The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, September 17, 2010

Planning Board reviews Carlisle School project

On September 13 the Planning Board continued with its role in the Selectmen’s Site Plan Review of the Carlisle school building project. They discussed input and comments received from various town boards, committees and departments in anticipation of preparing a report to the Selectmen. School Building Committee Chair Lee Storrs, architect Arthur Duffy and Carlisle’s Owner Project Manager Sean Fennell along with several other building committee members and members of the design team participated in the discussion. All memos received will be forwarded to the Selectmen along with the Planning Board report.

For the purpose of administering the provisions of Carlisle’s Zoning Bylaw relating to construction of a new building or alteration of an existing building, the principal use of which is non-residential, site plan approval by the Selectmen is required prior to construction. The intent of the bylaw is to ensure the most advantageous use of all properties within the same district and for the reasonable protection of the legitimate interests of adjoining property owners.

The Planning Board report may recommend conditions or remedial measures to accommodate or to mitigate the expected impacts of the project. The 33 documents that represent the Carlisle School Site Plan Review Application are posted on the Planning Board link of the town website (

Phase 1 of the construction project, involving use of the Spalding building prior to its eventual demolition, received considerable attention as it is likely to be most disruptive of traffic and parking. Several suggestions were made to mitigate problems: 1) Seek an agreement with the Congregational Church for use of its parking area for use by school staff during the school week. 2) Discuss options with the Police Department for occasional two-way traffic on Church Street, under control of a police detail, rather than route northbound construction traffic through the town center. 3) It was suggested that the present condition of Church and School streets be surveyed, while determining whether work should be done on those streets prior to school construction.

Planning Board Chair David Freedman said, “It is my impression that parking has not been looked at in a pro-active way.” He said it is as if the design team concluded, “This is what we are left with and we think it is okay.”

Board member Kent Gonzales, referring to his experience delivering and picking up a Carlisle student, had several detailed suggestions for these operations during Phase 1. School buses will park at the School Street loop in front of the school.

During July and August 2011 blasting and hoe ramming are scheduled to accommodate two large fire protection cisterns and trenches for related pipes and cables. (A hoe-ram is a powerful percussion hammer fitted to an excavator.) Fennel said that 3,000 cubic yards of ledge is to be removed. Planning board member Nathan Brown asked if the blasting could impact neighboring wells. Storrs replied that discussions with a well consultant would determine if a survey is recommended.

A Conservation Commission memo to the Planning Board suggested precautions be taken during the construction to prevent drainage runoff from impacting down-slope wetlands not within the work area.

The Planning Board asked for a summary report to supplement the drainage analysis report since a peer review of the drainage analysis is not planned. A Scenic Road Public Hearing will be needed for School Street.

Reviewing fire lane details for the final campus configuration, Gonzales suggested that it was not necessary to “mar the play area with yellow stripes and yellow letters since it is not a parking surface.” Freedman suggested that a formal written sign-off be requested from the Fire Department on fire lane width and turning radii since it is expensive to make changes after bid documents are released.

Board Administrator George Mansfield will ask the Police Department for formal comments on the application. Coordination was suggested with the Recreation Commission and Old Home Day Committee so that the construction plans and special events do not conflict inordinately.

The Planning Board report to the Selectmen will be finalized at its September 27 meeting. The Selectmen will hold a public hearing on the project on September 28. ∆

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