The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 4, 2006


Planning Board explores options for Rutland St. cluster development

The Planning Board has undertaken two informal reviews of a possible conservation cluster on Rutland Street. Peter Howe, representing the Brown estate, met with the Planning Board at its July 24 meeting to present conceptual plans to subdivide the 24.6 acres of the Brown Trust Property on Rutland Street with access provided from the lot at 400 Rutland Street. The property includes Parcels 23 and 26 on Assessors' Map 36, and is adjacent to Parcel 22, part of the town-owned Mannis Conservation Land. Abutters and Trail Committee representatives have attended to watch as the project begins to take shape.

One question to be answered is how many housing lots would be possible on the land under a standard, Approval Not Required (ANR) development. This is needed because a conservation cluster special permit grants developers one "extra" house lot in exchange for the preservation of open space resources valued by the town. The natural resources may include agricultural land, vistas, buffer areas, water supplies, natural habitats, or points of historical interest. Trails and old cart paths have been considered points of historic interest and Carlisle's Trail Committee has had a continuing interest in preserving them and ensuring public access by securing easements.

What is an ANR development? Owners have the right to divide their land into conventional two-acre and four-acre ("pork chop") lots, assuming all requirements are met for sufficient legal frontage on an approved town road, and each building lot must contain at least three-quarters of an acre of contiguous dry land. Once the Planning Board verifies that legal requirements are satisfied, the board signs the plans as ANR.

In this case, the Board has not yet seen an ANR plan that would justify the conservation cluster and which would define the number of building lots that could be involved in such a division of the land.

Howe stated that after his first presentation to the Board on June 26 there have been two site visits with board members and abutters to walk the trails with a portable GPS unit (global positioning system). He described three conceptual site plans of the potential six-lot conservation cluster with overlays of trails and wetlands. Abutters in the audience and the board participated in a detailed discussion of the relative merits of the three proposals. Length of private common driveways, location of some of the driveways along the existing cart path, visibility of house sites from abutting properties, number and extent of wetland crossings, and public access to trails were considered. One option optimized public access to trails but had a 1,000-foot common driveway to access two of the building lots. A second option minimized wetland crossings but involved the cart path for part of a common driveway. Chair David Freedman suggested that since length of common driveways may be an issue, subsequent meetings should involve a representative of the Fire Department.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito