The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, April 30, 2010

Zoning Board of Appeals continues Benfield Farms review

The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met on April 22 to continue the hearing on the 40B application for the Benfield Farms development. The hearing began with Greg Peterson of Indian Hill addressing the board.

Peterson, who spoke independently and not as a representative of any board or committee, was asked by Selectman John Williams and Planning Board Chair David Freedman, to speak about issues concerning the easement required to be recorded for the Benfield Farms project (see “Housing Authority to look at Benfield easements"). At the time the Benfield backland on parcel 4 was deeded to Conservation Commission (ConsCom) in 2007, the Selectmen put a road easement in place, but it did not extend to the land controlled by ConsCom. Peterson said that while there is no need to go to the state legislature – there is no change of use of this conservation land – it is important that “there is a clear chain of control” of access, which an easement would provide.

Peterson further suggested to Williams and Freedman that they begin the parallel process to get the easement location set by developing an agreement between ConsCom, the Housing Authority and the Recreation Commission as soon as possible. He said that when NOAH, the firm building the housing, applies to the Department of Environmental Protection for the public water supply permit, it will be important to show they have the required access to the property.

The applicant, Phil Giffee of NOAH and his associate from Meridian Engineering, updated the ZBA with the peer review process. At present, they noted that they may have to change the shape of a small water control basin on South Street, and they also received an email from ConsCom notifying them that a newly identified vernal pool may require an additional habitat study.

Giffee also said they met with Building Inspector John Luther regarding cistern size, sprinkler system size, fire safety and fire alarm connection. Luther and ZBA Chair Ed Rolfe disagreed about whether or not the cistern and fire safety equipment was outside of the purview of the ZBA hearing. Rolfe contended that the Carlisle Fire Chief had made specific requests about required safety resources, including that a cistern must be present. Those requests must be considered in the overall decision of the application, Rolfe added. “We need to take [the Fire Chief’s] requests seriously.”

Wrapping up the peer review process status, the Meridian engineer stated that the traffic and septic issues are presently excluded. “The crash data [from Mass Highway] will be included in response to the report.... We don’t have the septic system review data from Niche [Engineering] yet.” Giffee added that they will have updated plans on lighting and fixtures at the next meeting.

Rolfe said that they would like to have all the waiver information in place by May 5 so that people can have an opportunity to comment on them.

In addition, he said, “I propose to look at the previously granted conditions [from other 40B special permits] and start to look at them and discuss them” before the close of the hearing. In that way, concerned parties are open to offer their comments and suggestions while they can before the hearing closes and the ZBA begins to deliberate. The hearing was continued to May 5 at 7 p.m. ∆

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