable, Channel 8, for the Concord/Carlisle area. Topics of local interest will be covered. This week and next Speak Out! will present "Veil of Deception" - a half- hour video on the effects in Massachusetts of the new form of marriage. Following is a panel discussion with area residents describing their own experiences. This program will air on Tuesday, November 22, at 7 p.m. and on Wednesday, November 23, at 11 a.m. The following week Speak Out! will present a panel discussion of four local moms and what caused them to become activists.
In the works is a program on the National Writing Board (a professional service based in Sudbury), founded in 1998, which has now given independent, unbiased assessments, with two Readers, of high school history papers from 30 states and two Canadian provinces. Each author has been sent a three-page report, with scores and comments. These results with the paper may be sent to college admissions officers. The program has been endorsed by 38 top colleges and universities.
The Channel 8 schedule can be found on the TV at certain times. I found it in the morning. The schedule is also posted at www.concordtv.org Speak Out! will regularly air on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. and on Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
Sally J. Naumann
© 2005 The