The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 20, 2006


ConsCom check-off eludes Great Brook developers

A request for issuance of a Certificate of Compliance from Great Brook Estates co-developers Ira Gould and Betsy Goldenberg failed to win immediate approval from the Carlisle Conservation Commission (ConsCom) on January 12. Great Brook Estates is a 10-lot subdivision/conservation cluster off Rutland Street, with lots that are accessed by a subdivision road, Great Brook Path, and an adjunct common drive, Tanglewood Way.

In support of his request for project closure, Gould reported he had completed road and drainage repairs that had been the subject of a December 1 enforcement order from the commission, and that his engineer had written a letter confirming fulfillment of all specifications contained in the original ConsCom Order of Conditions. However, he also noted that final paving could not take place until the Planning Board was satisfied that ConsCom requirements had been met and minor drainage issues settled.

Appearing less than satisfied, Commissioner Tricia Smith told Gould she had expected to see an up-to-date copy of the project plans, in order to determine exactly what did remain to be done. Commissioner Roy Watson concurred, saying that the commission could not act on a letter in the absence of any plan and with no opportunity to question the engineers.

Speaking from the audience, Planning Board representative Louise Hara informed the commissioners that her board has not yet okayed the overall drainage system, in part because the functioning of a culvert on Lot D, Tanglewood Way, cannot be assessed until Spring. Picking up on that comment, Smith noted that a wetland at the end of Tanglewood Way had been shown as non-jurisdictional in the original filing, and she had seen no data or reasoning to back up that assumption. "I'm uncomfortable signing off on it without knowing whether that feature is or isn't within our jurisdiction," she said. She also wanted to be certain that the "replication area" that replaces a disturbed portion of the wetland is developing successfully, and that any conditions in the original filing that apply to individual lots have been met.

"In other words," declared Chairman Tom Schultz, "we need an updated plan that will show clearly what remains to be done." To which Commissioner John Lee added, "And we want an in-person presentation from a wetland expert and an engineer, so we can clear up any questions directly." Gould agreed straightaway, and a February 9 date was set for a continued hearing.

In a later call aimed at clarifying the Planning Board's present position, the Mosquito learned from Planning Board Administrator George Mansfield that, as is common procedure with large developments, Great Brook Estates had been placed "under covenant" at the time the subdivision was first approved, meaning that all ten lots were held as completion insurance by the town, and then released one by one as the work progressed. At this point just one unsold lot worth about $400,000 is still under covenant pending completion of the subdivision infrastructure. The other lots have been sold and most of the new homes are now occupied.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito