2005-12-15 / News

Two development proposals continue through planning commission stage

By Michaela Kennedy

At its Dec. 7 meeting, the Planning Commission asked the Dutton family to consider a cluster development for their proposed five-lot major subdivision near North Main Road. The commission also asked the Lilly family to consider eliminating the basement and land-fill from their development plan at 132 Beach Ave. Both plans were continued for hearing at a later date.

Joseph Palumbo, the attorney representing Janice and Michael Dutton, gave an overview of their development plan for a five-lot major subdivision. Palumbo told the commission that the Duttons had owned the property for many years and intended on keeping it as a private compound.

Robert Cournoyer, a civil engineer and surveyor working for the Duttons, answered questions regarding requests for waivers of requirements in the development plan. He noted that the Duttons were prepared to develop part of Prospect Avenue from Holly Street to Maple Street as a private road. The road development is one of the requirements for the subdivision, according to the town’s Zoning Ordinance.

Commissioner Richard Ventrone the applicant would request a waiver for the ordinance requirement that a five-lot subdivision be developed as a cluster. Ventrone added, “This looks like an ideal situation for a cluster development.”

Commission Chairman Gary Girard agreed that a cluster would work. “We have to have good reason in our mind to give a waiver,” he said.

Cournoyer agreed that the plan was a five-lot subdivision, but noted, “Parcel one is the existing homestead already fully developed with multiple structures on it.” He also pointed out that all of the proposed lots would be more than 80,000 square feet.

Girard told the board members that the town had acquired land near the Duttons’ property, and that wetlands were present.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer said that a development was considered a cluster if construction was only done on 50 percent of the property.

Commissioner Victor Calabretta said that he liked the plan. “My only question would be if the fire department has any problem with it,” he added.

Commissioner Jean Brown also praised the plan, and asked how the fire department would turn an engine around. Dutton said that a cul-de-sac would provide enough room.

Commissioner Barry Holland voiced concern about upholding the ordinance. “The mandate is that it needs a cluster. I don’t hear a good reason not to do a cluster,” he said

Calabretta asked if cutting the property in half and dedicating the back for open space and the front to construction, would satisfy the cluster requirement.

Cournoyer told the commission that the state Department of Environmental Management reported the soil on the lots to be not so good. “If we put all five of these houses together, I think we’d have a problem,” he noted. Dutton agreed, noting that 27 soil test holes were dug.

Girard told the applicant that the only guidance the commission had was to take a look at cluster development. “Maybe it won’t work,” he said, but he noted that at least an attempt should be made to conform to the ordinance. The applicant agreed to continue the review.

In new business, the commission reviewed a development plan for Dan and Jean Lilly to reconstruct a dwelling on Beach Avenue. The property is located in a high groundwater district, and the plan requires relief from the ordinance requirement of a 150-foot setback from wetlands.

John Caito, project engineer for the plan, told the commission that the Lillys would like to have a basement, but some of the commissioners objected. Ventrone said, “That whole area has water. I feel that a basement in that area would be a problem.”

Caito said that the Lillys would consider an alternative to a basement.

According to their application, the design would replace a 920square-foot foundation with a 2,107 square-foot footprint. To comply with the high groundwater ordinance, the engineer included land-fill in the plan.

Calabretta pointed out that adding fill to the property would create a problem with surface water runoff. “This is another situation that is creating a dam. It is no longer a high groundwater issue, but a surface water problem that is being created. When we raise everything up and fill it, we create a dam with runoff to other properties,” he said. He suggested that there were other ways to accomplish what the applicant wanted with less disturbance.

Caito said that the elevation was lower to the rear of the property, “which is where the wetlands are.” He also said that he did not understand how it could hinder the drainage.

Girard asked if there was a way of constructing the garage without soil disturbance, adding, “We don’t usually approve garages. We are trying to help.”

Brown said the applicant would be losing a lot of storage space if the commission did not allow the basement, so she would be in favor of the garage.

The commission continued the plan in order to give the Lillys time to consider the surface water issue.

In other business, the commission:

• Unanimously approved, with some specifications, a proposal by AMS Development Corp. to construct a new house on Spindrift Street. Calabretta recused himself.

• Agreed to continue the hearing of a development plan for Lino Corredora, who wants build a new house on Stern Street.

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