The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 27, 2009

Consultant recommends Board of Appeals revise regulations

A March 14 review of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Rules and Regulations focused on items that could facilitate management of future 40B developments. The review was follow-up on an initiative started by the Planning Board last fall with consultant Jon Witten “to develop a comprehensive set of regulations and bylaws that are horizontally consistent with each other and vertically consistent with the town’s land-use vision.”

The Planning Board, ZBA and Board of Health each adopt a set of Rules and Regs for their areas of responsibility consistent with the town bylaws. Participating in the review were ZBA Chair Edward Rolfe and board member Kevin Smith, Selectman Alan Carpenito, along with Planning Board Chair Greg Peterson, board member Michael Epstein and associate David Freedman.

Referring to Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) recently revised and promulgated regulations, Witten had said, “The regulations are not town-friendly and some are hostile to cities and towns.” Material previously distributed by Witten made the following assessment: “Although Carlisle’s current regulations pertaining to 40B applications . . . are reasonably thorough, DHCD’s new regulations purport to strip the board of authority with respect to numerous areas, including its ability to examine project financing and the applicant’s preparedness to undertake the project. In light of the likely increase in comprehensive permit applications in Carlisle’s future, strategic revisions to the board’s regulations targeting DHCD’s changes are critical to maintaining control of the comprehensive permit process.”

Witten’s recommendations include:

• Emphasize Carlisle’s need to safeguard water supply because of dependence on private wells and septic systems.

• Involve the Planning Board if a division or subdivision of land is part of the project.

• Require a complete application rather than piecemeal submission of items.

• Require a list of requested exceptions to Carlisle’s requirements (bylaws, etc.) and a written explanation of why failure to grant the waiver would render the project uneconomic.

• The developer’s request for waivers affords an opportunity to ask for a detailed pro-forma financial analysis of anticipated expenses and revenues of the project with updates as the project progresses.

• Provide sufficient fees so that the Board of Appeals can engage outside consultants and a stenographer as needed.

Rolfe thanked the Planning Board for doing the “heavy lifting” in moving the process forward. He and Smith asked for more guidance in handling a 40B at the town boundary that is located partly in another town. The tentative schedule for the next Board of Appeals meeting is April 6. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito