Friday, December 9, 2005
ConsCom orders road repair at Great Brook Estates
A Carlisle Conservation Commission enforcement order brought developer Ira Gould and four recent home buyers in Great Brook Estates to the Commission's December 1 meeting. Gould was present to declare his innocence of any violation of the Carlisle Wetland Protection Bylaw, while the homeowners were seeking relief from related inconveniences, both physical and legal. Great Brook Estates is a 10-lot subdivision/conservation cluster off Rutland Street, with one lot as yet undeveloped.
The contentious situation surfaced when Conservation Administrator Sylvia Willard became aware that base-coat road construction material had been removed from the subdivision road, Great Brook Path, where it leaves Rutland Street, crosses a bridge over a wetland and continues into the subdivision. Not only had this work resulted in potholes, puddles and mud, but it had been carried out after the Order of Conditions attached to the original Notice of Intent (NOI) to build had lapsed.
Gould insisted that an extension to his Order of Conditions approved by the Commission in the spring of 2003 had given him three years in which to complete all construction required under the original plan. Therefore he was not in violation. However, Commissioner Roy Watson pointed out that the Order of Conditions recorded at the Registry of Deeds and in the official ConsCom minutes that cover that hearing, specify a two-year grace period.
Still protesting, but admitting that he could not find his copy of the extension document, Gould proceeded to explain his reasons for removing the base coat from the bridge and roadway. He reported that Planning Board regulations prohibit installation of the final pavement coat until the developer files a Certificate of Compliance from the Conservation Commission at the Registry of Deeds. In the meantime, they had ordered him to correct a process of disintegration that was taking place on Great Brook Path caused by heavy truck traffic. Therefore, he was attempting to remedy that situation pending receipt of a Certificate of Compliance from ConsCom, for which he was about to apply.
When Chairman Tom Schultz asked for comments from the audience, Ken Fries of Great Brook Path appealed for corrective action, warning that, "We have a hazard at the end of our yard. We're afraid that traffic coming down the hill may skid into the kids waiting for the school bus." Peter Kirlin, of Tanglewood Way seconded Fries's concerns about the dangers to children posed by loose gravel and mud, and added, "I just closed on my property, and my attorney told me that the Order of Conditions, which also affects my lot, had lapsed. Obviously we all have reasons to want those conditions met as soon as possible." Two other homeowners from Tanglewood Way, a common drive that connects to the subdivision road, also stressed the safety issue and pleaded for "a reasonable solution."
Commissioner Tricia Smith outlined a possible approach that called first for the steps listed in the Enforcement Order to be completed, namely, restoration of the base coat on the road, checking that all required siltation barriers are operating correctly, cleaning out the catch basins and assuring that drainage conditions have been met. Secondly, since Gould had allowed the original NOI to lapse, he would have to submit a new NOI "for project completion." That document would address accomplishment of all work prescribed in the original NOI and its two year extension. A motion to that effect was passed unanimously, with Commissioner Kelly Stringham recusing herself, because she had been a tenant in the development for a brief period.
Finally, Gould was told that issuance of a Certificate of Compliance could occur only after a certified engineer provided a letter declaring that all work specified in the Orders of Conditions had been met, with particular emphasis on drainage system requirements. As for the homeowners, they were informed that the Certificate of Compliance would have to wait until both ConsCom and the Planning Board are satisfied that all legal requirements have been met.
© 2005 The