Friday, January 26, 2007
Further well tests needed for Coventry Woods
At their meeting on Tuesday evening, the Board of Selectmen recommended that more well water and septic field tests be conducted before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) closes its hearings on the proposed Coventry Woods development off Concord Street. Though hearings were to close on Monday after a lengthy review by the ZBA, Selectman John Williams said the town needs to protect public health and safety by completing further tests.
Williams also stated that the Selectmen will form an advisory group to assist the ZBA. "The Board of Appeals relies on experts from other boards such as the Board of Health and the Planning Board. These experts are recommending further testing." He pointed out that Carlisle is particularly vulnerable to any contamination because there is no public water supply or sewer system in place.
The 41-unit project is the first large affordable 40B housing development proposed in Carlisle, after the eight-unit Laurel Hollow project recently completed on Lowell Street. It is the purview of the ZBA to grant Comprehensive Permits for 40B developments.
The Board of Health, Planning Board and abutters recently asked Selectmen for their assistance on Coventry Woods. Planning Board Chair David Freedman pointed to several past town documents that specify the need to fully address well safety issues during the hearing process. Freedman, who will serve on the advisory group, also recommended that the ZBA continue the hearings "until these issues are addressed."
Michael Epstein, a neighbor on Spencer Brook Lane near the proposed project and a Planning Board member, agreed, "no one board has all the expertise." He said additional well testing must be complete on the project before a permit is issued, even if it is costly to the developer, Mark O'Hagan.
Selectman Alan Carpenito questioned whether the testing, some of which needs to be completed in the summer months, might keep hearings open until August.
Exactly what tests need to be done, and when, needs to be determined by the new advisory group, Williams said. The group will include Town Administrative Coordinator Elizabeth Barnett, Freedman, and a member of the Board of Health.
The town is not dragging out the process intentionally, said Williams who is responsible for affordable housing issues for the Board of Selectmen. As long as the tests and any resulting requirements don't render the project "uneconomic" to the builder, he said, they should be completed before a comprehensive permit is issued. They are necessary for the health and safety of residents.
© 2007 The