Friday, September 12, 2008
ConsCom, BOS okay Valentine CR
“This is a wonderful gift to the town,” said Conservation Commission (ConsCom) member Jenifer Bush during the August 28 presentation on the 121-acre conservation restriction (CR) being planned by Betty and Jack Valentine for their property off Acton and West Streets. (See “Valentine family to preserve 131 acres and rural vistas,” Mosquito, August 1.) The conservation restriction will allow farming, but will limit future building or other development. Their farm includes fields and woodland, with 14 acres in Acton and roughly 156 acres in Carlisle. Ten acres of field are already protected by an earlier CR. The new restriction, in conjunction with a land division plan already approved by the Planning Board, will allow the eventual construction of up to 16 homes in addition to the existing farmhouse. The CR also includes provisions for trail preservation.
The private Carlisle Conservation Foundation is to hold and monitor the CR. The location of future homes is restricted to “building envelopes” surrounded by protected acreage (see map). However, in some cases reserve leach fields may be allowed outside the building envelopes.
John Thomas of the engineering and planning firm Beals & Thomas, Inc. represented the Valentines and addressed questions from the commission. While there might be filtered views of the future homes visible through the trees, Thomas said that the building envelopes were designed to preserve the rural vistas as much as possible. Thomas noted that the Valentines’ intention is to preserve the view and the land’s agricultural heritage. A conventional subdivision would have allowed the construction of many more homes.Thomas noted that there are no immediate plans to sell any parcels, “They’re not looking to develop the land. They’re doing this for estate purposes.”
Commissioner Kelly Guarino asked how the fields would be maintained by multiple owners if the land is divided. Maintenance of both fields and common driveways is to be handled by a homeowners’ association, which would be created when the first lot is sold.
Except for the farmhouse, Thomas said that the building envelopes are located at least 100 feet from all wetlands. Commissioners noted that separate ConsCom filings would be necessary prior to building common drives near or crossing wetlands.
Asked what is being done to protect the rare climbing fern that grows on the property, Thomas said his firm had surveyed the limits of the ferns distribution. The state-listed plant grows in the woods. Because it will be outside all the building envelopes, it will be given long-term protection by the CR.
After listening to a written statement by the Conservation Restriction Advisory Committee recommending approval, the ConsCom voted unanimously that the CR would be in the public interest.
Selectmen approve CR
The Board of Selectmen (BOS) approved the CR at its meeting on September 9. Selectman Bill Tice told the Valentines, “I like how you preserve vistas and keep houses nested in the woods.” Selectmen John Williams said, “This is a remarkably beautiful and generous gift.
Next, the CR goes the state for final approval. ∆
© 2008 The