The Planning Board at its meeting Monday night voted unanimously to continue a hearing on a proposed family subdivision by the Capobianco family on Morse Lane to give the applicant time to consider if widening the road there would be a viable option.
Attorney Timothy Nealon represented the applicants, Raymond and Anna Capobianco. He requested that a condition be removed from a plan approved in February 1992 that prevented the subdivision from exceeding four lots. The new proposal sought to allow for the creation of a fifth lot on the existing road.
Chair Gary Trendel noted that the concern being addressed at this meeting was that the removal of the condition that limited the number of lots on the site to a maximum of four — not the creation of the fifth lot itself. He noted that he and other members took a site walk of the property on Saturday.
One issue he contemplated since the site walk, he said, was the vision of the property owners in creating this family lot. He weighed this against setting a precedent by removing something the Planning Board put in place 30 years ago.
“I’m also just very cautious about undoing something that was articulated and specifically put into a previous decision,” Trendel noted.
He asked if the applicant would be willing to “bring that subdivision up to our current subdivision standards.” The road, he explained, is “not in great shape,” and he asked Nealon if the Capobiancos would consider widening it.
“It would really improve this street in the neighborhood to align it to our current standards,” Trendel said.
Nealon said the applicant had not considered that at this time. While he noted the expense, he said it would not only benefit the two lots under discussion but also the other homes there. Abutters previously had discussed taking over the maintenance of the road.
“The addition of one other lot would help bear the burden of maintaining the road,” he added. He also said that the neighbors were against widening the road, preferring “to keep it as close to a country lane as they can.”
Member Mary Larson-Marlowe noted that the road is narrow, gravel and open at both ends rather than a cul-de-sac, which is difficult for fire trucks to access. Her concern was for safety, and she asked that the applicant consider widening the road.
Member Elyse Mihajloski suggested that if the condition were removed, another one should be put in its place to limit the number of lots on the subdivision to five. Her concern was that it “could open the floodgates” for future applicants. Trendel and member Paul Ostrander agreed on that principle.
Nealon said that the Capobiancos “would fully support” a condition limiting the number of lots to five. He asked that he have time for the applicants to consider road improvements and speak about it at the next meeting on Dec. 5.
“This isn’t just about this property,” Trendel said. “This is about the potential future applications that are hard to predict.”
The Trails hearing continued until Dec. 5
The night’s second hearing on an open space mixed-use development (OSMUD) site plan had to be continued. Engineering consultant Peter Bemis, representing the applicant, failed to attend the hearing. Phil Paradis, the town’s consultant from BETA Engineering, noted that he still had several questions about the application.
“Just about every one of the requests requires a detail that is not provided,” Paradis explained. “I’m not sure where the disconnect is.”
At last week’s Conservation Commission hearing on the topic, Conservation Administrator Kim Ciaramicoli said that several of Bemis’s answers to BETA on the application “were vague.” There needed to be more detail provided about watershed plans, riprap and a study by a hydrogeologist.
ANR approved for 43-47 East Main Street
An approval not required (ANR) was endorsed unanimously by the board for 43-47 East Main Street. It involved taking a portion of one lot (43) and adding it to the adjacent parcel (47). Principal Planner John Gelcich explained that the frontage wouldn’t change on either lot and that the lot sizes are conforming.
Joe Marquedant represented the applicants who own 47 East Main Street and recently purchased 43 East Main Street. They sought to transfer 2.67 acres to 47 to increase 4.36 acres to 6.93 acres.
ANR approved for 108-110 Main Street
In a similar case, the board unanimously endorsed an ANR for 108-110 Main Street, which involved the swapping of land from one parcel to another owned by David MacMillan. MacMillan wants to sell 110, and “does not want to look over someone else’s land” from his window, according to Marquedant, who represented him.
To clarify, the planning board would like to see Morse Lane improved to meet current subdivision standards, not necessarily widened. The existing road is dirt/gravel, uneven, poorly graded, and full of potholes.