Friday, January 6, 2006
2005: Carlisle celebrated its past and prepared for the future
Carlisle's major events in 2005 included the bicentennial, the construction of a school wastewater treatment plant after a 10-year delay, a large housing development planned for Concord Street, and the retirement of Chief David Galvin after serving 26 years on the Carlisle Police Force. At year's end the Selectmen appointed Acting Chief John Sullivan as Galvin's permanent replacement. Carlisle residents joined nationwide relief efforts to help victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in the southern U.S.The hurricanes also spurred interest in improving local emergency preparedness.
· A new 40B development was proposed for Concord Street by Bruce Wheeler and Mark O'Hagen of Habitech Development LLC. Wheeler built the Buttrick Woods development off Concord Street. Original plans called for 66 housing units on the 23-acre site. Chapter 40B is a state statute which permits developers to build higher density housing than allowed under local zoning if at least 25% of the units are affordable.
· After much public debate and 18 drafts over three years, the Board of Health adopted new manure management regulations. It was the first major overhaul of the regulations since 1987. Initially the BOH explored comprehensive regulations that would have required complex written manure management plans as well as stiff fees for licensing and inspections. The final form of the new regulations emphasizes simplicity, education and guidance.
· Stones on the town-owned Benfield Land were seen as possible Native American ceremonial structures. Doug Harris, Deputy Tribal Preservation Officer of the Narragansett Tribe, said "over 60 ceremonial structures have been identified," and asked that any future construction leave the sites undisturbed.
· The celebration of the town's bicentennial got underway. The Carlisle Historical Society published a new book containing 208 photos spanning the years 1860 - 1950, titled, Images of America: Carlisle.
· Carlisle's Fire Department ranked last in a Boston Globe survey of response times, compared to full-time fire departments in the region. While Fire Chief David Flannery admits that Carlisle's less expensive, on-call force sometimes takes two or three minutes longer to arrive, he noted that our 27-man force has unusual depth, and "within 15 minutes we can have 15 firefighters on the scene."
· Zoning Board of Appeals approved Carlisle Woods, a controversial eight-unit 40B development. The 4.37-acre parcel is near Maple Street, but the established road frontage is on a street in the abutting town of Billerica.
· Liz Jewell of Curve Street stepped down after eight years as Director of the Council on Aging. Beth Winn was appointed to replace her.
· The CCHS girls cross-country team were Dual County League champions. In fencing, the girls team posted an undefeated season and won the state tournament.
· Julien Taverner of Wildwood Drive moved his family back to England, unexpectedly closing his famous Haley and Steele Art Gallery on Newbury Street in Boston and his new branch gallery at 1 River Road in Carlisle.
· The Carlisle School senior band and CCHS concert band won gold medals at the Mass. Instrumental and Choral Conductors Association (MICCA) festival.
· Three Sandhill Cranes touched down on Hutchins Field on April 7 and local birders flocked to watch the large migrating birds with 80-inch wingspans.
· The largest permanent conservation restriction in Carlisle's history protected 133 acres in the western part of town. Frank Stewart of Northland Residential and the Benfield family worked with the Carlisle Conservation Foundation to preserve the open space and establish trail easements.
· CCHS released the accreditation report of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. The report praised the quality of the education and recommended improvements, mostly to the aging school buildings.
· The Carlisle Education Foundation and The Freeman Foundation sent four Carlisle School faculty members on a two-week tour of China, where they visited homes and schools along with 24 other teachers from Massachusetts.
·The Board of Health expanded from three to five members.
·The School Building Committee (SBC) received new lower bids for a wastewater treatment plant, after changing the proposed site from the wooded hill between the school and Spalding Field to a new site on the Banta-Davis Land off Bedford Road. Voters approved funding in the fall of 2003. The school septic field failed the state Title 5 inspection in 1996, and had been pumped every six to eight weeks ever since. An abutter's lawsuit, changes in state regulations, and a lengthy permitting and bidding process dragged the project out for nearly ten years.
·Jane Coleman Williams of Maple Street was appointed Director of the Council on Aging when Beth Winn resigned after serving only two months. Williams has lived in Carlisle for seven years and holds a doctorate in counseling.
·Town Meeting, Part one, approved all articles. The FY06 operating budget of $19.6 million had an overall increase of 4.4% over FY05. Due to increases in state aid and one-time reimbursements, the rise in the average tax bill was lowered to 1.9%. An additional 1.3 million was voted for the school wastewater treatment plant. The school received authorization to spend $50,000 for a new master plan for possible school renovation and expansion. Voters decided to switch from semi-annual to quarterly tax billing for an annual estimated savings to the town of $25,000.
· John Ballantine took a breather from public service after serving 18 years on town boards and committees, most recently on the Board of Selectmen. John Williams and Bill Tice were elected to the Board of Selectmen. The third candidate for the two openings, Alan Carpenito was not far behind, as votes split 425, 381, and 324, respectively. In the only other contested race, Susan Stamps was elected to a three-year term on the Carlisle Housing Authority, beating Eugenia Harris, 351 - 210.
· Town Meeting, Part two, narrowly chose Plan B for the location of a proposed playing field and affordable housing on the town's Benfield Land on South Street. A two-thirds majority of 119 votes were needed, and Plan B passed, 120 - 58. The town purchased the 45-acre Benfield Land in 2004 and designated that 26 acres be reserved for open space, and the remaining 19 acres be used for an athletic field and up to 26 units of affordable housing. Plan B, recommended by the Benfield Planning Task Force (see map) locates the athletic field in the back, unless Native American claims require it to be moved near the road.
· Retiring teachers and staff at the Carlisle School included fifth-grade teacher Bill Tate (36 years) special educator Ann James (17 years) and assistant to the Superintendent Peg Lynch (10 years).
· After a lapse of a few years, Biodiversity Days were once again celebrated with nature walks and a canoe trip on the Concord River.
· The Affordable Housing Plan Task force, chaired by David Freedman, presented a draft of the 10-year plan to the Board of Selectmen. Once Carlisle has a plan approved by the Mass. Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and issues permits for at least 12 affordable housing units, the town will gain discretionary control over 40B developments for one year. Each additional 12 units will earn an additional one-year of protection.
· Fireworks and an all-town picnic on Spalding Field to honor the bicentennial made Carlisle's Old Home Day a memorable occasion. The celebration was held on June 25 and 26 instead of the usual July 4. Art and Lee Milliken were named the Honored Citizens, and Alex Parra won the Conservationist of the Year award.
· The CCHS Feasibility Study Committee recommended construction of a new high school, rather than renovating or expanding the existing structure.
· The Planning Board viewed Bill Costello's plans for a 15-unit conservation cluster development proposed for a 47-acre parcel off Cross Street.
· Lee Milliken, who served the community for many years, especially in support of Carlisle's seniors, and in the fields of conservation and education, died on June 19.
· Anna Johnson of Westford Street died on June 28. At age 98, she was Carlisle's oldest resident, and had lived in town since 1950.
· Alcohol sales got the green light when the Board of Selectmen approved a policy for issuing licenses, with the restriction that no off-premise sales are allowed on Sunday. Preliminary approval was given by Town Meeting in 2004.
· Dog walking was banned from Great Meadows Wildlife Refuge by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Parts of the refuge were also opened up to deer and waterfowl hunting.
· The Selectmen considered siting a cell tower on the high ground of the Carlisle School property.
· The Selectmen created a Weed Control Task Force to study safe and effective weed control strategies for town pathways, after the Board of Health questioned BOS authorization to test the herbicide Roundup against an organic formulation of vinegar and citric acid called Burnout.
·BOH announced that Lyme disease is on the rise in Carlisle.
· In response to gulf-area hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Selectmen reviewed Carlisle's emergency preparedness.
· A young bull moose was spotted at least twice on conservation land near the Concord River.
· Billerica denied the application of Walter Ericson of Massapoag Real Estate Development to pave the only access to the proposed Carlisle Woods 40B development off Maple Street. The houses would all lie inside Carlisle, and our ZBA gave approval for the project in March.
· A rare Blue-spotted Salamander was found on the Benfield Land off South Street, and habitat protection will now need to be factored into any future development of the town-owned parcel.
· Police Chief David Galvin retired October 1 after serving in the Carlisle Police since 1974. He was appointed chief in 1979 at the age of 28.
· Selectmen and town boards agreed to avoid the use of chemicals on town pathways.
· The BOH restricted outdoor water use on Stearns Street after a family linked water shortages to lawn irrigation at the nearby Malcolm Meadows housing development.
· The ZBA opened the Public Hearing for Coventry Woods, the 40B development on Concord Street. Since the project was discussed in January, the number of units was dropped to 56 and a 55-year minimum age was proposed.
· The Savoyard Light Opera Company performed Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore in the Carlisle School's Corey Auditorium. The school had initially asked the group to move due to space constraints, but relented after negotiation with the Savoyards and hearing town support for the performers.
· As part of the school's Master Plan, New England School Development Council (NESDC) was hired to study enrollment trends for the next 10 years. NESDC predicted the school population, (now 815) might decline by 150 to 200 children, if population growth from new developments is not factored in.
· The state gave Carlisle $271,000 in matching funds under the Community Preservation Act. The money can be spent for open space preservation, affordable housing, preservation of historic landscapes and structures, and public recreation.
· Energy prices spiked after the gulf-area hurricanes, and the Carlisle School faced budget shortfalls due to unanticipated higher energy expenses.
· The state approved Carlisle's Housing Plan.
· Water concerns dominated the Board of Health discussion of Coventry Woods.
· The Carlisle Finance Committee issued a 2% increase guideline for FY07 town budget planning. The Carlisle School was allowed a 3.7% rise and extra funds for increased energy costs.
· Carlisle School considered expansion plans, and the fate of the Highland Building.
· The Wireless Bylaw Subcommittee did not formally recommend building cell towers on any specific site, but rather suggested expanding the Planning Board's ability to grant "exceptions" to the bylaw.
· The year ended with the Selectmen's appointment of John Sullivan as Carlisle's new Chief of Police. The Selectmen's police chief search committee recommended an outside candidate, but was countered by widespread public support for Sullivan, the Acting Police Chief. Sullivan has worked on the Carlisle police force for 20 years.
© 2006 The