Published in the August 6, 2015 edition
By DAN TOMASELLO
NORTH READING — Alison Carlson, 15 Hill St., appeared before the Secondary Schools Building Committee (SSBC) to reiterate her request for trees and landscaping to be planted behind her property on July 28.
Carlson, who abuts the secondary schools, informed the Transcript in a phone interview she requested that trees be planted behind her property to provide screening and buffering to the secondary schools complex before voters approved the project in 2012. She made the request again earlier this year but the request has not been acted on by the SSBC.
SSBC Chairman Chuck Carucci said funds are currently tight as the project winds down and noted only $175,000 remains in the project’s contingency fund. He noted the SSBC approved landscaping requests for several abutters to the project but he said it’s impossible to make everyone happy at this point in time.
“We would like to (help) everybody if we could,” said Carucci.
Carlson said she made sacrifices throughout the secondary schools project. She said during the meeting she was assured by the SSBC that landscaping would be installed near her property.
SSBC member Jerry Venezia disagreed.
“I just want to make it clear that no one on this committee made any recommendations about landscaping,” said Venezia.
SSBC member Sean Delaney agreed with Venezia’s sentiment.
“I wish we had back the $38,000 or $40,000 we gave to the neighbors behind the schools” said Delaney. “We need it. I’d like to have it back.”
Additional concerns raised
Carlson also raised several other concerns about the project during the meeting.
The abutter also asked about an odor coming from the wastewater treatment plant. In an interview with the Transcript, she said the odor is noticeable when school is not in session due to the way the wastewater treatment plant’s flow is managed.
Carucci said as long as the charcoal filters are changed regularly, there should not be any more problems. However, he requested Carlson reach out to the SSBC if the odor continues.
Carlson said the problem has been resolved since last week’s SSBC meeting in an interview with the Transcript.
In response to a question from Carlson about plans to raze the old high school, Ed Whelan of PMA said contractors will not be using a wrecking ball to demolish the old high school and the razing will take place gradually. He said it will take about three months to raze the high school.
Carlson also inquired about the anticipated parking crunch that the SSBC and school officials are anticipating this fall sports season.
Superintendent of Schools Jon Bernard said contractors began working on the teacher parking lot near the old high school sooner than anticipated with a goal of making parking spaces available to townspeople coming to games this fall. Carucci noted there will be ample parking behind the secondary schools.
Carlson also raised concerns about lighting from the high school stairwell reflecting into her home from November to May. She informed the Transcript she has been working with Building and Grounds’ Wayne Hardacker to try and resolve the issue.