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ESBC gets closer to hearings with planning, conservation boards about Charleswood School

by | Jun 18, 2024 | Education, Featured: Education

The Elementary School Building Committee on Tuesday authorized representatives from Samiotes Consultants and LEC to submit reports to the town’s Planning Board and Conservation Commission on its behalf by week’s end.

Civil engineer Michelle Kayserman of Samiotes explained the narrative she has compiled includes topics like why the new Charleswood School is needed; its size, layout and utilities plan; and what the impact will be on the town.

Kayserman said she derived the information from earlier documents submitted to the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA). Reports on traffic, landscaping, lighting, architectural elevation and the stormwater management plan also will be part of the packet.

Claire Hoogeboom of LEC noted the Conservation Commission submission is more wetlands-related with a focus on stormwater management. The contents of the Notice of Intent will all be familiar to the ESBC, she said.

During an update about a Massachusetts Environmental Protection Act (MEPA) scoping session, Hoogeboom said her team has been responding to questions from analysts and will continue to address questions from agencies and the public that arrive. The deadline is Friday.

Member Jagrut Jathal asked about the management of questions from different agencies, wanting to know if they are “running concurrently or mutually exclusive.”

Hoogeboom clarified that MEPA is not a permitting entity; rather it is compiling items from other agencies that it will pass on so it will be known what the project must address.

Vertex project director Jeff D’Amico said MEPA would outline the scope of what is included in an expanded Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

He said this process is “a critical path of the project,” and one that has the longest lead time.

In answer to Jathal’s question, Hoogeboom said for the most part, the items from planning, conservation and MEPA generally are related and run concurrently, but revisions likely will be necessary.

Perkins Eastman project manager Dan Colli noted that MEPA asked about the “old” Elmwood School site and what the intentions are for its use.

ESBC chair Jon Graziano said the Permanent Building Committee is doing a study on several buildings in town and making recommendations for their uses. Graziano said that committee is prioritizing the old Center School before Elmwood.

“Nobody knows what it is going to be, but there are options being studied and presented,” he said.

Graziano also spoke about plans to negotiate with abutters who will be impacted by the new school project, namely because of the roadway improvement plan.

He said that the work will take place entirely in the public way, and it is time to talk about what types of mitigation the neighbors are seeking and “what we’re willing to do to achieve the outcome we are looking for.”

Graziano, member Mike Shepard and representatives from Vertex and Perkins Eastman already did a walk-through on Hayden Rowe Street. The board agreed to authorize the chair and Shepard to act as negotiators on what the mitigation will be.

When they know the total cost, they will come back to the board and seek its budget approval, Graziano said.

D’Amico noted that surveys would be sent out to abutters in mid-July to ask about their concerns.

The next remote meeting will be July 9 at 6 p.m., at which time the committee will touch base prior to public hearings with the town’s permitting agencies.

Another ESBC meeting tentatively is scheduled for Aug. 13, pending members’ availability.

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