The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 1, 2009

ZBA delays vote on new 40B regs

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met on Monday night to hear public input on the set of proposed 40B Comprehensive Permit Regulations. These proposed regulations would establish rules for the procedural and substantive review of comprehensive permit applications. They were drafted by consulting attorney Jon Witten and presented to the ZBA on April 6 by the Planning Board, who initiated their creation last fall.

To date, the ZBA has not received correspondence from the public and no Carlisle citizens offered their input during the meeting. Planning Board Chair Greg Peterson said that the Housing Authority has requested that the ZBA hearing remain open until the end of May, so there is time to receive feedback on the proposed regulations from Town Counsel.

ZBA Chairman Ed Rolfe expressed concern at prolonging discussions because not having clear guidelines for 40Bs in place as soon as possible was leaving the ZBA “hanging naked in the breeze.” However, Housing Authority Chair Alan Lehotsky offered that, “given the current economic climate, there is little risk in 40Bs showing up on our doorstep in the near future.”

Lehotsky also presented copies of his March 31st letter to Chairman Doug Stevenson of the Board of Selectmen wherein Lehotsky outlined the authority’s reasons for suggesting that the ZBA delay approval of the proposed regulations. Lehotsky wrote that it would be helpful to have Town Counsel review the proposed regulations and also to identify existing affordable housing projects that have been developed in other communities “using guidelines and processes similar to those in the proposed regulation.” Lehotsky further added that “I am hoping that, by using examples of successful projects, we can craft regulations that will discourage abuse while allowing thoughtful affordable-housing developments of the sort that we would consider ‘friendly’ 40Bs…. My fear is that establishing an onerous set of requirements that may be waived, will discourage the small projects and non-profit developers we would prefer.”

The ZBA members agreed that an additional month of review could be beneficial. Rolfe added that he is grateful to all parties who are working together to develop a comprehensive and thorough set of regulations that will provide protection for current and future Carlisle citizens.

The ZBA continued the public hearing on the proposed 40B comprehensive permit regulations until June 15 at 8 p.m. ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito