Friday, April 18, 2008
ConsCom hears revisions for planned Fiske Street house
On April 10 the Conservation Commission (ConsCom) held the third segment of the public hearing on Ann and John Ballantine’s proposal to construct a second single-family house on their ten-acre parcel at 268 Fiske Street. Discussion of the project has centered on the Commission’s concerns about the proximity of the proposed house and driveway to bordering vegetated wetlands and on the benefit to the town of the conservation restrictions (CRs) that protect nine of the ten acres. The property abuts the west side of the Cranberry Bog conservation land (see map in “ConsCom weighs plan for house overlooking bog,” Mosquito, April 4).
Under a revised plan the common driveway now extends further into the property and, where it splits, the new driveway is closer to the existing drive, pulled back to 13 to 15 feet from the wetland edge. With this and a slightly reduced house size, former Commissioner John Lee noted that this is probably as good as a plan can get on a very tough site.
The Tenneco gas pipeline runs through the proposed building envelope. Ballantine explained that because Tenneco agreed to shift part of the pipeline easement the house would be further from the wetland than without the shift. They could have put the 4,000 square foot house on the bog side of the easement and further from wetlands, but this would have great impact on the vista from the adjacent Cranberry Bog Conservation Land.
The Ballantines presented a letter to the ConsCom explaining that their intention since they built their first house in the mid-1990s has been to protect the land and the vista. John Keating of the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee pointed out that the process for amending a CR requires that the revised restriction be more protective. The revised restrictions cover much more of the property. Commissioner Jenifer Bush said she sees CRs as the future of conservation in Carlisle as fewer lands are purchased outright.
Chair Peter Burn noted that this project shows that the town is vulnerable to development plans near wetlands. Commissioner Tricia Smith said that the project may have a profound benefit for Carlisle by causing the town to amend the local wetlands bylaw to include a no-build zone around wetlands for new construction. The hearing was continued to April 24 at 9:30 p.m. ∆
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