The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 30, 2007


BOH withdraws support for Coventry septic waivers

The Board of Health (BOH) voted to withdraw its December 2006 recommendations to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) regarding waivers granted at that time to the developer of the proposed Coventry Woods 40B housing on Concord Street. The 4 to 1 BOH decision also stipulated that developer Mark O'Hagan must comply with all BOH regulations relative to his 40B project.

BOH agent Linda Fantasia later explained that the board's vote was based on concerns about septic system C on the site plans. The board had requested pre-permit testing to verify that the system design was in fact feasible, but the applicant had not provided all the requested data.

Under state statute Chapter 40B, a developer can bypass most local zoning restrictions and permitting requirements and seek a single comprehensive permit from the ZBA if at least 25% of the new housing is affordable to those with low and moderate incomes.

The BOH action effectively rescinds several waivers relative to septic size and capacity, upon which O'Hagan has been basing his calculations of projected flow at 9,020 gallons per day (gpd) for the entire development (based on the state Title 5 standards of 110 gpd per bedroom for each two-bedroom unit). Local regulations require daily flow for multi-family shared systems to be limited to 5,000 gpd for the total project and 165 gpd per bedroom.

The Carlisle Supplemental Regulations for Sewage Disposal Systems also require that the capacity for garbage grinder use be incorporated into the design of every new leaching facility in Carlisle, thereby increasing required leach field size by 50%. In addition to accommodating the waste produced by garbage grinders, board members contend that a larger leach field extends the life of a septic system and prevents premature system failure whether or not a grinder is installed, thereby protecting future homeowners. O'Hagan's current plans do not reflect this increased leach field size, which is required for every other new septic system in Carlisle.

"I think we should be consistent with our local regs," emphasized BOH member Leslie Cahill. Most members agreed that all Carlisle homeowners should be required to adhere to the BOH regs, especially if a waiver were to allow for smaller leach fields and significantly greater density on a parcel that would not normally allow the construction of additional units.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito