The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 6, 2009

Carpenito, Galligan recommended to join Zoning Board of Appeals

Three Carlisle residents answered the Zoning Board of Appeal (ZBA) call for new members: Alan Carpenito, a former Selectman, Marty Galligan, former chair of Housing Authority and Kent Gonzales, a current member of the Planning Board. On November 2 Carpenito and Galligan were welcomed by the ZBA, and Chair Ed Rolfe said he would write a letter to the Board of Selectmen asking them to approve and appoint them as ZBA members.

Carpenito and Galligan are both neighbors to the Benfield property, but neither are listed as abutters on the official abutters list filed with the ZBA. Therefore, they would not have to recuse themselves from the upcoming Benfield 40B comprehensive permit hearings because of a conflict of interest.

However, Carpenito, did recuse himself from discussions relating to the Benfield property while he served as a Selectman. According to Town Assessor Melissa Stamp when contacted after the meeting, an abutter is defined differently for different boards. For the ZBA, abutting properties are those within 300 feet. In this case, Stamp explained that Carpenito’s land is over 300 feet from the section of the Benfield Land where the housing will be built, although his land does abut the portion of the Benfield Land that will contain the septic system and well area. Galligan’s property is farther away down South Street.

Because Kent Gonzales is a current member of the Planning Board, ZBA members Kevin Smith, outgoing member Shann Kerner and Emmanuel Crespo stated their opposition to having Gonzales join because of a perceived conflict of interest between the two boards.

As Kerner explained, the Planning Board frequently makes recommendations to the ZBA, particularly during 40B special permit hearings, and the ZBA votes on whether or not to accept them. That Gonzales, as a Planning Board member, would be creating recommendations for the ZBA and then would be sitting as a ZBA member voting on whether or not to accept the Planning Board’s recommendations would be putting Gonzales in a peculiar and potentially conflicted position.

Furthermore, ZBA members stated that previous tensions between the ZBA and Planning Board did not foster a board-to-board relationship where a dual-membership role would flourish.

Gonzales, who stated that he wanted to contribute as much as he could to Carlisle, argued that because Town Counsel did not find legal concerns with residents holding two town board positions, he should be given the opportunity to serve on the ZBA. “I had this dreamy feeling that we could all work together, but that is not the case.”

The ZBA wants two recruits to ensure they will have enough members to form a quorum during the Benfield 40B hearing. The Benfield project to build 26 units of affordable senior rental housing on town-owned land on South Street is being organized by the Housing Authority, to be developed and managed by the non-profit corporation, Neighborhood for Affordable Housing (NOAH). State law Chapter 40B allows affordable housing developers to bypass local zoning regulations and apply to the ZBA for a comprehensive permit. The project must still meet Board of Health and Conservation Commission requirements.

Benfield hearing - Nov. 23 at 7 p.m.

The ZBA will open the hearing for the 40B comprehensive permit application for the Benfield property on November 23 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall. Under state law, the ZBA must close 40B hearings 180 days from the date of the hearing opening.

Shann Kerner departs ZBA

Monday night’s hearing was Shann Kerner’s final hearing as she is moving from Carlisle. Kerner served more than ten years on the ZBA. Chairman Rolfe thanked Kerner for her service and ZBA members reminisced about her lengthy role with the ZBA. Kerner thanked fellow ZBA members, calling her service on the board “an honor.” ∆

© 2009 The Carlisle Mosquito