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Scituate Planning Board, January 22, 2009
SCITUATE PLANNING BOARD MINUTES January 22, 2009
Members Present: Mr. Donald Walter, Chairman, Mrs. Donna Chisholm, Vice Chairman, Mr. Robert Vogel, Mr. William Limbacher
Members Absent: Mr. Mark Fenton, Mrs. Patricia Brennan Finnie
Others Present: Ms. Laura Harbottle, Town Planner
Mrs. Walter called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m.
ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA: Mrs. Chisholm moved to accept the agenda. Mr. Limbacher seconded the Motion and the vote was unanimous.
Ms. Brown stated that they would like to enclose the front porches to give them more space in the gift shop. They currently have another space across the street where they sell their apparel. Due to the economy, it would be best to close the shop across the street and move everything back over to the gift shop. By enclosing the porch below, it would allow more room to accommodate the merchandise. The change to the porch above will enlarge the living area on the second floor. Ms. Brown told the Board she met with the Design Review Committee. Their input was invaluable and will end up saving them money. They offered good ideas regarding changes to the windows. Ms. Brown said they have revised the plans to reflect these changes.
Ms. Harbottle stated that this is a minimal change. The portion getting closed in is about 84sqft and when completed, there would still be under 600sqft of retail space. From the parking and zoning standpoint there should be no problem. Mr. Walter said that working with Design Review and staying within the footprint of the building makes a win win situation.
Mr. Limbacher moved to approve the Site Plan Waiver with standard conditions. Mrs. Chisholm seconded the motion and the vote was unanimous.
Old Business, New Business, Correspondence, Administrative Items, Updates
Accounting: Motion duly moved by Mrs. Chisholm, Seconded by Mr. Vogel, and voted unanimously to pay the following:
Mr. Limbacher asked the Board if they all received a copy of the brochure from P.V. Sullivan regarding wind turbines. He stated that they have expressed an interest in putting in small turbines. Mr. Limbacher suggested they come in and speak with the Board.
Ms. Harbottle informed the Board that she is in the process of getting the Housing Plan off to the State. We are waiting for minutes of the Selectmenís meeting when it was approved, which are required sent with the plan. The Housing Authority also approved the plan.
Ms Harbottle stated we are in the process of putting a zoning layer into the GIS system.
Ms. Harbottle told the Board that the Water Resources Committee has asked her to come to one of their meetings next week to talk about zoning on the South Swamp.
Mr. Steven Bjorklund addressed the Board. He stated he is an associate member of the Conservation Commission and this project does not have to go before Conservation for any approvals. We are requesting 3 Form A lots to be approved. We have provided 2 separate plans with frontage and area required by zoning bylaw. These are located on Cushing Road. I had a conversation with Paul Scott from DPW and he verified that the town does plow and sand this road. The Fire Chief has no problems as far as access goes. Both plans require a common driveway. One plan requires a three-lot common driveway the other a 2-lot common driveway, which is an Administrative Review rather than a Common Driveway Special Permit. We went through both plans with the State and our preference is to have the three-lot common driveway leaving only one access out to Cushing Road and pushing the house on lot B further away from the tomb location. Also, we have discussed restrictions on the back of the lot with the State.
Ms. Harbottle said the property is in the water resource protection district. The applicant will make the change on the plan. These are Form A applications so we can only look at access and frontage. We can address issues regarding excavation of the road for the water main etc. if a Common Driveway application is submitted. I do think the best plan will allow an easement over the whole back of the lot to obtain a buffer to the tomb.
Mr. Walter asked the Board for comments. Mr. Limbacher asked if the applicant is asking to have both Form Aís approved. Mr. Bjorklund replied yes. Mr. Limbacher asked how far back the house on the middle lot is from where the existing house is. Mr. Bjorklund said they are not sure exactly where they would put the house at this time but probably about 40í behind the existing home that is there now. Mr. Walter asked if Cushing Road was a through road. Mrs. Chisholm replied yes.
Mr. Walter asked the public for question or comments. Merle Alexander, 7A Cushing Park Road stated that for the record it is Cushing Park Road not Cushing Road and that it is a private way. I would like to know what rights if any the developer has to come up our road and make it a public way. We have certain rights as a private way and we will have to pull the Scituate Zoning Bylaws to point that out. Mr. Bjorklund replied that it is actually a State owned road. As far as public access is concerned the State can allow anyone they want to access that road. Our developing this property does not make it a public way. Someone would have to go to Town Meeting for road acceptance and have it voted that way. Any property abutting the roadway has access to the roadway to make improvements etc. just as the Form Aís did on the other side subject to the rights of everyone else. We canít go in and build the road in a way you canít access your property. We are not looking at major changes to the road. We are putting an 8Ē water line so we can put a fire hydrant up there. We will then repair the road so that there is no damage left to the roadway. Ms. Alexander asked where the hydrant would be located. Mr. Bjorklund replied that it will be up to the Fire Chief but in a previous discussion with him he said it would be located about here (pointing to plan in the middle of lot B). Ms. Alexander asked what the width of the roadway should be to be considered adequate for emergency vehicles. Mr. Bjorklund responded that the adequacy is up to the Fire Chief. Ms. Alexander pointed out that besides the graveyard, there is a plaque on the road, Senator Hedlund came out and planted a tree and we want provisions that none of this will be disturbed. Mr. Bjorklund replied that they can show him where these things are and they will make sure they are not disturbed.
Mr. Jeff Carle, 9 Cushing Park Road said he is concerned with what will happen to the trees if you widen the road. Ms. Harbottle replied that no one said the road would be widened. Mr. Carle responded that the road isnít going to take patches. Ms. Harbottle replied that the road would be rebuilt to the width that it is now but with the proper amount of top coating.
Mr. Walter stated that before the Board tonight are 2 Form A plans. The Board is required to look at the dimensions on the lots. The questions being asked are very good and good for the developer to hear but those will be discussed at the hearing for the Common Driveway Special Permit. Ms. Alexander pointed out that there are 2 key Board members missing at tonightís hearing. Mrs. Chisholm explained what Ms. Alexander is referring to is that at the last meeting, she, Mr. Fenton and Mrs. Brennan Finnie felt that two houses would be better than three if that were an option. Mr. Fenton and Mrs. Brennan Finnie are not here tonight. Mr. Bjorklund explained that is why he is submitting 2 Form A plans. One will require a Common Driveway Special Permit and the other will not but will have 2 access points. I wanted to prove I could still have 3 lots without the common driveway so there would not be discussion on whether we should be building 2 or 3. I am entitled to 3 with 1 or 2 driveway entrances. I would prefer to do 3 with 1 driveway entrance.
Mr. Walter told Mr. Bjorklund that if you apply for a Common Driveway, I would like to see the existing houses and the location of the tomb on the plan.
Mr. Bjorklund explained that they are doing a water improvement plan showing where the water line will come in. He said that anyone who has water pressure issues please let him know so he can try to improve it. Ms. Harbottle stated that DPW implied that they would have to tie in. Mr. Bjorklund said he spoke to Paul Scott who agreed that because it is a private road they couldnít force someone to tie in when they have their own service tied to Neal Gate Street.
Mr. Steve Gammon addressed the Board as supervisor to Cushing Memorial Park. He stated he supports the plan showing 3 lots and one driveway entrance. His reasons for support are to keep the driveway away from the entrance to the park, having the hydrant for fire control and the conservation restriction near the tomb. Mr. Gammon said that he has had extensive talks with the developer about not damaging roots to trees and keeping the road the same.
Mr. Bjorklund explained to the Board the potential plans for deed restriction around the tomb area. Mr. Vogel asked if there is a reduction in taxes if you have a deed restriction on your lot. Mr. Bjorklund replied not really because you are not assessed for every sqft of land. Ms. Harbottle stated that she would really like to see the buffer to the tomb. She asked if there would be underground utilities. Mr. Bjorklund replied that to do underground utilities they would have to construct a pole on that side of the street; otherwise, they could just run wires from the existing poles. They will be checking with the utility company regarding that. He also told Ms. Alexander that he would discuss the name of the road with her after the meeting.
Ms. Alexander asked if he planned on putting a streetlight in stating they donít have them now. Mr. Bjorklund responded no. Mr. Walter asked if there were any more comments from the public. There were none. Mr. Limbacher stated that both plans appear to meet all the requirements for Form Aís.
Motion: Mr. Limbacher moved to endorse both Form Aís. Mr. Vogel seconded and the vote was unanimous.
Mr. Mirabito also representing the applicant addressed the Board. He stated the property is just over 8 acres. We are proposing 2 house lots. We would bring the water main in off Hatherly Road through the existing right of way and put a hydrant in. The Fire Chief may want an additional one. The wetland line has been agreed to by Conservation. There is a brook going through the lower portion of the property that is shown on the Floodplain and Watershed Protection District Map. Lot 1 has an approved septic system we would be doing additional perc tests on the other lot. Three to three and one half acres will remain open space. There is very little grading and drainage would be a grass swale. Other than some minor work to the roadway and the water main there is very little work that needs to be done.
Ms. Harbottle said this is an interesting piece of land that hasnít been built on for many years. She feels this is because there are some issues. Access is one of the issues. Section 3.10.2 of the Subdivision rules addresses adequacy of the way. The road looks different than it did 5 years ago. It appears to have been widened. It would be good to get more information on this road. Is it a public way or private way and does it come all the way out to Hatherly Road. The benefit would be to limit the density to 2 homes. We would not have to worry about a 40B on this parcel.
Mrs. Chisholm asked if the Board went to Town Council to ask about the road. Ms. Harbottle replied that the applicant would have to put up the funds to do that. She said she had conversations with the applicant regarding this and nothing has happened to date. Mr. Vogel asked if the way connects to Mann Hill Road. Ms. Harbottle replied she does not think it connects all the way through and believes it is a paper street. Mr. Vogel asked who owns the land the road traverses. Mr. Ohrenberger responded that the road is a way in existence. It did go through to Mann Hill Road but when the school was built for St. Francis the asphalt was dumped there. There was a house and there is still a foundation in there. There is a Land Court plan where the Land Court approved this road in 1927. You can see back in the 50ís that this road went all the way through at that time. This road has a right to pass and be passed. I am not sure what Laura is referring to. We are not threatening a 40B on this parcel. I donít understand what you would need to ask Town Council. It is up to the Board to make a determination under 3.10.4 after consultation with the Fire Chief, DPW and the Police Chief.
Mr. Vogel said that if not considered part of a subdivision you have a cul-de-sac in excess of 600í. The reason we limit this is for public safety. It does bother me that you donít have the redundancy of access that would provide a safer situation. Mr. Ohrenberger responded that it is a way in existence. Mr. Vogel replied it is a way in existence on paper but you canít get a vehicle in from Mann Hill. Mr. Ohrenberger agreed you canít access from Mann Hill but this is a way in existence and there are numerous roads in Scituate that are over 600í and donít have hydrants.
Mr. Walter asked how this plan is different from Cushing Road. Mr. Vogel added that is also a paper road. Ms. Harbottle stated that the other is a Form A. Mr. Walter replied that he agrees but there was discussion about the applicant moving towards a common driveway. Ms. Harbottle stated that at the first informal discussion (Mr. Walter absent) the Board agreed that the interpretation of the bylaw is that the common driveway can come off the middle of the road on a cul-de-sac just not off the end of the cul-de-sac. Mr. Ohrenberger stated this is really a 2 lot common driveway. The frontage is derived off the cul-de-sac and in the definitive plan would be restricted to 2 lots but it doesnít physically have the frontage to get more than 2 houses.
Mr. Limbacher asked what would be done to the road coming in. Mr. Mirabito replied to keep it the same, hard packed gravel. Mr. McLaughlin explained the town maintained the road in the 60ís. I have pictures. Mr. McLaughlin showed pictures to the Board.
Mr. Limbacher asked if they would deed restrict not to subdivide. Mr. McLaughlin replied yes. Mr. Limbacher asked why he wouldnít divide the lots and place one house here and one house here (pointing to plan). Mr. Mirabito responded the placements of the homes are at higher elevations to take advantage of the water view.
Mr. Walter asked the Board if we accept the existing way as adequate and the layout meets requirements then what else do we need. Mrs. Chisholm responded that she is still confused as to what has changed from the last time this was presented and doesnít see new evidence that this is a road. Ms. Harbottle stated that it doesnít appear on any official lists of roads kept by the town. Mr. McLaughlin produced a private listing of roads that came out of the archives belonging to Johnny Bamber that shows the road as being called Old Wood Lot Road. Ms. Harbottle felt as if Old Wood Lot Road sounded like a generic name for a road. Old Woods Road or Old Wood Lot Road is not on the official list of the roads kept by the Town Clerk. Mr. Ohrenberger stated that as he understands it, the lists kept by the Town Clerk are only roads public or private that are publicly maintained by the town. He stated he still doesnít understand why itís germane to the discussion. Mr. Ohrenberger presented a document showing a house that was approved by the Land Court.
Ms. Harbottle said she looked that house up in the tax records from the 1920ís. The site seemed very small. I looked up Emily Jacobs and what she owned at the time. It doesnít appear that this was a house. She owned other buildings such as a blacksmith shop and I think this may have been what that was. She also didnít live in Scituate. She lived in Norwell. Mr. Ohrenberger responded that it doesnít matter because the Land Court based their decision on this being a road. Mr. Vogel asked if there is a written description of that property describing the address being on a certain road etc. Mr. Ohrenberger said you would have to find if the original Land Court abstract from the 20ís even exists anymore. However, lots shown on the plan take priority over metes and bounds descriptions. Presently, the Land Court doesnít have metes and bounds descriptions on any of the Land Court plans.
Mr. Walter asked the public for questions or comments. Mike Vassar, 26 Marion Road stated he has lived here all his life and comes to a lot of meetings. He feels we have a chance to make a low-density development and he hopes the Board would look upon this favorably. Itís a lot of land and he is afraid some State regulations could overrule what the town wants; therefore, he would like to see a low-density project. Mr. Walter asked if there were any other questions or comments. There were none.
Mr. Limbacher stated that we have to resolve the road issue for Mrs. Chisholm. Mr. Vogel said his main issue is with safety and would like to see a letter from the Fire Chief. Mr. Walter asked about the condition of it being an existing way from Hatherly. Mr. Vogel responded that DPW seems to be commenting they need more information on that. Mrs. Chisholm stated that there have been 2 other applications before the Board with a similar situation. She doesnít understand why this is different. If this is a private way and no one knows who owns it then how do we know they have the right to use it for access to the property. Mr.Ohrenberger answered that he is familiar with the 2 applications being referred to and the difference is that they are also paper roads but there is physically nothing there. Mrs. Chisholm asked what has changed from the last time this was presented? Mr. Ohrenberger replied that anything conditioned requires legal access to a property and we will demonstrate that to you. Mrs. Chisholm said this is what we were concerned with in June and I havenít heard any answers to our questions asking if this is a road and who owns it. Mr. Ohrenberger asked Mrs. Chisholm if she has been out there because it is a substantial road that has been maintained. Ms. Harbottle said that it has been largely expanded over what it was. It was like a dirt track. I did see a contractor going in there with gravel and it is now a much wider and better road.
Ms. Harbottle stated that we should also discuss drainage on the road in from Hatherly even though it is a gravel road. Mr. Mirabito replied that they are not proposing changes to the surface of the road because it is more than adequate. Mr. Walter said the reason for discussion on drainage is because it slopes to Hatherly Road. These are details we could get into on the Definitive Plan.
Ms. Harbottle stated that whether the road is public is still an issue. It is not on the Townís list and not maintained by the town. Who will maintain it? Mr. Walter responded that he would like to see the proof that there is legal access from this road. He would also like to know more about the drainage of this existing way. I would expect to see that information with the Definitive Plan. Mr. Ohrenberger responded that they are not saying it is a public road. He stated that as a condition on the Definitive the Homeownerís Association would plow the road and grade it as necessary.
Mr. McLaughlin asked the Board for guidance on going forward with the Definitive Plan. He stated that he has gone down to two house lots to reduce costs on developing the land. He does not want to spend the money necessary to go forward with the project and find out the Board wants expensive improvements to the road. Mr. Walter responded that he is not hearing that from the Board at this time.
Ms. Harbottle also said we should look at the length of a dead end and do we have to take the way into consideration because of the 600í limit. Mr. Ohrenberger stated that this is a way in existence. It is not a road we are proposing to build. It is not a road within a subdivision. Ms. Harbottle read Section 7.2.1 # 6 of the Subdivision rules. The Board had further discussion on the access to the way as well as the length of the way. Mr. Walter asked the Board for a motion.
Motion: Mr. Limbacher moved to approve the Preliminary Plan with the following expectations:
1. The applicant shall show the legal right to utilize the way to access the subdivision, and also to maintain this way and install utilities within it.
3. The Planning Board supports having a Homeownerís Association maintain the access road, subdivision road and other infrastructure associated with the subdivision.
Mr. Vogel seconded. The vote was as follows: Mr. Walter, Mr. Vogel, and Mr. Limbacher voted in favor of the Motion. Mrs. Chisholm was opposed.
Motion to Adjourn: Motion duly Moved by Mrs. Chisholm. Seconded by Mr. Limbacher and voted unanimously to adjourn at 9:50 P.M.
Robert Vogel, Clerk
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