The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 4, 2008


ConsCom weighs plan for house overlooking bog

Map of ten-acre parcel on Fiske Street shows proposed house located at point. Approximate locations of the existing home (close to the driveway and midway toward the street) and wetlands are.also drawn.

The public hearing continued regarding John Ballantine’s request for a permit to construct a second single family house on his ten acres at 268 Fiske Street. Engineer George Dimakarakos of Stamski and McNary proposed plan changes. These were in response to concerns previously expressed by the Commission about the proximity of the proposed driveway, house and garage to wetlands and the open water of the Carlisle Cranberry Bog. He said the garage could be smaller and the driveway pulled back from the wetlands at several close points. With these changes the proposed driveway would be within about ten feet of wetlands in places and building construction within 17 feet of wetlands or open water.

Commissioner Tricia Smith said that in 13 years on the board she has never seen a driveway run so close to the edge of wetlands. Others questioned the long-term stability of the driveway, whether plowed snow and other material would end up in the wetland, and whether approval of the project would set a bad precedent. Ken Harte of the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee suggested that this is a unique situation, and approval might not be precedent-setting because most of the land will remain in its natural condition. Restrictions cover about 90 percent of the property. Harte and attorney Alex Parra, who was also present, helped draft the restrictions.

Considerable discussion and questions and input from numerous abutters followed. Willard then indicated that the Planning Board (which reviews the common driveway) has asked the commission for a recommendation. The commission decided to convey that one driveway is better than two, i.e. the longer the common driveway continues the better, and that the board is troubled about the impacts of the project on wetland resources. Chair Peter Burn next asked each commissioner to comment on the project so the applicant could get a sense of where the board stands. Responses centered on concern that proximity of the work to wetlands could lead to long-term damage to the Cranberry Bog conservation area, which was described as “the crown jewel of Carlisle,” and includes the largest body of water in town.

Finally, Willard reported that rare species habitat designated by the state Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program (NHESP) is located on abutting land. She expected updated information could potentially extend the habitat “polygon” onto the Ballantine property, in which case affording the necessary habitat protection may require design revisions. The hearing was continued to April 10 at 9:15 p.m. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito