Planning Board discusses modifications for subdivision off Hayden Rowe

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The Planning Board held two hearings at its Monday meeting, including a lengthy discussion about modifications to the Connelly Farms subdivision at the corner of Hayden Rowe Street and College Street.

The hearing eventually was continued with a 5-0 vote because town engineering consultant BETA Group submitted a letter dated June 18 with some modifications to the project on the day of the meeting. However, the hearing, chaired by member Fran DeYoung, discussed modifications based on information received on June 10 with the understanding that the June 18 modifications requested would be discussed at the next meeting on July 12. The deciding date was extended to July 22 for the Open Space and Landscape Preservation Development (OSLPD).

The board voted 5-0 for this motion because the members didn’t have time to review the letter. Mary Larson-Marlowe, the vice chair, recused herself.

Phil Paradis, representing BETA, brought up drainage concerns, requesting cross sections through each catch basin to show the slopes, elevation and surface treatments.

“We want to be able to take this out in the field and say, ‘This is how they built it,’ ” he said.

The swales also become part of the basins at one point, which was another concern Paradis raised. They would need to be extended to prevent water going through where the swale intersects with the basin.

Paradis recommended a country drainage system because of poor soil drainage and the topography of the site. In a country drainage system, a road would be built higher than the adjacent land to allow the drainage system to flow downward either into wooded areas or into a swale system. This would allow the size of the basin to be reduced. This also is called a Low Impact Development, or LID, to convey water with less disturbance to the land.

DeYoung asked why a country drainage system was not included.

Developer Ron Nation spoke on behalf of his project, a subdivision of a 32-acre parcel located on the east side of Hayden Rowe.

“The problem that we have is that the land is so flat that we’d have to elevate a large portion of the site in order to get the swales to work,” he said. “We’d have more ability to get the water to move if we put it in pipes and catch basins.”

Paradis also wanted to protect the grading for the basin, which has increased in size over the course of the project.

“Anywhere there is a weakness, that’s where the water is going to go,” he said.

Member Sundar Sivaraman suggested that the requirements about country basins be codified for future reference because it now is considered to be a standard practice. This will be discussed at a future meeting.

Member Deb Fein-Brug also had concerns about the basin size growing because she had hoped the basin area would look more like a field.

“I’m wondering if it’s destroying that whole field aspect and that sense of tranquility that we enjoy driving by,” she said.

“You could also form the basin to look more like a field,” Paradis added.

Nation said he would reconsider the look of the basin.

Another issue was the extension of a proposed trail through the right of way, which is a deviation that would require a waiver.

There would be a 10-foot-wide paved section for the trail in place of the sidewalk for that area, according to Nation.

Another point of discussion was not using granite curb on the cul de sac in favor of Cape Cod berm. Nation said he would check if Cape Cod berm would be feasible there because the granite can damage tires or cause issues during snow plowing.

DeYoung complimented both Nation and Paradis for providing positive flow of discussion on modification requests.

At the end of the hearing, Paradis said the plan was “really close” to being ready for approval.

South Street addition OK’d

The other hearing, which was relatively brief, was for a new proposal for a minor site plan review at 224 South St. for Vermeer All Roads, which sells industrial and landscaping equipment. It was approved by a 6-0 vote.

Jim Jackson spoke on behalf of the applicant. The proposal called for a 1,200-square-foot addition to the back of the current facility for storage. There would also be an underground filtration system included.

He added that there will be gutters for the addition for drainage.

Fein-Brug asked where the lighting for the addition would be. Jackson said there would be lighting for three sides of it provided by three small lights on the roof.

Pair of hearings continued

Two hearings were continued at the request of the applicant, Equestrian Realty Trust. Both were discussed at length at the previous meeting and are contiguous. One is the Springwood-area subdivision proposal for a five-lot subdivision at 190 Ash St. The other is for a two-lot subdivision in the woods off Smith Road.

This was referred to as a “a little bit of gamesmanship” by chair Gary Trendel at the previous meeting because the ultimate goal of the developer is to build a solar farm. By filing this plan, the zoning was preserved to skirt the new solar bylaw approved at Town Meeting last month.

The board also approved the Leonard Street performance guarantee bond review for $15,000 by a 6-0 vote. Paradis had requested $10,932, but the applicant, Lou Petrozzi, requested a slightly higher amount. Larson-Marlowe suggested the $15,000 amount to allow for riprap, seeding and loaming.