The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 30, 2009

Planning Board focuses on FY11 budget worries

Responding to a Finance Committee (FinCom) request to review the impact of a potential budget cut of 10% for FY11, Planning Board Treasurer Marc Lamere said at the October 26 meeting that no item or aggregate of items in the budget, even if zeroed out, could accommodate such a severe cut. Chair David Freedman said that staff hours would have to be cut. A 40-minute discussion ensued on the potential impact to board effectiveness and how best to accommodate such a staff-hour reduction. At this time neither Administrator George Mansfield nor Administrative Assistant Gretchen Caywood are full-time. Caywood splits her time with the Planning Board, Board of Health and Historical Commission. A variety of options were discussed, including closing the Planning Board office one day every other week.

As was stated in the Mosquito article, “Planning Board to FinCom: Ouch” (March 13): “Filing fees collected for Planning Board activities pass directly into the town’s General Fund and are not available to support staff salaries or board expenses. Although 53E-1/2 and 53G accounts are funded by the applicant and cover the cost of the Planning Board’s hiring expert consultants, this money cannot be diverted to any use other than payment for consultant review. Staff salaries to provide oversight and to process documentation must be covered by the board’s budget.”

In contrast, fees collected by other departments and commissions, e.g. the Carlisle School Committee (school bus user fee), Council on Aging, Board of Health (septic, well, sanitary inspections), Conservation Commission (wetlands filing fees, Foss Farm user fees), accumulate in revolving accounts that are authorized by Town Meeting vote and can be used for expenses, including staff salaries as appropriate. Carlisle has 11 revolving accounts.

Consensus was reached that Freedman, Vice Chair Michael Epstein, Lamere, and Mansfield would draft a memo responding to the FinCom request. The FinCom request asked that a narrative statement be submitted to the Town Administrator’s office by November 9.

Berry Corner Lane settlement agreement

In other business, the implementation of a settlement agreement on the long-standing suit against the Planning Board regarding a Berry Corner Lane property (Map 7, Parcel 29) is progressing. (See Carlisle Mosquito, February 15, 2002, “Valchuis brothers file second lawsuit” and April 25, 2008,”Berry Corner Lane feud nears resolution”).

Reviewing field notes received from the board’s consulting engineer, LandTech Consultants, Inc., Mansfield and Freedman ventured that the private common driveway had been built to proper standards but, based on its present condition, will need maintenance and repair. The board will await the consultant’s final report and receipt of changes in notations on the plot plan detailing type and frequency of maintenance consistent with the Maintenance Agreement before taking further action. Charles Bennett attended the meeting and identified himself as one of the signatories to the settlement agreement.

Greystone Crossing

Missing rocks, disturbed ledge outcrop on “open space,” and now a septic system retaining wall built on a pedestrian easement on Lot 15 brought renewed board attention to the Greystone Crossing conservaton cluster development off Cross Street. The Conservation Commission and police are investigating the rocks and ledge outcrop disappearance (see “Protected land disturbed near Captain Wilson Lane, rock removed,” Mosquito, October 23). The Planning Board will ask the owner and responsible engineer to attend its next meeting to discuss the retaining wall.

The pedestrian easement was one of the conditions for approval of the Conservation Cluster at Greystone Crossing. In developing a parcel of ten acres or more a developer can receive a Conservation Cluster Special Permit from the Planning Board and thereby realize one additional lot than would be allowed with the usual zoning restrictions. The benefit to the town is preservation of a “natural resource” or point of historic interest such as the rocks, ledge outcrop and trails. Another condition for a conservation cluster is that at least 30% of the parcel must be designated “open space,” either conveyed to the town or a non-profit organization, or held in corporate or trust ownership by the owners of the building lots.

Observing that the engineering firm should have been attentive to the pedestrian easement, the board will consider other safeguards in future documentation to ensure that the Building Inspector, Board of Health and Conservation Commission are readily apprised of similar easements.

Wireless service facilities

The board approved amendments to its Rules and Regulations for Personal Wireless Service Facilities consistent with Zoning bylaw Section 5.9. The document will be posted on the town website: ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito