The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 10, 2009

Historical Commission cites value of Highland

The Historical Commission, pleased with the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) support for renovation, passed a motion at their March 31 meeting finding the Highland Building historically significant.

Since Highland is not located within the central Historic District, the commission’s CPC representative Sylvia Sillers asked the commission to formally comment on the historical value of the building. The commission unanimously approved a motion finding “the Highland School Building is significant in its history, architecture and culture to the Town of Carlisle, because of its unique architecture which is representative of the early 20th century, including the unique exterior design and windows, as well as the interior woodwork, trim and hardware, and because of the many prominent Carlisle citizens who were students at Highland School.”

The Highland Building Study Committee, formed by the Selectmen, spent several months last year researching the condition of the former schoolhouse and the costs of various dispositions. The study group recommended repairs and added fire protection that would protect the structure from further deterioration. Selectman Alan Carpenito, member of the study group said that the renovation project is “the right thing to do” to save the building.

The CPC approved the Selectmen’s request to finance the project using $445,000 in Community Preservation Act funding. Once the improvements are completed, it would be possible for the building to be rented by private groups. A second phase of renovations would be required, however, to provide handicapped accessibility needed for public uses of the building. (See also, “Voters face choices for Highland’s future,” Mosquito, April 3.)

It was noted that the Recreation Commission backs the movement to save the Highland Building, and that they are looking into possible uses for the building once it is restored. Alan Carpenito said this is a two-stage process and that the goal of stage one is to stabilize the structure. The Highland Building renovation will now go before Town Meeting for a vote. If the vote fails, Town Meeting will also have the option to raze the building.

Other business

Application process. Residents in the town center Historic District must seek a permit from the commission for any change that is visible on the outside of a structure, including modifications to fences, house color and walkways. The commission is working on new Design Review Guidelines for the historic district residents that will try to make the application procedure more “user friendly.” It will also include guidelines for alternative energy structures such as wind turbines.

Honor Roll. Selectman Alan Carpenito reported that the Honor Roll Committee hopes to complete the veterans memorial on the Town Common by Old Home Day at the end of June. The granite will be cut to look old by having drill holes evident.

Sign permit. Several residents of Carlisle complained that Ferns “Retailer of the Year” temporary sign had been displayed off and on since 2007. The commission’s rules and regulations state, however, that a temporary sign can be displayed only up to 30 days. Members Chip Dewing and Peggy Hilton had spoken to Larry Bearfield, co-proprietor of Ferns and an alternate member of the Historical Commission about this, but Bearfield was not able to attend the meeting. After discussion, the commission decided that if Bearfield wants the sign to stay up permanently, he should come before the commission. Subsequently, the sign has been removed.

14 Concord Street. Tom and Kim Ratcliffe were unable to attend a scheduled hearing to discuss plans for a new chimney to be built where a chimney had existed years ago. The commission plans to reschedule the hearing for their April meeting. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito