The Planning Board at its virtual meeting Monday night swiftly handled five hearings in less than two hours, with more than 50 people attending via Zoom.
South Street zoning petition withdrawn
Chair Gary Trendel announced that the citizens’ petition regarding a proposed zoning change for the South Street/Hayward Street/Pine Grove Lane from residential lakefront to rural business had been withdrawn from consideration, although it is too late to withdraw it from the Annual Town Meeting warrant.
In a letter to the editor at the Hopkinton Independent, petition proponent Peter Bemis cited time constraints before next Monday’s Annual Town Meeting as his reason for withdrawing the petition. He originally proposed the zoning change to allow Hopkinton resident Jim Marguerite to relocate the headquarters of Marguerite Concrete to that parcel, which currently is forested land.
“The recommendation for us as a board would be to vote and recommend no action,” Trendel explained. He also stressed that it is not within the Planning Board’s jurisdiction “to decide whether this zoning change would go through or not,” only to vote whether or not to recommend it.
The board voted 8-0 to recommend no action, with member Jane Moran absent from the meeting.
Lumber Street quarrying approved
Attorney Paul Alphen spoke on behalf of the applicant, explaining that the application is for “a new earth removal permit for an ongoing operation” on Lumber Street.
He said that the environmental impact assessment that the board previously sought has been completed by Goddard Consultants. The applicant also submitted long-term operations and management plans.
Two waivers were requested. The first issue regarding maintaining the slope, Trendel said, would be hard to maintain given that it is a quarry. The second, which would waive the buffer zone requirement, also appeared to make sense because the quarry already has been in existence.
Alphen clarified that the waiver was needed because the regulations didn’t take into consideration the need for an access road. Principal Planner John Gelcich brought up the same concern, noting that this is “a quirk in our bylaw” that he expects will be addressed in the future.
Elm Street warehouse OK’d
Engineer Mike Dryden addressed a previous concern of the board raised last month about the proposal for a “flex storage warehouse” at 86 Elm Street that questioned whether the agricultural district to the west actually touched the site. An opinion from the building commissioner confirmed that the appropriate setback of 40 feet was applied.
Another concern was a debate about the limit of the area of disturbance.
“We have been saying all along that it is under an acre,” Dryden explained. Because town engineering consultant BETA Engineering and a few board members questioned the assessment, he agreed to file the stormwater permit that would have been required if the property was over an acre.
He added that the Conservation Commission and the Health Department approved the application.
Trendel noted that the stormwater permit may have been “an extra step.” But because stormwater issues have plagued other construction projects in recent months, he viewed it as being prudent. This was unanimously approved along with the major project site plan application.
Pickleball/tennis facility considered
The proposed pickleball/tennis facility off of Fruit Street at 17 Pratt Way inched closer to approval.
Project engineer Andrew Leonard told the board that there had been a delay in constructing a test pit for the proposed bioswales until last Wednesday because of the Boston Marathon last Monday. The work has been completed and the plans were revised to show that.
He added that he received BETA’s response hours before the meeting, and “a number of questions” were raised, which prevented Leonard from completing a unified set of plans for a site plan approval.
Leonard asked that he meet with BETA representative Phil Paradis to discuss what is needed and continue the hearing until the next meeting on May 8, as he believed the concerns may have resulted from miscommunications. The request and continuation were approved unanimously.
Parkwood Drive project moves forward
A new public hearing was held regarding the installation of medical equipment and an emergency generator that would allow Phosphorex to expand its operations at 35 Parkwood Drive. Doug Hartnett, who spoke on behalf of the applicant, said that the Board of Appeals approved its application last week. He was to appear before the Conservation Commission on Tuesday.
He noted that a minor site plan review was necessary because the mechanical equipment can be viewed from a public way. To address this, the applicant proposed reshaping the berm and planting trees, perennials and shrubs to screen the equipment from view. He also said that the property is in an industrial district on a dead-end street.
Gelcich agreed that the screening is sufficient, and Trendel said a site walk is not needed. The board approved it 7-0. Member Fran DeYoung abstained from voting, as he is an abutter. As a resident, DeYoung said he wanted to “applaud the applicant on the screening.”