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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Scituate Zoning Board of Appeals, November 1, 2007
Scituate Zoning Board of Appeals
November 1, 2007
OTHERS: Neil Duggan, Building Commissioner/ZEO Jason Talerman, Town Counsel
MEETING CALLED TO ORDER:
Meeting was called to order at 7:15 PM.
Continued from October 4, 2007: Herring Brook Meadow, LLC of 265 Newbury Street, Peabody, MA 01960 applies pursuant to General Laws, Chapter 40B, Section 20 through 23, as amended, for the issuance of a Comprehensive Permit authorizing the applicant to construct 60 condominium units to be called “Herring Brook Meadow” on land located at 126-132 Chief Justice Cushing Highway in Scituate.
James Comeau from Pennoni Associates and Daniel Garson from Woodward & Curran were present.
Mike McGowen from the Design Review Committee was present.
Mario J. Digregorio, Professional Wetlands Scientist was present, representing the Citizens for the Protection of Herring Brook.
Albert Bangert introduced Mike McGowen from the Design Review Committee.
Mr. McGowen discussed his memo submitted to the Board on October 31, 2007 (see file). His Board had spent a lot of time reviewing the plans and felt they were at the preliminary stages. He felt the elevations did not match the floor plans that were submitted and he would have like to see a roof plan and the sides of the buildings.
Albert Bangert- wanted to address the safety issues.
Mike McGowen- the back bedrooms had limited exterior exposures. He questioned if you could even fit a window in some of the bedrooms and, whether they met code vent compliances. If they shifted the building they could solve those problems.
Mike McGowen- the applicant made a small attempt to address some issues but they were not anywhere near complete. There should be some footprint adjustments. Use of the stones seems arbitrary and fragmented. He was not apposed to the mix of materials but the design was very preliminary. He suggested that building B be moved forward.
Brian Sullivan- asked if the septic system would be located in the front. He felt that Mr. McGowen had put more thought into the design than the applicant.
Mike McGowen- unit seventeen, in building one was missing closets on the exterior locations of the buildings.
Mike McGowen- they do not.
J. Talerman- discussed the Boards request to break up the mass of the buildings. Asked if Mr. Gowen agreed with this.
Mike McGowen- all his comments from the first memo stand. Also, the windows on all the buildings were to small and unit seven had a 3-foot window in the living room facing route 3A.
Edward Tibbetts- these plans were submitted at the last hearing. Felt this was another example where the applicant only started to work with them.
J. Talerman- the elevation should match the footprint.
Brian Sullivan- had questions regarding the marketability for the units.
Sara Trezise- complimented the Design Review for their input.
J. Talerman- asked if the proposal would be more feasible as a townhouse design.
Mike McGowan- he personally liked the Autumn Woods 40B design.
Sara Trezise- there was currently 39 condos on the market in Scituate at around $490,000 all on the market for over 200 days.
Edward Tibbetts- felt the proforma would probably need some revisions.
Brian Sullivan- it should have been updated.
J. Talerman- marketability is something the site approval agency should approve.
Werner Boel introduced Mario DiGregorio who was the wetlands scientist hired by the Committee for the Preservation of Herring Brook. Mr. DiGregorio showed aerial photos of the wetlands he believed were located on the property.
Brian Sullivan- asked if the wetlands were delineated behind the Kingsland property.
Werner Boel- yes, and they did it without Kingsland’s permission.
Mario DiGregorio- was a professional wetland scientist with 25 years experience in Southeastern MA, Cape and Islands. He referred to his report dated October 5, 2008 that was submitted to the Board (see file). He did not agree with SITECS report, which stated that the site was isolated land subject to flooding. Mr. DiGregorio stated he found more than 50% of wetland plant indicators both within and outside the so-called ILSF. His findings found wetland plants to the east into the area designated as salt marsh and bordering vegetative wetlands by the applicant’s engineer. He found plant life such as red maple, switch grass and jointweed. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services classified these plants as factored wetlands. There were also important indicators of wetland hydrology in this connector area, including stained leaves, drainage patterns in the soil and fluted trunks with buttressed roots. This was evidence that the plants were trying to get their root systems out of the ground and away from the water. His professional opinion was that the applicant did not accurately portray the extent of the vegetative wetlands in the open field in their submitted documents. The wetlands currently extend to the east and southeast of the project site, rendering the correct designation of the wetlands as BVW and ILSF. A revised ANRAD should be required to incorporate the new wetland designation. If the applicant disturbed these areas they would need to replicate the wetlands onto another part of the uplands on the site.
Albert Bangert- asked what he would he define as upland.
Mario DiGregorio- any piece of land that is non-wetlands. They could not replicate it off site. Under 1055 a maximum of 5,000 square feet of BVW fill is allowed, with a minimum of 1:1 restoration. He felt the project does not qualify as a limited project. It’s obvious they would not get under the 5,000 square feet with the current project. He felt that he Conservation Commission should look at it.
Albert Bangert- what were the requirements for a buffer zone if this was vegetative wetlands.
Mario DiGregorio- there would be 100-foot buffer zone and a 50-foot no touch zone.
Brian Sullivan- asked when the site was flagged.
Mario DiGregorio- three years ago.
Brian Sullivan- after it was flagged the BSC (Boston Survey Company) moved the flags around. He asked why two other wetlands scientist miss what he saw at this site.
Mario DiGregorio- he gave particular attention to the north, which in his opinion, the other scientist did not.
Brian Sullivan- they may have looked at the front of the property and not the rear.
Mario DiGregorio- if they went out there now, they would probably agree with his findings. Wetland hydrology drives wetland vegetation. There would be changes with the vegetation over time.
Albert Bangert- asked if the plowing and planting of the winter rye could disguise the plants when the BSC came out.
J. Talerman- the ORAD that was filed with the Conservation Commission did not delineate or determine the BVW. He felt there might have been an assertion to “not worry about the field because it was agricultural”.
Mario DiGregorio- felt if they paid attention to the off site connector, they would have found the same results as him.
Edward Tibbetts- they focused on the project sites and not to the south and east.
Mario DiGregorio- SITEC did not focus off the site.
Gloria Hollstein- Rod Gaskill gave a presentation, which he stated they did put down winter rye in 2005, so they planted it twice.
Mario DiGregorio- alterations such as plowing would make soil analysis somewhat problematic.
J. Talerman- asked if a forensic person could analyze the soil.
Mario DiGregorio- it takes a long time for hydro changes in the disturbed soil to show up.
J. Talerman- talks about the Arm Corp of Engineer’s report (see file), which said there was no evidence of hydrology.
Mario DiGregorio- has not seen this report. He felt that hydrologic soils did exist.
Neil Duggan- clarified that Rod Gaskill did agree with Mario about the hydrology at the site.
Mario DiGregorio- he agreed with that statement.
Kathy Donahue- in the 70’s the Watson family requested a drainage system, so there may have been something on the site.
Samantha Woods from the North and South River Commission- had some concerns and felt the Board should not approve the project.
Plans and Drawings
Mr. Bangert introduced Jim Comeau from Pennoni Associates.
Mr. Comeau referred to the October 4, 2007 letter from Janet Stearns (see file). He had numerous comments for the applicant’s traffic consultant, which had not been addressed. Item number 8; they haven’t located hydrants and he had concerns with adequate flows and pressures. Item number 10; the applicant would need to itemize every waiver they were asking for. Item number 11; third round of peer review was done that evening not when the letter was written. Mr. Comeau felt it was an improvement over the 5-building layout. The last plans submitted by the applicant were missing a light, septic system and utility plans. His most critical comment was that there was no spill over parking because is important not to create choke points for emergency vehicles. A good spill over number would be 30-40 spaces on the site. He felt that two cars per unit was not realistic.
Edward Tibbetts- a three bedroom could require a third car in the parking lot.
J. Comeau- they should have two handicapped spots per building.
Edward Tibbetts- would like some units to be handicapped accessible.
Neil Duggan- townhouses are exempt, but there may be some restriction under the Fair Housing Act.
J. Comeau- there is no wheelchair ramps and this needs to be worked out. They need to work on the elevations, some locations are without guardrails and they have not addressed stops signs and stop lines. They should consider a cross walk across route 3A.
J. Comeau- they need to look at the location of the roof runoff.
Gloria Hollstein- asked about the salt and snow storage areas.
J. Comeau- this would also need to be address.
J. Comeau- the applicant did not provide a utility plan and a landscaping plan. Mr. Comeau wanted to address the front yard setback, which didn’t include the anitdrone system. They need to itemize their waivers and lastly he was requesting a copy of the access permit.
Neil Duggan- talked about the evidence submitted (see file) that the cart path is a private way.
Mike McGowen- asked about the two trash receptacles areas and wonder if trucks would be able to access.
Albert Bangert- had issues with public health, safety and environmental issues.
Brian Sullivan- the Board has enough information to close the hearing
Sara Trezise- was upset that the applicant did not show for the hearing and felt he did not intend to provide the Board with the information they had been asking for.
Brian Sullivan moved to close the public hearing.
Leslie Kilduff- would like to mention the impact that this development would have on the water to the town.
Kathy Donahue- the neighbors report had documented the concerns about the water. She asked whether the applicant was obligated to supply a proforma.
J. Talerman- they had submitted an old one from 2005. The Board did request an updated one but the applicant refused to supply it.
Frank Kilduff- had concerns that the density would cause a traffic problem/danger on 3A.
Gloria Hollstein- Umass Boston led by Margery Franket was doing research on the site. She would like her names in the record.
Susan Delider- asked if this was a normal way for a developer to act.
Albert Bangert- it shouldn’t be but it has happened before.
J. Talerman- it’s at the high end.
Susan Daileader- would like to know how anyone could make a decision.
Russ of C J Cushing Highway- had concerns with flooding, and the sale of the units.
Sara Trezise seconded Sullivan’s previous motion, all in favor, unanimous.
J. Talerman- talked about an MIT study he went to which explained that the statistics seem to say that a denial would have the same results as an approval with conditions on appeal. He advised the Board not to make their decision based on what the Housing Appeals Committee would do. There was an 80% possibility that the developer would succeed.
Edward Tibbetts- worried about a remand.
Albert Bangert- had concerns with the wetlands and conservation issues. Would like to see the project cut in half.
Sara Trezise- felt they did not show where the wetlands were at all. The applicant refuses to fund an independent review of the wetlands lines.
Brian Sullivan- had always tried to work with developers. He kept coming back two questions on flooding and wetlands, which he feels they did not address during the hearing process. He would deny the application on grounds of lack of information.
Sara Trezise- agreed with Mr. Sullivan. She felt forced to deny the application for misinformation and lack of information.
J. Talerman- suggested he would write a rough draft that would need to be filed by November 13, 2008.
Bangert moved accepts the minutes from August 2, 2007, September 12, 2007 and September 20, 2007, seconded by Trezise, all in favor, unanimous.
Bangert moved to continue the deliberations to November 6, 2007, located at the Town Hall, seconded by Trezise, all in favor, unanimous.
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