The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, June 13, 2008

35-lot Hanover Hill subdivision approved

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The Planning Board on June 9 approved what will be Carlisle’s “largest subdivision in a couple of decades,” according to Chair Michael Epstein. Two applications had been submitted by the developers of Hanover Hill to be built on Westford Street. The Planning Board voted to approve both the subdivision plan, with a list of waivers and conditions, as well as a special permit for five common driveways.

The subdivision conditions had previously been reviewed by Town Counsel, Planning Administer George Mansfield, and Chair Michael Epstein, and generated few questions. It was noted that several waivers would minimize clearing, cutting, and filling and preserve landscape and trees. For example, a requirement for a six-foot shoulder width on the cul-de-sac was reduced to four feet. Other conditions would reduce the impact on waterways and minimize the alteration of existing natural grades, according to Epstein. Protection of views from public ways was also considered.

A requirement for footpaths on the subdivision roadways was waived in favor of a footpath along Westford Street from Virginia Farme to Hanover Road, the furthest access road to be built off Westford Street. Also, two boardwalks or bridges will be built to allow a trail over wetlands. An additional condition, suggested by the Planning Board engineers, was raised and adopted at the meeting, requiring that a copy of the Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan be submitted to the board.

Epstein noted the common driveways will greatly reduce the number of access points off Westford Street. According to the findings section of the special permit, “the lots served by these driveways are provided with safe and convenient access, and the plans that include these driveways provide for the preservation of the natural and built environment, maintenance of neighborhood character and streetscape, and adequate access for emergency vehicles.” Two driveways are named, Sorli Way and Gormley Way, and the others, each serving only two lots, are designated A, B, and C.

Paul Alphen, lawyer for Wilkins Hill Realty, requested that the five common driveways, which had been presented as one document, be considered individually in case there were later change requests particular to one. He also noted two 30,000-gallon cisterns, in addition to a 40,000-gallon one, had been omitted. This was corrected. Construction of the roads will be secured by a covenant recorded at the Registry of Deeds, and the common driveway and the access road from Westford Street to the driveway must be completed before lots are released.

An issue had been raised by some abutters concerning access to the footpath along Westford Street. A wall limits the areas where a pedestrian can join the path without jumping a wall. Marc Lamere, who serves on both the Trails Committee and the Planning Board, noted that additional crosswalks and wall openings had been considered and rejected because of safety. “There are certain safer places and we should promote those entrances,” he said. “You will always have people who don’t do that [enter at the openings] but I don’t think we should encourage it.”

George Dimakarakos of Stamski & McNary, representing the developer, noted other “extremely minor” recent changes to the plan at the request of the Conservation Commission. They included some limits on work near buffer zones, lengthening of a gravel parking area to reduce the slope, a change to a trail easement to minimize the length of a boardwalk, preservation of culverts, and language promoting allowances for burrowing animals such as salamanders.

Both approvals were delivered unanimously with all conditions and waivers. Owner Grant Wilson thanked the board “for all the hard work. I know you’re a volunteer board and this is a long process.” In response, Epstein noted the development team had been “diligent in moving this forward.” After the 20-day appeal period, the common driveway permit requires that construction on driveways begin within one year and the subdivision approval requires that the development be completed within three years. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito