Friday, July 3, 2009
Board of Selectmen consider pathways, school cost saving proposals
• Hanover Hill pathway. Developer Rob West appeared before the Board of Selectmen (BOS) on June 23 seeking approval for a change to the pathway planned for the Hanover Hill subdivision where Johnson Road meets Westford Street. The change would allow retention of some old-growth oaks and solve a problem of low visibility where walkers and bikers might enter the roadway. He presented letters indicating approval by the Pathways Committee and Planning Board, and noted the approval of Police Chief John Sullivan, who had expressed concerns about the safety problem posed by the former plan.
The revised plan would involve building a stonewall which would match others built by the DPW and a vertical curb will provide additional safety where the pathway runs close to the road. The new plan will cost more, but “anyone walking there is well-protected,” he said. The BOS approved work in the town’s right-of-way. A change to the easement will also be necessary and will be voted on at the next Town Meeting.
• Bruce Freeman Rail Trail. The BOS signed the Inter-Municipal Agreement for the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail between the towns of Acton, Carlisle, Concord and Westford. It was noted the bike trail now stops at the north side of Rt. 225 and this agreement will allow Phases 2A and 2C extending the trail through the four communities to go forward. Carlisle’s piece is 2% of the mileage, with 57% in Acton, 39% in Concord and 2% in Westford.
• Town Center pathways. Stevenson said the Pathways Committee will not be able to hit their target date of Old Home Day for completion of the pathways chip seal. “They needed five non-rainy days in June and haven’t had it.” Other than that, the project is going very well. He thanked Deb Belanger for her work on the pathways, saying, “It’s easy for a project to burn out volunteers if you don’t have a volunteer like Deb on your committee.”
• Abandon wastewater plant? The Board of Health has raised the question of whether to go back to a Title 5 system at the school and mothball the wastewater treatment plant, which is greatly underutilized and very expensive to run. Another possibility would be to tie other buildings such as the Gleason Library and Village Court into the system. A plan to purchase waste from other towns was vetoed by the BOH due to concerns with controlling what’s in it. The BOS agreed that someone needs to look into the costs of piping, pumping and connecting to the treatment plant and determine if adding other buildings is feasible.
• School regionalization. Selectman Doug Stevenson said the Carlisle School Committee will be looking at applying for a grant in conjunction with Concord to examine full regionalization. “There is a significant amount of push from the state to consolidate smaller school systems,” said Stevenson, noting there are financial incentives as well as penalties proposed, including loss of state funding. “I’m not particularly excited about it,” he added, but “if it’s going to be forced upon us we need to be out ahead of the curve.” The CSC has discussed a superintendency union and voted not to recommend the proposal because of limited cost savings. The committee is still looking for ways to find efficiencies, and there are some suggestions in the study commissioned this spring that may be considered.
• ATC. The South Street Realty site plan review will be opened at the next Selectmen’s meeting, to consider changes to the outside of the Assurance Technology Corporation property at 84 South Street. ∆
© 2009 The