2006-08-03 / News

Zoning board OKs treatment plant

By Sam Bari

The Zoning Board of Review unanimously approved the special use and variance application submitted by the town for the soon to be constructed water treatment facility on North Main Road. However, the approval was not without restrictions.

Deputy Public Works Director and Town Engineer Michael Gray and Public Works Director Steve Goslee presented the plans to the board members at their July 25 meeting. The town presentation included a slide show narrated by engineers Don Bunker and Justin Gould of Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, LLC, of Burlington, Mass., the consulting and engineering firm awarded the contract for the project.

The application for a variance for the proposed water treatment facility is for a 50-foot sideyard where 75 feet is required and for a 38-foot height allowance, which is 3 feet over the building height limit of 35 feet. The existing building on the property contains 2,050 square feet. The proposed structure will total 4,200 square feet.

The new immersed membrane water treatment facility is required for compliance with the federal Environmental Protection Agency's new rules for water treatment.

A membrane treatment facility provides a physical barrier that prevents bacteria, algae, and other contaminants from passing into the treated water distribution system and will significantly reduce the amount of wastewater produced by the treatment process. The new facility will be supported by much of the infrastructure provided by the existing facility, including raw and finished water pumps, the finished water clearwell, and corrosion control.

Harry Chase, owner of an abutting property spoke in favor of the project, although he had concerns about the aesthetics and screening vegetation that were resolved in the motion for approval.

After the comprehensive presentation, Zoning Board Chairman Thomas Ginnerty wrote the motion that included provisions for security lighting to be contained, landscape screening to be installed to hide the overhead door entry to the facility, and for the utilities to be underground if the budget allowed. After a short discussion and minor changes to the wording of the motion, the board approved the application.

In an unrelated matter, architect Rob Lambert of Burgin Lambert Architects of Newport represented Robert and Jane Mead in their application for a special-use permit on their property at 95 Walcott Ave.

The request included a proposed attached garage and a new accessory structure while maintaining an apartment over an existing detached garage. In addition, an existing windmill structure on the property will be renovated and relocated to meet the side-yard setback requirement. A special-use permit is required because the use of the property is nonconforming due to an existing permitted apartment on the second floor of the detached garage. Although the owners wanted to maintain the use of the existing apartment over the detached garage, that was a negotiable issue mentioned in the request to build and renovate.

Zoning Board Vice Chairman Don Wineberg wrote a motion for approval with provisions. The primary provision was that the apartment above the existing detached garage could not be used as an apartment if the application was approved. An abutting neighbor voiced concerns about the drainage from the new structure that was addressed in the restrictions accompanying the motion for approval. After a short discussion the board voted unanimously to approve the request.

Attorney K. Joseph Shekarchi represented Donald R. Palumbo in a request for variance on his property at 188 Beacon Ave. The request was to construct an addition 18 feet from the front lot line instead of the required 40 feet. The grounds for exception concerned the 4 feet deep basement under the original house, which was not adequate to accommodate a heating furnace. The addition would replace the footprint of a sunroom that was destroyed by termites. The new full foundation will bring the building up to code.

Board member Joe Logan wrote a motion for approval which was unanimously accepted by the board after a short discussion.

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