PLANNING BOARD WORK SESSION
The Chairman, Paddy Culbert called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
The Secretary, Bill Scanzani, called the roll:
Paddy Culbert, Bill Scanzani, Peter McNamara, Henry DeLuca, Gael Ouellette, Selectmen Representative Hal Lynde (arrived shortly after the meeting commenced), Planning Director Will D’Andrea
Robin Bousa, Alternate Bob Yarmo, Alternate Raymond Brunelle
Planning Board Initiatives and Goals
The Board members discussed the items they felt were priorities.
Mr. Lynde arrived. He suggested that the Board request a verification of Planning Board funds from the Treasurer, not the Board of Selectmen. He believed a report had already been drafted.
The members agreed that the following items should be the priority of the Board:
1) Update discrepancies and checklists in subdivision regulations;
2) Update the subdivision regulations in regards to State Statutes regarding innovative land use and cluster development and open space;
3) Work with NRPC to propose Zoning amendments to further protect the amount of water that can be taken from our finite water resource in the Town’s aquifer;
4) Work on enacting some kind of steep slope subdivision regulations to protect the upland areas;
5) Work with Conservation to develop better protection of the remaining Wild Life Corridors;
6) Obtain GIS system and training for the Planning Department to help us better lay out connecting roads in subdivisions in hilly terrain and better identify wetlands and other physical features we should be protecting;
7) Update the Town of Pelham’s site development regulations to require a performance bond to ensure that the site work including pavement, grassed areas and landscaping are performed as approved by the Board;
8) Update our Master Plan to include a section for local water resource management and protection.
Mr. Culbert said he would like to work on 55+ housing, which could work in conjunction with updating the subdivision regulations.
Mr. D’Andrea said that he spoke with Mr. John Vogel, GIS Manager NRPC who was willing to meet with the Board to discuss GIS. The Board asked that Mr. D’Andrea set up a meeting with Mr. Vogel at an upcoming work session.
Mr. Scanzani recommended that each Board member take a topic, work on it and report back to the Board in a couple months. The subdivision regulations would be handled separately.
Mr. Culbert will work on elderly housing. Mr. Scanzani will review performance bonding. Mr. McNamara will research water withdrawal. Ms. Ouellette will work with the Conservation Commission and NRPC regarding wild life corridors. Mr. DeLuca will work on GIS. Ms. Bousa was assigned to work on innovative land use (with Mr. Culbert regarding elderly housing).
Mr. Scanzani asked Mr. D’Andrea
to obtain a copy of
Mr. Culbert asked that the Board members report back to the Board in two months.
Discussion - Well radius
Mr. Culbert said that the well radius, as contained in the subdivision regulations, is 75ft and cannot overlap onto an abutter’s property. Mr. Scanzani said that the well radius hadn’t changed, but changes were happening in the field at the time that the well was being sunk which caused changes so the well was not quite in the lot and state waivers were being recorded. Mr. D’Andrea said that the Board changed the regulations in 2001, which was when the Board did not allow well radius to be located on adjoining properties.
Health Agent Paul Zarnowski discussed well radiuses with the Board. He discussed the reasons that a well might be moved. He said if a well release form was filed with the state a well could be placed so the radius went onto an abutting property. He said 80%-90% of the time houses, leach fields and wells were moved from what was shown on the plans. He said when leach fields were moved it was still required that all specifications were met and inspections were done (all test pits, bed bottom preparation and septic design plans were reviewed). Mr. Zarnowski said per the well ordinance, they had been pushing for 50ft. from the travel way and anything after that a well release form was needed. He said a well release form was an acknowledgment by an owner of a lot, at the time a well was being drilled, that there would be no protection past the lot line. He said the well release form was filed with the Registry of Deeds and was included in the title, which is provided to a buyer at the time of closing. There was further discussion regarding a well radius going over a lot line. Mr. Zarnowski said the key to a well was how it was sealed.
Mr. Scanzani was concerned with a well being located near a property line in the event that an abutter needed to place his leach field close to the lot line as well. Mr. Zarnowski said he had not seen a case go to court, but would like to see their decision. Mr. Lynde suggested that there be a restriction (of 50ft), case by case with a waiver to provide some protection.
Mr. McNamara asked how close a well could be located to a property line. Mr. Zarnowski said the well ordinance called for 15ft. Mr. McNamara asked if the distance could be increased by amending the well ordinance. Mr. Zarnowski answered yes. He noted that the state had no regulations other than the radius having no protection past the lot line.
Mr. Zarnowski discussed the construction of wells and how protection could be achieved through proper sealing. Mr. Scanzani discussed the past practices of the Board, which required construction sequencing. Mr. Zarnowski suggested that the well be installed before any building occurred to allow for flexibility. Mr. D’Andrea felt having the well tested prior to issuing a building permit was logical, and allowed in the current regulations as part of the applications. He said the regulations would have to be modified to either allow a waiver from the Board of Health or go to the 50ft., because currently they contain a blanket statement that well radius shall be within the boundaries of a newly created lot (Section 11.11).
Mr. Scanzani reviewed the process being discussed as follows: prior to a building permit being issued, a well would be put in and tested and ensure water portability, if not, a waiver could be requested from the Board of Health. In Mr. Zarnowski’s opinion, most of the time a builder had a septic system design and in turn had construction approval from the state and then requested a building permit; from that point the lot was cleared, site work is done and a well rig could access the site; drill the well and pour the foundation; a framing permit could be issued. Mr. Scanzani had no problem with sequencing. Mr. D’Andrea reviewed the process discussed and when permits were needed. Mr. Culbert confirmed that a framing permit would not be issued without the well being drilled and tested.
Mr. McNamara asked if the state waiver process would be minimized if the well ordinance was revised. Mr. Zarnowski said a state waiver was part of the criteria. Mr. McNamara asked if the revisions would override the 50ft. placement. Mr. Zarnowski said if revisions were made to the well ordinance, they could not override the 50ft. placement. Mr. D’Andrea will work with Mr. Zarnowski to make revisions. Mr. Scanzani asked that the subdivision regulations and/or the well ordinance be revised to have language regarding the proper sealing of wells. Building Inspector Roland Soucy discussed the installation of wells and noted that the casing should have a minimum of three feet. Mr. Culbert asked that language be included regarding the footage in the well ordinance. Mr. D’Andrea said he would meet with Mr. Zarnowski and Mr. Soucy to review/revise language.
Mr. Zarnowski reviewed the current process of inspecting test pits/percolation tests in connection with subdivisions. He noted within the next year, percolation tests would be conducted by reviewing soil types and their permeability. He discussed the DES regulations and the affects of ledge when creating a 75ft. receiving area. Mr. Zarnowski said there were approximately eight manufacturers that were showing septic systems at a recent Designer/Installer show. Mr. Culbert suggested that Mr. Zarnowski set up a time during an upcoming work session to discuss alternate septic systems.
Mr. Dave Brouillet, Herbert Associates said the Board discussed most of the items he wanted to review. He asked that the Board consider allowing a builder flexibility regarding well placement so as to not constrain land owners. Mr. Scanzani asked if Mr. Brouillet agreed with what the Board was trying to do. Mr. Brouillet answered yes. He said designs could be made to accommodate the Board, but the rules had to be clear. He asked if the well ordinance or the subdivision regulations took precedence. Mr. D’Andrea said there was a provision in the well ordinance that states if there was a regulation that was more restrictive, the more restrictive would apply. Mr. Scanzani noted that the well ordinance was adopted by and administered by the Board of Health unlike the subdivision regulations which required a public hearing before they could be revised.
It was noted that any lots currently requiring a waiver would need to come before the Board until the Board had the opportunity to revise the subdivision regulations.
Mr. D’Andrea asked if the current structure of the Town’s ordinances allowed a well to be in the WCD since it wasn’t specifically listed in 307-40 (special permit). Mr. Culbert asked Mr. Zarnowski if he had a problem with a well be drilled in a WCD. Mr. Zarnowski felt there was more protection in the WCD. He discussed the criteria of the WCD ordinance and noted that roads were allowed in a WCD and a well would be less of an impact. Mr. Scanzani believed that wells had been allowed in the past. There was further discussion by the Board regarding zoning ordinance 307-40. Mr. D’Andrea believed some flexibility should be given, but cautioned about becoming too flexible since a developer had to provide adequate drinking water.
(Scanzani/McNamara) To approve
(5-0-1) The motion carried. Mr. Lynde abstained.
(Scanzani/Lynde) To approve the
(5-0-1) The motion carried. Mr. DeLuca abstained.
The Board asked Mr. D’Andrea to
set up a meeting on
Mr. D’Andrea asked the Board if they wanted to review Mr. Bibeau’s site before or after they received a site plan. After a discussion, the Board recalled that the plan had not yet been accepted for consideration. Mr. Culbert was against walking the site until a site plan had been reviewed by the Board.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately .
Charity A. L. Willis