April 28, 2015 Planning Board Meeting

April 28, 2015 Planning Board Meeting

Postby Mary Wright » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:05 pm


A meeting of the Planning Board was held on Tuesday, April 28, 2015. Mr. Marks called the meeting to order at 7:08 PM and announced that the meeting is being recorded and will be available on cable and on the website.

PRESENT: Ernest Marks (Chairman), Eben Chesebrough (Vice Chairman), Michael Greco, Tracy Sharkey, Robert Werme, Jr., Michael Zwicker, William Cundiff (Town Engineer)
ABSENT: Ken Ballou (Excused)

7:08 PM PUBLIC HEARING: DOUGLAS PLANNING BOARD: Proposal to amend the zoning map by extending the existing R/A Zoning District.
Mr. Marks opened the public hearing. Mr. Cundiff stated that this petition is asking to change the zoning of approximately 58 acres of industrial land to RA zoned land. This section is located on the easterly side of Monroe Street and south of Rte. 16. The petition for a Town Meeting article was submitted to the Town Clerk on March 18, 2015, which was after the date stipulated in the Town bylaws for petition articles. The petitioner’s representative went to the Board of Selectmen (BOS), and the BOS voted for the article to be placed on the warrant for the Town Meeting. Therefore, it is no longer a petition article, it is an article that has been put forward by the BOS. Because it was submitted late, it has not been confirmed if the petitioner is a registered voter in Douglas and the names on the signature sheet have not been checked.
This article is exactly the same as was submitted a year ago by petition to the Planning Board. The Board voted in favor of the article, it went to Town Meeting, but was passed over at Town Meeting at the request of the petitioner in order to give the Worcester Business Development Corp. (WBDC) a chance to look at it fairly.
Atty. Henry Lane joined the meeting on behalf of the petitioner. He gave the history of the land. His client owns approximately 40 of the 58 acres involved. His client is interested in developing the land and feels that the land would make much more sense as a residential development, not as an industrial development. It has no water, no sewer, and is accessible by a narrow country road. Atty. Lane stated that the WBDC concluded that this land would not be a focus for industrial development.
Carol Gogolinski, a member of the Economic Development Committee (EDC) and the Finance Committee summarized Atty. Lane’s presentation to the EDC, and she stated that the EDC and Finance Committee do not support the zoning change. The Finance Committee feels that the Town cannot afford to support another 15 or 20 residences.
Hal Davis, 80 Orange Street and member of the BOS and former member of the EDC, stated that the commercial tax base of the Town is only 6% of the revenue. If this request is granted, the drain on the Town’s treasury would increase further. It would add cost to the taxpayer and perhaps put a strain on the environment. He does not feel this land should be used for residential purposes.
Rich Venincasa, 94-96 Monroe Street wanted to know how accurate is the proposal for the right-of-way to Rte. 16 from a proposed industrial park. The Planning Board was not aware of any plans for access to that property. Mr. Cundiff stated that the Tennessee Gas Pipeline would not allow a longitudinal crossing. Mr. Venincasa does not feel that Monroe Street would be able to handle extra traffic and if the road were widened, residents’ septic and water would be affected.
Atty. Lane replied that the northerly abutter to the site is the bike path. He feels it is unlikely that the Commonwealth would allow an access road to cross the bike path. Access would most likely be from Monroe Street.
Pam Holmes, 108 Maple Street, reiterated that the finances of Douglas are in a terrible state and the taxes from one household do not pay for even one child in school. She stated that the parcel in question abuts other industrial land that abuts Davis Street.
Mr. Davis feels the land is more likely to remain as is for a long time if it remains zoned as industrial.
Lisa Postma, 129 Maple Street is concerned because if it the use for the land is industrial, Monroe Street could not handle the traffic. She is afraid that an industrial use would affect the residents’ water. She feels that the land should be used for homes.
Nancy Russell, 117 Monroe Street stated that the property is quite wet and she feels that either use would be limited development. She also feels that Monroe Street cannot handle the traffic, and the Town would not be able to handle the burden of extra homes.
Ms. Gogolinski owns an industrial park on Douglas Road and she stated that she has less traffic on any given day than at the homes across the street. Fifteen to twenty homes would add a lot more traffic, including school buses, oil trucks, etc. If the land is zoned residential, there would be no way to stop homes from going in there.
Virginia Howe, 115 Davis Street stated that she has been negatively affected by zoning changes. Her home is surrounded by industrial zones. Businesses have come in and gone under. Her property has decreased in value dramatically because of that. She would prefer to have residences as neighbors.
Mr. Zwicker asked the direct abutters that were present if they would prefer industrial or residential in their neighborhood. One abutter stated he would rather look at homes.
Mr. Greco stated that rezoning holds no benefit to the Town. He feels that homes would produce more traffic than an industrial use.
Atty. Lane stated that approximately twenty percent of the acreage is wet. Ms. Sharkey does not see wetlands on the map.
Mr. Werme would like to know from the Finance Committee exactly how much one residence adds to the costs for the Town. Atty. Lane stated that if the home values are $375,000 or up, it is approximately a break even for the Town. Mr. Davis stated that if there are two children in a home attending school in Town, it is a $6,000-$7,000 loss for the Town. Site plan approval would have control over what goes into an industrial zone.
Dan Goldenberg, 224 Maple Street asked how far back the property line goes for the lot. Mr. Zwicker stated that it goes to the town line. The back of Mr. Goldenberg’s property is zoned industrial: it is a swamp. A large portion of the land around the pipeline is wet. He would like the parcel in question to stay zoned industrial because there would be more control over it.
Mary Brooks, 103 Monroe Street would like to see the land stay industrially zoned.
Bill Small, 125 Monroe Street asked if there is a buffer zone. Mr. Cundiff replied that for an industrial zone, the building set back would be 50 feet from the back and 15 feet from the side. Development right along Monroe Street might be difficult due to a pond and wet areas. The industrially zoned area in question could hold 25 house lots.
Ms. Sharkey asked about the April 23, 2014 WBDC letter. Mr. Cundiff stated that when the first petition came through, the Board connected the WBDC with the petitioner in order to get input from an economic perspective.
Mr. Chesebrough does not feel it is in the best interests of the Town to change the zoning.
Claire Small, 125 Monroe Street is concerned about safety because the road is so rural and there are no sidewalks. She asked if the Town would do a survey to see if the road would be safe with additional traffic. Mr. Marks could not say. It would be a
Town Meeting decision.
Mr. Chesebrough made a motion to close the public hearing, Douglas Planning Board, Proposal to Amend the Zoning Map by Extending the Existing R/A Zoning District. Mr. Greco seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Mr. Chesebrough made a motion to recommend favorably the zoning article to re-zone approximately 58 acres easterly of Monroe Street, northerly of Maple Street, as shown in the petition presented to the Planning Board, to the Annual Town Meeting on May 4, 2015. Mr. Zwicker seconded the motion. Vote: Aye-0, No-6.
Mr. Marks reminded the public that the final decision will be made at Town Meeting.

8:12 PM PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUED: NEW ENGLAND REALTY VENTURES, LLC (AQ 141222): Application for a Water Resource Protection Overlay District (WRPOD) aka Aquifer Protection Special Permit, and
PUBLIC HEARING CONTINUED: NEW ENGLAND REALTY VENTURES, LLC (SPR 141222): Application for Site Plan Review, 74 Main Street
Mr. Marks stated that the applicant has requested a continuance. The applicant granted an extension to the Planning Board for an application for a Water Resource Protection Overlay District (WRPOD) Special Permit until the day after the public hearing date of May 26, 2015.
Ms. Sharkey made a motion to continue the public hearings for AQ 141222 and SPR 141222, New England Realty Ventures, LLC, Application for a Water Resource Protection Overlay District and Application for Site Plan Review, 74 Main Street to May 26, 2015 at 7:00 PM. Mr. Zwicker seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

1. Whitin Reservoir Estates: Lori Funari joined the meeting to ask for lot releases on lots #1 and #2. She had an amendment because she was not able to transfer the five acres to the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission knew nothing about the transfer and they want a complete written history of the development and want to survey it.
Mr. Cundiff stated that one year ago, the Planning Board agreed in concept to release two lots so Ms. Funari could get some capital, given that progress was being made toward some of the affordable housing requirements. Because the decision was set in stone, Atty. Jay Talerman had some difficulty proceeding with the concept and he suggested drafting up an amendment to the decision which allows the Board latitude to let Ms. Funari move forward with some building permits. Atty. Talerman has reviewed this amendment.
Mr. Cundiff has a schedule which Ms. Funari prepared that goes over the milestones. The tripartite agreement establishes the surety for the project. Mr. Cundiff distributed his and the engineer’s estimates for the completion of the project. Assuming Town Counsel reviews and approves of the form of the tripartite and a final surety value is agreed upon, Ms. Funari would like the Board to authorize Mr. Marks or Mr. Cundiff to sign the tripartite on behalf of the Board. Form J is for the release of lots #1and #2. Those lots would not be released until the tripartite is reviewed and a surety is agreed upon. The gravel bases for the access road and sidewalks are complete. A discussion was held.
Mr. Zwicker made a motion to authorize Mr. Marks to sign the tripartite agreement after Town Counsel approves the quorum and after Mr. Cundiff and the design engineer agree on the value of the surety. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Mr. Zwicker made a motion to sign Form J and instruct Mr. Cundiff to execute Form J upon approval of the tripartite agreement. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
Mr. Chesebrough made a motion to approve the amendment to the Flexible Development Special Permit #FD-120403, known as the Funari Site Development owner Lori J. Funari, off of the property Douglas Hill Way. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
2. Vote: Notice of Intent to Sell pursuant to MGL, Chapter 61, Section 8: 41 Pine Street. Mr. Cundiff stated that this is the Keevan parcel. The Town has the right of first refusal to purchase 0.92 acres being transferred to the house lot. The BOS will ultimately decide.
Mr. Chesebrough made a motion to recommend that the Board of Selectmen not exercise right of first refusal for the 0.92 acres currently owned by Elaine C. Keevan. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.
3. Letter from Kandie Auclair, 63 Webster Street (Accessory Apartment formerly owned by Scott & Pamela Lavallee). Mr. Marks stated that the new owners would like to keep the accessory apartment for possible use in the future. The apartment is currently empty. It was Mr. Cundiff’s opinion that this is a question for the Zoning Enforcement Officer. Once the property transfers ownership, the Accessory Apartment Special Permit is void. The Building Inspector can seek the Planning Board’s opinion. Mr. Cundiff will forward the letter to the Building Inspector. The Planning Board had no opinion at this time.
4. ZBA Application: Islamic Society of Greater Worcester, 170 West Street (Special Permit). The Planning Board previously voted on this item, as a variance. Mr. Cundiff suggested adding the six criteria of Section 9.3.2 of the zoning bylaws.
5. ZBA Application: Jonathan Shenian, 137 South Street (Special Permit). Mr. Werme stated that this is a residence with a welding shop on a nonconforming lot. There is 167 feet of frontage and 200 feet is required. The applicant would like to sell used cars on the lot. The Planning Board had no objection to the application.
6. Minutes: 4/14/2015. Mr. Zwicker made a motion to approve the April 14, 2015 Planning Board meeting minutes as amended. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Mr. Cundiff stated that a Scenic Road Permit for Harris, Oak Street is ready to be signed.

Mr. Zwicker made a motion to adjourn the meeting at 8:57 PM. Ms. Sharkey seconded the motion. Vote: Unanimous.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Mary Wright
Posts: 601
Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2012 8:56 pm

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