APPROVED

 

TOWN OF PELHAM

PLANNING BOARD MEETING

May 19, 2003   

 

The Chairman, Paddy Culbert called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.

 

The Secretary, Mr. Bill Scanzani, called the roll:

 

PRESENT:

Paddy Culbert, Bill Scanzani, Peter McNamara, Gael Ouellette, Robin Bousa, Alternate Bob Yarmo, Alternate Raymond Brunelle, Selectmen Representative Hal Lynde (arrived after the meeting commenced), Planning Director Amy Alexander

 

ABSENT:

 

Henry DeLuca

 

Mr. Culbert informed that Mr. Brunelle would be voting in Mr. DeLuca’s absence.

 

ADMINISTRATIVE

 

Map 9 Lot 2 - Shannon Development Corp. - Hidden Pond Way Subdivision (Carlisle Lane) - Request for Bond Reduction

 

Ms. Alexander said that the applicant had applied for a bond release and asked that the 30% retention amount be waived based upon the condition of the site.  She said the site had no drainage issues (it was sandy), the wetland had been marked and there were no slopes.  She didn’t foresee any issues with the site.  Ms. Alexander said that part of the work remaining was the loam and seed, which was not included in the bond being discussed. 

 

Mr. Lynde arrived.

 

It was noted that the road was built last year, and paved this year.  Mr. Scanzani and Mr. Culbert were not in favor in reducing the bond less than the required 30%.  There was a brief discussion regarding the amount to be reduced and what amount would be retained.  It was confirmed that the current bond amount was $99,000. 

 

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Ouellette) To release $49,940 of the $99,000 bond.  The retained amount will now be $49,060.

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Map 6 Lot 206 - David Mendes - end of Irene Drive - Preliminary Conceptual Review

 

Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates met with the Board to discuss a conceptual review at the end of Irene Drive.  He said that Irene Drive would be extended to Thomas Avenue.  The total acreage was approximately twenty-seven acres, out of which, five lots were being proposed.  Mr. Zohdi said there was a lot of wetlands and went on to point out the wet areas.  He said that the plan would comply with the zoning and the subdivision requirements.  He showed where the wetland crossing was being proposed.  He said the plan had been submitted to the Fire Chief for a discussion regarding what paved road width the Chief would be agreeable to for a small segment of the proposed road.  He wanted to know from the Board what road width would be acceptable.  Mr. Zohdi said that the test pits had been dug and inspected by the Town Health Agent.  He noted that the dredge and fill would be narrowed if the Board allowed the road to narrow.  He said that a ditch line road could be done based upon the regulations and noted that the Board had allowed road narrowing in the past. 

 

Mr. Scanzani asked for the length of the road.  Mr. Zohdi said that Irene Drive was currently approximately 5200ft, and the proposed road would add approximately 1650ft.  Mr. Yarmo asked how many feet would be added to the existing road if a cul-de-sac were designed rather than a road.  Mr. Zohdi said approximately 850ft. would be added and the cul-de-sac would then be 6850ft.  Mr. Culbert said that the cul-de-sac could not be 6850ft. 

 

Ms. Bousa asked what width the wetland crossing would be.  Mr. Zohdi said the wetland crossing would be approximately 210ft. 

 

Mr. Scanzani said he was against narrowing the road, but at the same time felt the plan was not bad for connecting to Thomas Avenue for safety reasons. 

 

Mr. Culbert wanted to know if the wetland disturbance would return to its natural state.  Mr. Zohdi said that approximately 11,000SF would need to be disturbed, but the addition of the cross-culvert would ensure that the water flow would stay the same.  Mr. Yarmo asked what portion of the road would be within the WCD.  Mr. Zohdi said approximately 700ft would be within the WCD.  He pointed out that three reverse curves had been designed to help keep the road out of the WCD. 

 

Mr. McNamara asked how the road width would be narrowed.  Mr. Zohdi said he would like to taper the road to 22ft at Station 6100, and then at Station 6400 to Thomas Avenue he would like to taper the road to 20ft.  He said that the turning radius at Thomas Avenue could be done larger for emergency equipment, which would not further impact the wetland. 

 

Mr. Scanzani asked if the tangent radius would be met.  Mr. Zohdi said that he wouldn’t be able to comply with the subdivision regulations, which he pointed out were incorrect.  Mr. Scanzani was not in favor of the road design as shown due to the curves, but was in favor of the connection to Thomas Avenue.  Mr. Yarmo didn’t feel that the narrowing of the road would save any portion of the wetland.  Ms. Bousa felt the Board should remain consistent and noted that a recent subdivision had been turned down because of the feeling that 22ft. was too narrow. 

 

Mr. Culbert ended the discussion.  Mr. Zohdi thanked the Board members for their input.    

 

OLD BUSINESS

 

Map 11 Lot 93 - Cormier & Saurman Building, LLC - Dutton Road - Proposed Elderly Housing for Site Plan Review and Seeking Special Permit for Wetland Crossing

 

Ms. Ouellette and Mr. Lynde stepped down for this case only.  Mr. Culbert informed that Mr. Yarmo would be voting in place of Ms. Ouellette.  He confirmed with the abutters that there was no longer an open negotiation being discussed between the applicants and the abutters. 

 

Attorney Paul DeCarolis, representing the applicants, met with the Board to discuss the proposed elderly housing site plan review.  He discussed the ownership of Smith Road and the proposed right-of-way, which after a title search was the opinion of Town Counsel (in 1983) that ownership of Smith Road was Mr. Peppe and Mrs. Hayes (who sold the property to the applicants).  It was also the opinion of Town Counsel (in 1983) that the owners of the adjoining property owned the land to the center line of the road.  Attorney DeCarolis provided a copy of the 1983 letter to the Board.  He went on to discuss the building access.  It was his understanding that the Fire Chief was not seeking access by fire trucks on all four sides of the buildings and believed that written comment would be submitted.  He said the Board was able to waive the requirement and if a waiver was required a formal written request could be submitted.  He believed that the ordinance requiring access to all four sides of a building was for multi-story buildings.  He said if the Board was concerned, the applicant could change the buildings to one-story structures.  He ended by noting that the ordinance specifically permitted access way within the WCD, but asked that the Board address the issue once the Fire Chief’s comments had been reviewed. 

 

Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates discussed the plan with the Board.  It was his understanding that the Fire Chief would like access from Smith Road for emergency vehicles.  He said he would like the opportunity to meet with the Fire Chief to discuss the access and what was preferred.  Mr. Zohdi pointed out that one of the wetland crossings was being eliminated and a retaining wall would be built.  However, he said that they would still need to cross the WCD.  He showed the two areas (totaling 750SF) that would have small impacts to the wetlands. 

 

Mr. Zohdi said he would like the opportunity to stake the centerline of the road and have the Board review.  He noted that of the 15 units, twelve would be one-bedroom units and three would be two-bedroom units.  Mr. Culbert asked what the age requirement would be for tenants.  Attorney DeCarolis said the housing would be for people sixty-two years and older.  Mr. Culbert asked if the housing was HUD approved.  Mr. Zohdi said the applicant would not be going through HUD.  Attorney DeCarolis said he would research if the HUD parameter needed to be followed.  Mr. Yarmo asked if age-restrictive developments were required to have a club-house, or office building.  Attorney DeCarolis said that the Town’s ordinance there was no requirement for a club-house and reiterated that he would check the HUD requirements.  He said the Town’s Elderly ordinance required open space.  Mr. Culbert said that if the state’s requirements were more stringent, the applicant would have to follow the state. 

 

Mr. Yarmo asked that the Fire Chief’s opinion be obtained regarding the WCD.  Mr. Scanzani said the file contained a letter from the Fire Inspector dated May 15, 2003 that was vague.  He said the Board should seek clarification.  Ms. Alexander said that she requested a letter from the Fire Chief, who designated the Fire Inspector to submit it.  She said that the Fire Chief told her that all he had ever required was three-sided access to a building.  Mr. Culbert said he wanted a letter from Fire Chief himself.  Mr. Zohdi said he would like to meet with Ms. Alexander and the Fire Chief, at which point he would request a written statement. 

 

Mr. Yarmo said that building one was not consistent with what the Board had done in the past, which was to request that structures be moved from the WCD for rural maintenance.  He asked the status of doing an EIA and having an independent company designate the wetlands.  Mr. Zohdi recalled that the Board wanted Town Counsel’s opinion before a study was compiled.  He requested that the Board review the site and if needed, his client would pay for further research.  He noted that the edge of the wetland was flagged and numbered.  He said he would stake the driveway before the Board reviewed.  Mr. Culbert said that during the site walked the buildings should be flagged, as well as the centerline of the driveway, the corner of the building, the WCD and the wetlands. 

 

Mr. McNamara, who had not yet finished reviewing Town Council’s (Attorney Diane Gorrow) letter, said that one point raised was that the Board was within its power to accept the plan for consideration.  He asked the opportunity to continue reviewing the comments. 

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Ms. Julia Steed Mawson, 17 South Shore Drive, reiterated the abutter’s concern regarding the sensitivity of the wetlands.  She asked if the EIA would be done separately from the engineering.  Mr. Culbert said that was his understanding.   

 

Ms. Shirley Wakefield, South Shore Drive, believed if there were more than ten units in a development a storm water management study, traffic analysis and EIA would need to be done.  Mr. Scanzani said the studies Ms. Wakefield listed were for single-family homes, but this case fell under Elderly Housing.  Mr. Culbert said that some of the studies would need to be done.  Ms. Wakefield asked why the subdivision regulations were different for Elderly housing.  Mr. Scanzani said that the Town’s Elderly Housing zoning was different for single-family housing.  Ms. Wakefield wanted to know how tenants would be able to afford the housing if it weren’t subsidized.  Mr. Culbert said he did not know if the housing would be subsidized, or not.  The rent was not something the Board could address.  Mr. Culbert said that the applicant would have to adhere to the state’s requirement.  Ms. Wakefield asked if there was something to stop the applicant from selling the units as condominiums.  Mr. Scanzani said there would be a deed restriction for elderly housing.  Ms. Wakefield asked if the additional land shown on the plan could later be developed if the wetland were crossed.  Mr. Culbert asked Mr. Zohdi for the length of the driveway.  Mr. Zohdi said the driveway through to Smith Road was approximately 1200ft.  He said that a building restriction could be added to the plan.  Ms. Wakefield was also concerned with the lack of open space and questioned the amount of contiguous land.  Mr. Culbert said that the open space would be reviewed.  Mr. Zohdi said that the site plan regulation and zoning requirement for Elderly Housing called for four acres of high and dry land, which he complied with.  Ms. Wakefield disagreed with Attorney DeCarolis’ suggestion that Smith Road was owned by the abutters.  She said that it had been maintained by the Trustees.  She said that the Trustees also paid taxes on the road until former Town Administrator Jim Pitts informed that taxes didn’t need to be paid for private roads (1990).  Mr. McNamara noted that Town Counsel’s opinion was that the maintenance of the road may be the responsibility of the trustees, but they cannot prevent other properties along the road from using the road.   

 

Mr. Jim Malapan, South Shore Drive, wanted to know if the units were empty for two years if the owner could come back to the Board with a hardship and have the age requirement waived.  Mr. Culbert didn’t feel the Board would allow the age requirement to be waived based upon the density.  Mr. Scanzani said that the owner may be able to go before the Board of Adjustment and request that the Elderly age be lowered from sixty-two years of age to fifty-five years of age.  Mr. Zohdi noted that before an owner could go before the Board of Adjustment, the Planning Board would need to seek relief from the original covenant filed with the NHDES.   

 

Ms. Linda Elliot, Grace Road, asked how snow removal would be handled and where it would be placed.  Mr. Culbert said the owner would have to handle the snow removal and the associated costs.  Ms. Wakefield asked who would maintain Smith Road.  Mr. Culbert had no answer and said the attorney would need to review.  Mr. Zohdi said that the access to Smith Road would be for emergency access.  He said the plan noted that there would be a gate at the access.  Ms. Elliot was concerned with the impact of snow and salt being pushed into the wetlands.  Mr. Culbert said that snow removal was part of maintenance, and believed that snow and salt being added to the wetlands would be taken care of. 

 

Ms. Ruth Gravel, South Shore Drive, asked if the retaining wall would direct water in another direction.  Mr. Zohdi said that the drainage study had been submitted to the Planning Director and had not yet received any comments.  He reviewed the plan and showed where the retaining wall would be placed so that the flow of water would not be stopped.  He said that the plan had yet to be reviewed by the Conservation Commission.  Ms. Gravel discussed a previous development in the area that affected the flow of water.

 

Ms. Barbara  Doucot, South Shore Drive, was an affected abutter to a development on Armand Drive in which the water flow had changed post-development and flooded her property making it impossible to access her parcel.  She said the engineer and the Board (at that time) assured her the drainage would be done properly.  After numerous letters to the Town from her and her attorney, nothing had been corrected.  Ms. Elliot said that her property and septic system was also being affected by the added drainage flow.  Ms. Alexander said that she would check on the situation with the Town’s Road Agent.  

 

Ms. Alicia Hennessey, Dutton Road, believed that the zoning regulations called for a minimum of five acres of high and dry land.  She asked if the plan was in compliance.  Mr. Zohdi answered yes and pointed out that there was an additional portion of land that needed to be better shown on the plan.  Ms. Hennessey also felt that the viable open space should be shown on the plan along with an explanation of how it would be used.  Mr. Zohdi said that for the next meeting he would compute the exact wetland and open space area.  Ms. Hennessey felt that there was an issue with the wetland being disturbed and felt the value would be decreased.  She also noted that the wetland was a valuable watershed for Little Island Pond.  She also didn’t feel that the building maintained the integrity of Dutton Road since a parking lot would be visible. 

 

Ms. Wakefield asked how many gallons the septic would be able to handle.  Mr. Zohdi discussed the state’s requirements and noted that a similar building in Windham had been reviewed (which was currently serviced by Pennichuck Water) for water usage computation.  Mr. Culbert noted that the state’s approval would be needed.  Ms. Wakefield was concerned if the septic system failed.  Mr. Zohdi used Pelham Plaza as an example of how a septic system could be reconstructed without overflow issues.  Mr. Culbert noted that there were state requirements for protecting the pond in the event that the septic system failed.

 

Ms. Steed Mawson asked for further explanation of how a retention wall worked.  Mr. Zohdi outlined how a retaining wall worked and offered to meet with Ms. Steed Mawson to show her examples.  He said the water would flow under the road and flow as it did pre-construction. 

 

Mr. Scanzani found no waiver requests in the file and asked if any would be coming.  Mr. Zohdi said there were no requests at this time.  Mr. Scanzani asked the abutters if there was something that the developer could do to within the development of the project, by constructing it in a certain manner, which would help solve a current drainage situation.  Ms. Doucot was concerned that a similar situation as Armand Drive would happen with this project.  Mr. Culbert said that because of the wetlands the Town’s engineering company would scrutinize the plan. 

 

Ms. Bousa noted that the plan and the drainage study should be sent out for review by the Town’s engineering company.  She said that the Board should also inform what studies would be needed.  Mr. Culbert requested that an EIA be done (area wide).  It was noted by Ms. Bousa that a traffic study would not be needed, as she explained at a previous meeting.  She said that site access was the important issue.  Mr. Culbert went on to request that an independent wetland study be done using Mark West’s group.  He said that the plan should also be reviewed by the Conservation Commission.  Mr. Yarmo requested that the site walk be done before Conservation reviews the plan.  Mr. Culbert said that the site walk will be scheduled once the studies are received. 

 

At the request of Mr. Zohdi, the plan was date specified to July 7, 2003.     

 

Ms. Ouellette and Mr. Lynde rejoined the Board.  Mr. Culbert informed Mr. Yarmo that he would no longer vote for Ms. Ouellette.

 

NEW BUSINESS

 

Map 5 Lot 75 - Keyes Hill Realty Trust - off Keyes Hill Road - Proposed 7-Lot Subdivision and Seeking Special Permit for Wetland Crossing for Re-submission

 

Ms. Alexander noted that there had been a problem with abutter notification, therefore abutters had been re-notified.  

 

Mr. Scanzani read the list of abutters aloud.  The file did not contain any written correspondence from abutters.  There were two abutters present whose names were not read aloud, but had received notification from the Planning Department of the meeting.  Mr. Scanzani reviewed the certified mail cards and confirmed that all the abutters had been notified. 

 

Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates presented the plan to the Board.  He began by thanking the Board for attending the site walk.  He said there was a general consensus from the Board at the site walk to move the road, and lose a lot.  He noted that three lots would be duplex lots and the remaining would be single-family lots.  He reviewed with the Board how the plan had changed.  He noted that the applicant may not build duplexes, but that they wanted to reserve their right. 

 

Mr. Yarmo said that the Conservation Commission could not support the plan because of the wetland impact.  Mr. Zohdi showed the two wetland crossings on the plan.  He said that he tried to get the road between the two wetlands and keep in the high and dry area. 

 

Mr. Brunelle asked if the duplex lots would share driveway, or if there would be additional clearing to access each house.  Mr. Zohdi said that the regulations called for one driveway per lot.  Mr. Brunelle was concerned with the clearing on the lots for the driveways. 

 

Mr. Scanzani reviewed the plan with the Board and recalled from the site walk per the soil scientist that the larger wetland should be mitigated even at the expense of the smaller wetland.  He pointed out that because of the road construction and the tree canopy being removed, the larger wetland will change over time.  He felt that when a site was being reviewed environmentally, it should not be reviewed to save every wetland.  He said when sites are reviewed, they should be reviewed with an environmental scientist so the important wetlands could be protected.  Mr. McNamara asked what Mr. Scanzani would suggest for this plan.  Mr. Scanzani said that he would have the soil scientist that attended the site walk meet with the Board and provide the same testimony for protecting the wetland as he provided at the site walk.  Mr. Zohdi said he would ask the soil scientist (Mr. Jim Gove) attend the next meeting. 

 

Mr. Yarmo understood that the road was being moved to help preserve the wetland.  He pointed out that there was no mechanism in place for mitigation of the wetland.  He said there was also a driveway parallel to the stream crossing.  Mr. Zohdi said he could move the driveway.  Mr. Scanzani discussed the road tangent and believed the reverse curve would better protect the wetland.  Mr. Zohdi requested a continuance until July 7, 2003 in order to bring Mr. Jim Gove of Gove Environmental before the Board to discuss wetland protection and mitigation.

 

PUBLIC INPUT

 

Ms. Rebecca Russo, Countryside Drive, reviewed the plan to see where the duplex lots were located compared to her lot.

 

Ms. Carolyn Feola, Countryside Drive, reviewed the plan in connection with her lot location.

 

Mr. Jim Russo, Countryside Drive, confirmed that there were seven proposed lots.  He also confirmed the location of the road.  Mr. Zohdi outlined the buildable areas on the plan.  Ms. Russo asked if duplexes could be placed in the same neighborhood with single-family homes.  Mr. Zohdi said duplexes could be in the same neighborhood with single-family homes as long as there was adequate high and dry land. 

 

Mr. Scanzani noted that the plan would need to be re-accepted for consideration since the first time, there had not been proper abutter notification.

 

MOTION:

(Scanzani/McNamara) To accept the plan for consideration.

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

Mr. Scanzani said there was a waiver request for Section 11.04.c.I of the Subdivision Regulations regarding the 15,000SF area for ML 5-75-7 that should be re-considered.  Mr. Zohdi withdrew the waiver request.

 

Mr. Zohdi noted that there was a tiny triangle of land (next to the trolley way) that would be added to the Town land. 

 

Ms. Alexander will forward the revised plan (showing drainage) to the Town’s engineer once received by Mr. Zohdi. 

 

Mr. Yarmo asked if there would be any advantage to moving the road closer to the cul-de-sac.  Mr. Zohdi said he would review the plan and check the drainage.  He asked that the current plan be submitted for review and if there are changes, he would work with the Board. 

 

The plan was date specified to July 7, 2003.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Engineering Firm Request for Qualifications (RFQ) update

 

Ms. Alexander informed that there was a list of nineteen companies.  She said that there would be an additional listing this week. 

 

Mr. Culbert and the Board thanked Robin for her work drafting the RFQ.  He questioned why the Town Administrator Tom Gaydos had decided not to advertise in the Concord Monitor, or the Boston Globe as the Board had requested.  Mr. Lynde believed that Mr. Gaydos felt the advertising area was large enough, without the additional publications.  Mr. Culbert noted that the Board had requested the specific publications.  He said he would contact Mr. Gaydos to discuss. 

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS

 

PLANNING DIRECTOR REPORT

 

Subdivision Regulations

 

Ms. Alexander said she would compile a list of proposed changes and forward to the Board members for review. 

 

MINUTES REVIEW

 

May 5, 2003

MOTION:

(Scanzani/Lynde) To approve the May 5, 2003 meeting minutes as amended.  

 

VOTE:

 

(6 - 0 - 1) The motion carries.  Mr. Brunelle abstained.

 

DISCUSSION

 

Mr. Lynde said that issues had been raised in the past regarding subdivision inspection and if the inspectors understood what was expected of them.  He said that Ms. Alexander would compile a list of necessary items for specific inspections.  He said once the list was compiled and reviewed, he asked that the Board formalize the procedure so in the event of non-compliance the Board would be able to better enforce the requirements.  Mr. Culbert said that Ms. Alexander had a list of items the Board would be reviewing at an upcoming meeting. 

 

ADJOURNMENT

 

MOTION:

(Ouellette/McNamara) To adjourn the meeting. 

 

VOTE:

 

(7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.

 

The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:30 pm.

 

                                                                                          Respectfully submitted,

 

                                                                                          Charity A. L. Willis

                                                                                          Recording Secretary