Friday, January 12, 2007
To the Editor:
After a year of confrontation, the final ZBA public hearing session for Coventry Woods will occur on January 29. One more time, we abutters will go into battle. Yes, it is a battle... because that's what the 40B legislation dictates.
Chapter 40B allows a developer to ignore all of a town's zoning regulations as long as 25% of the development's units are affordable. But the statute also empowers the local ZBA to stipulate "conditions" on that development to preserve the public health and safety... as long as those conditions do not render the development "uneconomic"... the developer must still be able to make a reasonable profit. In the case of this 41-unit project, a "reasonable" profit will be $2 to $3 million.
Those rules of 40B warfare place the ZBA in the strange position of trying to write a completely new set of "laws" ("conditions") for this project, instead of their customary task of enforcing our existing zoning bylaws. Our ZBA has been struggling through dozens of hearings in an attempt to draft "fair" conditions for Coventry Woods. In fact, the developer has constantly objected throughout the hearings, saying that suggestions made by abutters and others, are "unfair." Often he argues that "no other developer in town has to do that ... we should be treated like every other developer."
It is the position of the abutters, however, that creating "fair" conditions cannot be the goal of this process... because "fairness" is unattainable in this case. The Coventry Woods parcel is the same size as the original Spencer Brook Lane parcel on which seven homes are built. There is no way to place 41 units on the parcel in a manner that would be "fair" to the abutters. The ZBA must attempt to place every reasonable condition on this development that would minimize its negative impact on the abutters and the town, while still allowing the developer his seven-figure profit margin.
Please come to Town Hall on Monday evening, January 29, to assist the ZBA in creating such "conditions." We are abutters, your fellow taxpayers, your neighbors and friends in need.
Ken and Terri Hoffman
Spencer Brook Lane
In defense of feng shui
To the Editor:
In November, I presented "Feng Shui for Powerful Study" to an eighth- grade health class at the Carlisle Public School. The Mosquito's December School Committee Report expressed concern about the appropriateness of feng shui for a health class and the age group. Feng shui provides practical ways for people to set up their bedrooms to improve sleep. Studies show that sound sleep positively impacts people's physical and mental well-being. Teenagers need nine hours of sleep each night, but get only an average of seven. I gave the students simple tools to implement in their bedrooms to improve sleep and support their academic and personal goals.
A School Committee member also expressed concern about teaching feng shui as a belief system. People can experience the benefits of feng shui whether they believe in it or not. The eighth-grade students were not taught or expected to comprehend feng shui as a belief system, which can be a very complex topic. They were given practical ideas to use if they chose to.
The students were also not taught how to decorate their rooms. Feng shui differs from interior decorating and design, which bases its concepts mainly on function, form and aesthetics.
What is feng shui?
Feng shui is a new way of looking at our living and work spaces and also our lives. The study of how the natural and built environment affects people, feng shui provides ways to create spaces that support us to meet the challenges in our lives and embrace the opportunities. Feng shui observes that people are connected to their surroundings and are most affected by the things closest to them, such as one's bed and desk. Optimal placement can create a calming and nurturing bedroom and a productive work space.
Incorporating feng shui into the health curriculum is a growing trend. Since 2003, I have presented feng shui to students nationwide, and have often been invited by the health and wellness department.
Community spirit and generosity abound in Carlisle
To the Editor:
The Carlisle Council on Aging (COA), on behalf of the Carlisle seniors, would like to thank the many groups who so generously gave of their time, caring, and funds during the holidays. In particular, we would like to thank:
• St. Irene's parishioners and Judy Andrews, who coordinated the generous donations of gift certificates for CVS, Donelan's, and Market Basket;
• Junior Scout Troop 2653 and their Troop leader, Becky Konkle, for their generous contribution of cookie and soup mixes in decorated bottles;
• Third-grade Brownie Troop 2655 and their Troop leaders, Jennifer Albanese and Pam Ziehler, for the delicious favors for our December luncheon;
• Daisy Troop 2666, and their Troop leader, Gail Bernardin, for the wreaths and refreshments given to our COA handcraft group;
• To Alison Saylor, Giovanno DiNicola, and all of the wonderful Garden Club members who so generously donated their time, training, help, bows, and decorations for the COA wreath-making class;
• To a Cub Scout Troop and their Troop Leader, Lisa Koski, who delivered cookies to some of our seniors;
• To Gabrielle Luiselli and her friends, who used her birthday party to make goodie bags for some seniors;
• To the parents, board members and Friends of the Red Balloon Nursery School who sang and coordinated a sing-a-long at our December luncheon;
• To the COA Line Dancers who entertained the seniors at the December lunch;
• To Alice Hardy for her floral arrangements;
• To Santo Pullara for his great piano playing at many of our events;
• To all the COA board members who work tirelessly, day in and day out, to ensure the success of our many COA events;
• To the Friends of the COA who generously give of their time, funds and support to provide donations to our seniors and help when the need arises;
• To all the other residents, who caroled, helped with an event, delivered a meal, drove someone to an appointment, and who help and support our seniors on an on-going basis.
It is all this generosity that makes Carlisle such a wonderful and special place to live. If you didn't have an opportunity to give during the holiday season, please call the COA office at 1-978-371-2895 to find out how you too can make a difference in a senior's life.
Carlisle COA Outreach Coordinator
Police say thanks
To the Editor:
The members of the Carlisle Police Association would like to thank all those residents who took part in our 13th annual Christmas Tree Pickup, which ran on January 6. The program was once again a huge success. We visited over 130 houses, going door to door, removing trees and bringing them to the Department of Public Works to be discarded.
Your generous donations and continuous support truly makes Carlisle a great community to work for.
We wish you all a safe and happy New Year.
The Carlisle Police Association
Ask what you can do for your town
To the Editor:
Citizens of Carlisle, let's reinvigorate our democracy from the bottom up!
The late House Speaker Tip O'Neill famously said,"All politics is local" but we just haven't been terribly political in recent elections. Very few local offices have been contested, and ballot slots have been left blank because no candidates stepped forward.
While uncontested elections are easy on candidates, they're bad for the town. Contested elections provide the opportunity for debating the issues, engaging both candidates and the broader citizenry in a civic dialogue that educates us all and challenges us to advance our thinking and generate new ideas.
If you think you might be interested in running for elective office, now's the time to start exploring. Candidates will be nominated for the ballot at the Town Caucus on March 12, so you've got two months to attend meetings, see how the various boards operate, learn the issues, and decide whether you'd like to run.
Are you broadly concerned about the direction of the town? Consider the Board of Selectmen. Have some financial, legal, design, scientific or other expertise relevant to land use and development issues? Consider the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals, or Board of Health. Interested in education and information? Run for School Committee or Library Trustee. Want to inject some energy and new thinking into the issue of affordable housing? Look into the Housing Authority.
In addition to these and other elected offices, the town could always use more volunteers for the various appointed committees. Do you believe the town needs a Master Plan for all recreation and not just for ballfields? Volunteer for the Recreation Commission. Fascinated by the intersection of the birds and the bees and public policy? Look into the Conservation Commission, the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee, or the Trails Committee. Good with numbers and asking tough questions? Step forward for the Finance Committee.
More information on these and other opportunities can be obtained on the town web site (carlislema.gov), by talking to the town clerk or administrators to the various boards, or by speaking with current board or committee members.
Thanks to our generous friends
To the Editor:
As vice-chair of the Carlisle Council on Aging (COA), I want to offer heartfelt thanks to two Friends groups: they are the Friends of the Carlisle COA (including the Lee Milliken Fund) and the Friends of the Gleason Public Library. During four Wednesday afternoons in November and one in December 2006, my wife Norma and I were treated to an opera series, all based upon plays by William Shakespeare. John Tischio, a retired businessman with a passion for opera, led the two-hour sessions in the Hollis Room at the Gleason Public Library. The five operas were Romeo and Juliette (Gounod), Macbeth (Verdi), Hamlet (S. Thomas), Anthony and Cleopatra (S. Barber) and Otello (Verdi). Mr. Tischio began each session with lively background information and then presented live videotaped performances of the operas themselves, often with world famous singers, including Renee Fleming from 20 years ago. Using a PowerPoint projector, a large screen and a superb sound system all made each opera experience breathtaking. The Hollis Room, in most sessions, was filled to capacity, sometimes overflowing, with people standing.
By popular demand, John Tischio has agreed to return in the Fall of 2007 with another opera series. Elliott Lilien, who did a classical music appreciation series last year, will also be returning by popular demand to do another of his series in 2007.
All of these splendid programs are offered at no charge to Carlisle senior citizens by the Friends of the COA, who underwrite the cost; the library accommodations are provided by the Friends of the Gleason Public Library.
We senior citizens of Carlisle are indeed privileged and honored to have programs like these through the generosity and hard work by our Friends!
Again, many thanks for making our lives richer and more fulfilling.
Ted Read, Jr.
© 2007 The