2009-12-24 / Front Page

Planning commission hears Shores proposal

By Iain Wilson

The Jamestown Planning Commission recommended a building project to the zoning board during its meeting last Wednesday after a presentation was made on behalf of Mark and Jeanne Girard, who intend to rebuild and expand on a plot of land at 7 Bark Ave.

The Girards appeared before the commission to prove that their plans were in agreement with the town’s high water ordinance.

Town Planner Lisa Bryer explained the purpose of the high water ordinance.

“It’s for the purpose of protecting ground water in the Jamestown Shores area and regulating storm water run-off,” she said.

John Lawless, a professional engineer employed by the Girard family, spoke to the commission about the current structure on the lot and the couple’s future plans. The lot is currently occupied by a single-family house that was built in the 1940s and has a conventional septic system that was installed in 1981.

The Girards intend to build a 1,686-square-foot dwelling with a new septic system that includes a nitrogen-removing system, according to Lawless. The plan has already been approved by the town’s engineer, he added.

Bryer said that before construction starts, there are a multitude of tests that must be done on the property, including tests on water tables and soil.

Debate swung back and forth over the amount of impervious surface on the property. “Impervious surface” refers to the amount of property that is covered by structures, thus limiting the amount of rainwater infiltration in the ground. Lawless explained to the commission that there will be 600 less square feet of pervious surface under the proposed plan.

He also indicated that the site was graded to direct water away from the on-site wastewater treatment system and the adjacent lots, preventing flooding.

This is the third house on Bark Avenue to come before the commission in the last four years regarding the high water ordinance.

After Lawless presented, architect Julia Gerald provided a summary of the projected dwelling. Both presenters commented that the house is consistent with other dwellings being built in the Jamestown Shores area.

Lot size has implications for the ease with which a system can be installed, Bryer said.

“The smaller the lot, the more problems you have in trying to fit a house, a well and a septic system,” she said. The lot in question is more than 17,000 square feet, bringing it closer to a double lot, she said.

After the presentation and discussion, the commission voted unanimously to recommend the application to the zoning board for approval. A date for the approval has not been set. Commission Chair Michael Swistak recommended that the commission include its findings of fact with the motion. The commission concluded that the new septic system design was an improvement on the old one, the storm water design mitigated retention, the plan had been passed by the town engineer and that the lot in question was oversized.

The meeting’s final portion was dedicated to a lingering issue with the ordinance and the minimum lot size found in Table 3.2. The table currently says the minimum lot size for the R20 section of the island is 200,000 square feet.

Bryer said a change is necessary because “basically, there are no 200,000 square foot lots in R20.”

The commission agreed to have Bryer compile a list of all 100,000- and 200,000-squarefoot lots for its next meeting.

The Planning Commission will meet again on Jan. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall.

Return to top