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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Scituate Planning Board, September 11, 2008
SCITUATE PLANNING BOARD
SEPTEMBER 11, 2008
Members Present: Mrs. Donna Chisholm, Vice Chairman, Mr. Robert Vogel, Mr. William Limbacher, Mr. Mark Fenton, Mrs. Patricia Brennan Finnie, Associate
Members Absent: Mr. Donald Walter, Chairman
Others Present: Ms. Laura Harbottle, Town Planner
Mrs. Chisholm called the meeting to order at 7:34 p.m.
ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA: Mr. Limbacher moved to accept the agenda as written. Mr. Fenton seconded the Motion and the vote was unanimous.
Form A Plan Parcel 2, Tichnor Place, Assessor’s Map # 45-2-24 Applicant: Gregg A. Phinney & Alyson J. Hall Approve access to lot
Mr. Neil Murphy representing the applicants, Gregg Phinney and Alyson Hall, addressed the Board stating they are asking for the Board to endorse a Form A for approval of access to the lot.
Ms. Harbottle stated that she has concerns over the size of the road. She feels that now is the time to ask that the road be widened for safety concerns.
The Board discussed a prior approval of a Form A for an abutting lot. They also discussed the fact that the condition of the road had not changed. For this reason, they feel they should endorse this Form A. Members of the Board stated they feel as though the road has a lovely character that adds to the overall safety of the road. There is a turn around available for fire trucks and other safety vehicles.
Motion: Mr. Limbacher moved to endorse the Form A. Ms. Brennan Finnie seconded and the vote was unanimous to endorse.
Attorney Michael Hayes representing Phil Santiano addressed the Board. He explained that the town is holding a $50,000.00 surety bond and that the project is now done. The problem is that the DPW still has to do a final walkthrough with the engineer on the project. Mr. Santiano had a falling out with the engineer and does not want him on his property. Mr. Hayes stated that Mr. Santiano would like to get back $45,000.00 and have the town hold $5,000.00 until the DPW approves. He would like to use this money to hire another engineer to do the walk through with DPW. Mr. Hayes feels as though everything has been done. He stated the only issue was a crack in the middle of the road but he believes DPW does not feel this is their concern as it is a private road.
Ms. Harbottle told the Board that there are a few issues regarding completion of the project. The DPW still has to do the walk through and address the crack in the road as Mr. Hayes mentioned. However, there are also some issues with access to and the plantings surrounding the detention basin.
After some discussion, the Board felt the town should release a portion of the surety while maintaining enough to insure the outstanding issues are addressed.
Mr. Fenton moved to return $10,000.00 of the surety to the applicant. Mr. Vogel seconded the Motion and the vote was unanimous.
David Johnson from Beals & Thomas, Inc. introduced himself to the board. He also introduced Wayne Chouinard, Beals & Thomas, Inc., who is the engineer responsible for the plans and drainage analysis, Chris Hennessey, Trustee and Mary Ann Bailey, Trustee.
Mr. Hennessey explained to the Board that his parents purchased 50 acres of property at 350 Clapp Road. In 1998 his father conveyed 39.6 acres to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of his grandchildren. Subsequent to that, he entered into a contract with Toll Brothers and their plan was to put in a subdivision; however, they changed their minds and wanted to go 40B. In 2001, his father died and Mr. Hennessey took over with his two sisters as trustees to the project. They ended up in litigation with Toll Brothers at which time their relationship ended. He explained they continued to seek alternatives on developing the property and were not interested in 40B. They are coming to the Board with the plan for The Glen, which would use approximately 7 acres and they would like to sell the rest of the land through Maxwell Trust as conservation land.
Mr. Johnson stated they are proposing a Flexible Open Space Development. They originally showed the Board a conceptual plan that had 10 single-family dwellings.
• All lots are approximately one acre
• Will be keeping 33 of 40 acres in open space
• Low impact development
• Clustered housing
• Looking to create walkways through the open space using existing horse paths and other open areas to avoid negative impact to the existing landscape
• There will be one sidewalk on the Southerly side of the road
• Asking for waiver on looping of the water main because there really isn’t any place to loop it to. The water department and town engineer are in agreement.
• Asking for a waiver on the catch basin manhole pipe system allowing for the country drainage system on that portion of the road.
• Asking for a waiver on the width of grass strip and sidewalk to facilitate the construction of the retaining wall.
Mr. Johnson stated they have received the comments from the Board’s consultant, David Nyman of CEI. They don’t see any problems complying with his suggestions and will respond promptly. Also, Summer Street is a scenic road. They will be constructing an entrance as well as constructing the pipe connection into the constructed wetland. They have flagged trees and will be placing street trees all along the proposed subdivision road. Due to the clustering and distance from the road, you really can’t see the development from Summer Street. There are stonewall remnants that they will be disturbing. Where the constructed wetlands are going, they have flagged trees and will not cut. They will have to remove about 14’ of stonewall to construct the basin and it will be relocated. Mr. Johnson concluded by saying that under FOSD the proposed project is superior to a conventional plan. There is less roadway, less runoff, less municipal services.
Ms. Harbottle commented by saying she feels that the development has some strong benefits such as:
• Low impact technique particularly by using the cul-de-sac for drainage
• Better constructed detention basins
• Dispersion of the runoff through several means rather than one huge drainage basin
• Type of development that fits into Smart Growth
• The town would be interested in acquiring the open space
• There is interest from the DPW to possibly place a water tank on this land to increase water pressure in the area
• Regarding the number of lots on the Conventional Density plan, the Board needs to determine if the land that is going to be open space will be owned by the town, the Maxwell Trust or included in the open space for the development. If the town is going to have control of it the Board may want to look at the rest of the development separately.
• DPW would like a meeting with David Nyman regarding the drainage issues etc.
• Water Resources committee will be discussing their recommendations tonight
• Regarding the drainage on Summer St., the town may need easements granted to the homeowners association to maintain
• There are some driveways crossing over property lines that will require easements
• If the open space is granted to the Maxwell Trust, there should be discussion whether the land for the water pipe can be carved out of that
• Board member(s) should do walk through with Conservation when looking at the trails
• Should discuss the possibility of reusing some of the stone walls on the site
Dave Nyman, CEI, addressed the Board. He stated he was retained by the Board to review this development for technical issues. He said he had not had a chance to meet with DPW regarding this plan yet. He feels that this development is a good example of an overall low impact development approach.
• Overall design minimizes pavement
• Redirects roof drainage from the major drain system
• Application of techniques such as rain gardens, swales and infiltration basins is a big plus
Mrs. Chisholm asked the Board for comments or questions. Mr. Fenton began by stating he is pleased with the low impact design of the development. However, he agrees with Ms. Harbottle that we should have an understanding of ownership of the open space before going further. He also stated he would like to see a redesign, if possible, for the drainage system at the bottom end of the road bordering Summer St.
Mr. Limbacher suggested that the Board should only be looking at the parcel being developed as the other 30 plus acres are not related to the application. He stated the Board has to concur that the conventional makes sense and can be built. He listed the following concerns:
• We need to be clear about how we are addressing the roadway length. It is a cul-de-sac off of the loop. We need to define before acceptance.
• We need to have an understanding of the lots for the septic and basins.
• There are two wetland crossings and the Planning Board can’t grant wetland crossings. Only Conservation Commission can grant them. We need to have them indicate that in all likelihood they would approve them.
Mr. Limbacher asked for clarification on where the access to the additional piece of land in the back will be once the subdivision is built, as there is no access through the subdivision. Mr. Johnson replied there are 21 ˝ acres in the back and the access would be off Bates Lane. Mr. Limbacher stated that a condition he would ask for on a Flexible is that there be no extension of the roadway for further development.
Steve Kosowsky of Design/Housing, Inc. addressed the Board. He wanted to clarify that if you ignore the 21 acres then the total parcel is around 18.2 acres. Under the Open Space plan we are only building on about 6 ˝ acres leaving almost 12 acres, which is almost 2/3 as open space. He also mentioned that the subdivision is designed with limited maintenance for empty nesters. They are not concerned with the use of open space in this development. Mr. Arnold Soloway of Design/Housing, Inc. also added that they built similar units in Marion. He stated they are very conscience of preserving the existing landscape in every way possible.
Mrs. Pat Brennan Finnie asked if there were to be a water tank where would it be located? Mr. Johnson replied that according to his discussion with the Town Engineer and the Water Department they would like it at an elevation of greater than 150. The only portion greater than 150 is the bottom right corner.
Mrs. Chisholm opened the hearing up to the public for questions or comments.
Tim Brooks, 59 Summer Street asked what the impact on wildlife would be particularly the coyotes. Mr. Fenton replied that would be something to bring before Conservation. He feels it is important to consider the wildlife corridor when discussing new development.
Kathy Donohue, 4 Cushing Landing stated she involved in the North and South River Watershed they have been promoting Greenscape for quite a while on the South Shore so it is great to see a project like this that actually is doing it.
Cinde Robbins, 292 Clapp Road stated she wanted to clear up the Maxwell Conservation Trust position on this development. They are very happy with the progression of this development. Their position is that they will take what property is left as open space to CPC for funding. CPC is already aware of it and a proposal has been given to them. They have also talked to the Hennessey’s about Maxwell possibly holding conservation restrictions on the other property.
Ms. Harbottle pointed out that when the town buys something they have to do an appraisal, they have to pay fair market value. There has also been an issue regarding this property when discussed with CPC before whether the watershed that is protected by this land is the Aaron River Reservoir Watershed in Cohasset or the Scituate water supply Watershed. As a Town Planner she feels protecting either one is good but that might not necessarily be the desire of the CPC. Mr. Limbacher responded that the Cohasset CPC might be interested in sharing some of the costs to purchase the property. Mrs. Brennan Finnie added that someday there could be something on the Cohasset border that would benefit our watershed.
Cindy Robbins stated that she had been at the Water Resource Committee meeting earlier in the evening and also attended the meeting a month ago to get their support. She said they wouldn’t give their support unless it’s part of the Water Resource Protection District and they showed her on a map this property is part of this area and they would like to protect it. They voted tonight to completely support the purchase of this open space. Also, some of this property may be involved with Cohasset Watershed and the CPC is going to address that.
Shan Morrissey, 238 Clapp Road wanted to clarify that all property purchased with CPC funds do have to be appraised. The CPC cannot spend more than fair market value but they don’t have to spend fair market value. Cindy Robbins added that CPC traditionally pays $12-15,000 dollars per acre. This is mostly upland that we would be acquiring and considering the price of a building lot in town is $200-300,000 dollars she thinks this is a bargain. Also, given the perspective that this could have been a 40B she feels the Hennessey’s have made quite a concession to allow part of it to be preserved.
Mrs. Chisholm asked for any other public discussion. There was none. Mrs. Chisholm asked the Board for any additional comments. Mr. Fenton stated he will look further into the issue of the common driveway and would like the applicant to return to the next meeting with the following:
• Clear direction from the meeting with the Conservation Commission
• Revisit the drainage on Summer Street
• Make sure all calculations on the upland and lots are accurate
• Address issues in Dave Nyman’s summary
Mr. Harbottle suggested that if the applicant would like to incur the cost, they could have Town Council review the issue of common driveways on cul-de-sacs with a Flexible Open Space Plan. The Planning Board agreed.
Mr. Limbacher moved to continue the hearing to October 9th, 2008 at 8:30pm. Mr. Fenton seconded the Motion and the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Michael O’Neil addressed the Board stating that the Board is still holding $1,000.00 in surety for Doctor’s Hill. He stated that all the work has been completed, the As Builts have been filed and all the departments have signed off.
Mrs. Chisholm stated that they are looking for the certification from the Engineer. Mr. O’Neil replied that it has been on file for over a year. He stated that the As Builts from Mr. Mirabito are his certification. Mr. Limbacher asked why the Board was still holding the $1,000.00. Ms. Harbottle explained it is to cover the cost of incomplete landscaping.
Mrs. Pat Brennan Finnie moved to not return the $1,000.00 at this time. Mr. Limbacher seconded the Motion. There was further discussion among the Board. Ms. Harbottle said she could check with DPW to see if there is language on the As Builts or a separate document stating that the Engineer has signed off.
Mr. Fenton asked if they would accept a friendly amendment that states we will withhold the balance until Ms. Harbottle is satisfied that sufficient certification is in possession of the town. Mrs. Pat Brennan Finnie and Mr. Limbacher agreed. Mr. Limbacher seconded the Motion and the vote was unanimous in favor of the amended Motion.
The Board discussed whether you could endorse a Form A if in doing so you create a non-conforming lot. Mr. Limbacher stated he gained knowledge of a doctrine of property law called Infectious Invalidity. He explained it states you cannot divide a property by making one of the lots non-conforming. In doing so, you infect the conforming lot. Ms. Harbottle stated that the law says that the Board may only take access and frontage into consideration when endorsing a Form A. Any issues regarding zoning would be handled with the Building Dept.
Underground Utilities in Scituate Harbor
Ms. Harbottle stated per our last discussion, there are other towns that have gone through the process. Scituate would have to have a vote at Town Meeting to get the 2% surcharge added to the electric and phone bill to pay for this. Chelmsford has gone through the process. They chose to collect the money up front and then start the work. It has taken 10 years already and they still have not broken ground. Norfolk borrowed the money up front and had the work done right away. They are paying the debt back through the surcharge.
Motion to Adjourn: Motion duly Moved, Seconded, and voted unanimously to adjourn at 10:15 P.M.
Robert Vogel, Clerk
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