The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 9, 2007


Board of Appeals renews Fiske Street stable permit

Of the three hearings at the November 1 Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) meeting with new member Bill Morgan, two were decided relatively quickly. Applicant Ian Sampson was a no-show and must reapply for his special permit to operate a furniture and gift shop at 43/47A Bedford Road. Applicant Sid Levin of 69 Bellows Hill Road was granted a special permit to remove a screened-in porch and add a mudroom to the entryway of his home. Levin's plans were well within the 50% threshold on non-conforming lots and within the property setbacks.

The third hearing, Bonnie Jacobellis' request for a special permit to continue operating her horse/stable boarding and riding lesson business, brought abutters, both for and against the application, as well as heated and lengthy testimony from concerned parties.

As required by the ZBA and the conditions of her special permit, Jacobellis, of 164 Fiske Street, appeared before the ZBA one year after receiving her permit to renew her application to operate her [stable/horse boarding and riding lesson] business. Jacobellis presented two pages of signatures and other documentation in support of her business, and abutters and friends also testified before the ZBA that they supported the way Jacobellis ran her business. Jacobellis further testified that she was in compliance with all of the conditions set forth by the ZBA last year when she received her special permit to operate her business after several years of denials, due in large part to issues presented by opposing abutters. Currently, Jacobellis boards three horses, one of which is hers. The other two horses are owned by different people and Jacobellis also doesn't believe that any riding lessons were given in the past year. Jacobellis currently does not have plans to expand her business. Her 4.5-acre pork-chop lot backs up to the town's Cranberry Bog.

Abutters Sara Dunleavy and Charles Ford of 159 Fiske Street spoke highly about the way Jacobellis takes care of her horses and how appreciative they are that she allows them to access the bog safely through her property. Carlisle's Animal Inspector, Deb Toher, after stating that she stood as a "neutral" party, said she had inspected the Jacobellis' barn and that it was clean and well kept.

Abutters opposing Jacobellis' special permit renewal request offered their verbal and written testimony as to why the ZBA should deny Jacobellis' special permit. Lorraine Hrasna of 143 Fiske Street testified that almost immediately after Jacobellis received the special permit last year, a horse from the Jacobellis' property became loose and the trees that provided screening along the Jacobellis and Guttadauro property lines were removed, exposing all of the activity in Jacobellis' yard to her view. "With the trees gone, it's at least a good eight feet cleared. I can see all of her driveway. Now you can see everything." Hrasna also asked the board how anyone could keep track of all the people going to and coming out of the Jacobellis' property — if they are friends, neighbors or horse owners tending to their boarded horses.

The tree removal was of particular concern to the ZBA. Ed Rolfe stated that at last year's hearing, the board believed the trees functioned as screening, and the board did not think that they would be removed. Jacobellis said she removed the trees, which were hemlocks, because they are poisonous to the horses. She is not planning on removing any additional trees and had intended to replace the hemlocks with Christmas trees.

Abutter Ruth Toscano of 129 Fiske Street expressed concerns over Jacobellis' indemnification or "hold harmless" agreements and also asked for Jacobellis' business to be closed for holidays. After heated abutter testimony of dogs being sent to attack horses walking through the area, Toscano added that she "hoped the board would focus on the issues and not the personalities. To me, I don't want to use the word 'dangerous,' but [Jacobellis' boarding business is] a big concern. I don't want to see anyone get hurt."

The ZBA ultimately renewed Jacobellis' special permit to operate her business for one year with several conditions, namely restricting operating hours for riding lessons to 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday with no lessons occurring on Sundays and the business shall be closed on state-recognized holidays. Furthermore, no additional trees considered to be screening from the abutters shall be removed.

2007 The Carlisle Mosquito