Friday, March 24, 2006
Page Brook Road parcel raises questions for BOH
During a pubic hearing on Tuesday night, March 21, Board of Health (BOH) members were asked to consider two variances for a new septic system on a lot at 56 Page Brook Road. Engineer Richard Harrington of Stamski and McNary, Inc. represented property owner Richard Buck, who was not present at the meeting. However, several abutters to the property did attend Tuesday night's meeting and expressed their concerns about how the plan might have a negative effect on their properties, specifically their wells, ponds and surrounding wildlife.
The Town of Carlisle's Supplementary Regulations for Sewage Disposal Systems requires there to be a 100-foot distance separating a soil absorption system (SAS), septic tank or pump chamber from Bordering Vegetated Wetlands (BVW), watercourse or well. Harrington is requesting a waiver to allow the SAS and septic tank to be located 75 feet and 65 feet, respectively, from wetlands.
Harrington has proposed using a Micro-FAST 0.5 alternative technology system in order to mitigate the requested setback waivers for new contruction. He said that this system will actually work better than a conventional system that adheres to the 100-foot requirements because it treats the effluent before it reaches the leaching area.
The Board of Health has a policy of not granting waivers for new construction, according to BOH Agent Linda Fantasia, who explained that new construction is held to a "higher standard" than existing construction. Abutters David and Florence Reed, Claude Von Roesgen and Margaret and Chad Carpenter (the Carpenters have been communicating with the BOH by email from their winter home in Arizona) agree that the town should adhere to the regulations for new construction.
"Why did [the town] set the rules in the first place?" asked abutter David Reed. "You're basically rewriting the regulation," agreed Von Roesgen. The Carpenters wrote: "Will the Board of Health assume the risk and responsibility for the failure of the proposed septic system? And will they take care of the abutters' contaminated pond and wells which may result from granting the waivers in this case where the regulations otherwise would not permit new construction?"
Harrington wrote to the Board last fall that "It is our belief that not granting this waiver would be manifestly unjust, as it would render the referenced lot virtually unbuildable." In some neighbors' minds the lot has been considered unbuildable for over 25 years. The Carpenters wrote the BOH recently that the lot failed to meet regulations for a septic system in 1979 (although Fantasia has yet to find any record of this) and the owner has received tax relief as an unbuildable lot since then. The Carpenters claim that this is not a case of hardship. "This would be strictly a windfall to have this lot approved for new contruction," they wrote.
Board members agreed to continue the meeting so that they can look into the many issues and questions raised during the hearing. "We have to do some homework on this," said BOH Chair Martha Bedrosian. The hearing will be continued on April 11 at 8:30 p.m.
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