The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, January 9, 2009

Selectmen use easement to solve Valentine CR glitch

In their efforts to preserve the bucolic look of Carlisle for years to come, the Board of Selectmen (BOS) on December 23 adopted an unusual conservation easement to maximize preservation of the Valentine farm off Acton Street. The Selectmen had previously approved a conservation restriction (CR) on their farmland with the allowance of 17 house lots on about 20 acres of that total (see article on left.) However, after recent percolation tests for the septic systems, five of the 17 lots could not contain the proposed design within the alotted building envelopes. State authorities overseeing conservation restrictions frowned on septic systems extending into land outside the building envelope and refused to budge, despite cited precedents.

The suggestion of using a conservation easement to contain subsurface septic systems would put the matter under town jurisdiction versus state jurisdiction. The problem was solved without necessitating restructuring the plan, and extending building envelopes with the potential to raze more trees.

As described by lawyer Robert Tuchmann from the firm Wilmer Hale and representing the Valentine family, the change in terminology will not minimize Carlisle’s ability to manage the site’s compliance with conservation requirements. Hult concurred, “I don’t believe there’s any difference between the conservation restriction and the conservation easement.” The Conservation Commission and town boards would still be able to ensure that construction meets specifications and requirements. The non-profit Carlisle Conservation Foundation will monitor the easement on behalf of the town’s interests. “The other alternative was to fight it with the state, but this was thought to be the better solution,” said Tuchmann.

The BOS accepted the modified CR, and agreed to extend a conservation easement to the five house parcels in question. ∆

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