TOWN OF PELHAM
PLANNING BOARD MEETING
September 18, 2000
The Chairman, Victor Danevich, called the meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
The Secretary, Bill Scanzani, called the roll.
PRESENT: Victor Danevich, Bill Scanzani, Paddy Culbert, Peter McNamara, Henry DeLuca, Selectman’s Representative Deb Casey, Alternate Gael Ouellette, Planning Director Vince Messina
ABSENT: Jeff Gowan, Alternate Michael Soby, Alternate Carl Huether, Alternate Richard Foote, Alternate Doris Cvinar
The Chairman announced that Alternate Gael Ouellette would be voting on behalf of Mr. Jeff Gowan.
ML 4-140 Mountain Orchards Development, LLC/Valley Hill Road - Proposed 36-Lot Subdivision for Acceptance for Consideration
Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates, appeared before the Board to present the proposed subdivision for ML 4-140. He explained that they previously appeared before the Board for a 3-lot subdivision, at which they reserved the right to come back. He described the plan for a proposed connection from Valley Hill Road. He said all the cul-de-sacs would give the right away to the abutters. Mr. Zohdi informed that he would be the one subdividing the additional land beyond Long View Circle. He then provided the topography. He said there wouldn’t be a problem making the connection to Valley Hill Road. He said the discussions regarding the water have been noted, and explained that if the two subdivisions go through, Pennichuck will serve all the lots Water. He also noted drainage has been discussed, and said the roads were curbed, so the abutters wouldn’t be affected. Mr. Zohdi went on to say they are proposing an easement for drainage into a catch basin. He informed the only wetland impact would be two driveway crossings. He said that Mr. James Gove suggested that two bridges are added, but since the plan had already been submitted, he left it alone.
Mr. James Gove, Gove Environmental Services appeared before the Board to explain the Environmental Impact Assessment. He let it be known that the assessment was put together by Katie Surawick, one of their subcontractors. He then gave a brief explanation of the findings. He said that Conservation hasn’t had a presentation yet. Mr. Gove pointed out the potential resources in the area. He said there is a fair amount of wildlife habitat in the area, which have movement along the edges of the forest, not just the corridor. He explained that the roadways would cause a fragmentation of the corridors, which will break up the movement. He said there is concern of sediment erosion control at the site during the construction phase, and also after, if silt fences aren’t put in place and maintained. He believes that if a 50’ no-cut buffer is added, a certain amount of habitat will be maintained. The last point he made was the agriculture component and suggested limiting the cuts and fills on the steeper slope areas because there is a potential for a high amount of erosion.
Mr. Danevich asked about the prime wetland impact. Mr. Gove said the prime area is off the map. He informed that it is unlikely there would be a significant blowout. He said there are a number of wetland areas, so the sedimentation would fall out before it hit the road and reached the prime wetland area. Mr. Danevich asked the origin of the man-made pipe in the area. Mr. Gove said it was a sub-surface tile drain system. He said he doesn’t have any layout of where they go. Mr. Danevich asked the result of the drain being cut. Mr. Gove said it is possible to have surface ponding and some impact of the wetland areas.
Mr. Danevich asked about the edge of Jonathan Road and if there was a WCD crossing, or a better way to handle for less impact. Mr. Gove said there are some built-in constraints and existing homes, but doesn’t view it as a significant wetland resource. Mr. Zohdi said he would rather the Board commented on the Jonathan Road area during the site walk. He informed there is an existing culvert that carried drainage.
Ms. Casey asked if Mr. Gove was suggesting a larger buffer than 50’. Mr. Gove said it would be beneficial where ever possible. Mr. Casey inquired about the fragmented corridors and if there were any new techniques of road design to help the wildlife cross. Mr. Gove said essentially it would be larger mammals that would use the crossing and they would just move away from the area. Ms. Casey then asked about the C & D slopes. Mr. Gove said that construction monitoring and stabilizing the areas would help. Ms. Casey asked if Mr. Gove was suggesting keeping the orchards in tact. Mr. Gove said the more edge areas left, the more utilization in the area would occur.
Ms. Casey asked if the two houses were sold on ML 4-140-1 & 2. Mr. Danevich asked if the papers have been passed. Mr. Zohdi said at the time the plan was submitted to the Town the list was correct. Mr. Culbert said the list of abutters would have to be current from the date submitted to the Planning Director. Mr. Scanzani informed the submittal date was July 21, 2000. Mr. Messina said he would verify. He went on to discuss the road opening and the steps now implemented. He said they have incorporated a list of rules in pre-construction between the Town and the road builder. He discussed the restriction and limitation of new houses being built.
Mr. Scanzani noted that because of the subdivisions that have occurred, and after reviewing the proposed subdivisions, there are approximately 300 acres under development. He said that the environmental impacts have been on the fringe, but this parcel of forested land is where the wildlife has been forced to go. He didn’t think there was any other place they could go. Mr. Culbert disagreed, and discussed his home, which fifteen years ago had deer in his yard, and now, 38 houses later, there are still deer. Mr. Zohdi said he didn’t think anyone would touch the orchard property, and on the other side of it is land the Town owns. He reiterated that the Board should walk the property and see what wildlife lives there. Mr. Scanzani said in this instance, open space development would have paid off. Mr. Zohdi informed that they don’t have the zoning to put all the roads in. Mr. Scanzani noted his concern once again about the wildlife.
Ms. Casey asked if the traffic study had been done. Mr. Zohdi said that CLD hasn’t done one yet.
Mr. Messina brought up the fact that Valley Hill has had prior exactments, which have funded improvements to date. He said that the road would be able to handle the traffic. He also said that the exactments to come out of the subdivision would fund the remaining portion of the road. He’s sure the traffic study will show that the third set of networking roads will alleviate the traffic problem in the area.
Ms. Casey asked if ML 4-143 & 144 could be squared off. Mr. Zohdi said they don’t own the property on the other side, therefore they don’t control the outside boundary. Ms. Casey noted that the well radius for ML 4-140-3 goes into the road. Mr. Zohdi said that it was a permitted use. Mr. Danevich spoke up to say that the wells would go away with Town water being provided. Mr. Zohdi pointed out that on each of the lots, the leach beds are 10’ from the lot line. Ms. Casey reminded Mr. Zohdi of the new Health Ordinance, which regulates wells. Mr. Zohdi said he wasn’t aware of the new ordinance, and asked for a copy.
Mr. Paul McLaughlin, Conservation Commission asked how many proposed lots are being proposed. Mr. Zohdi informed it was the same as proposed to Conservation.
Mr. Mark Jedraszek, 56 Valley Hill Road asked if the road would continue to be widened. Mr. Messina believes that there is a plan to have portions of the road improved. Mr. Jedraszek asked how they would execute widening the road. Mr. Zohdi explained the exactions and how the proposed improvements to the road and the setbacks to certain lots would happen. Mr. Jedraszek informed that only one side would be able to be widened. Mr. Zohdi said that the portion of the improvement would be on the apple orchard side of the road.
Mr. Jedraszek asked what determines the size of drainage for a road. Mr. Zohdi explained that there are two drainage systems. He said one of which already exists and won’t be touched, and the second will have an increase in flow so they will add catch basins.
Mr. Jay Lynch, 100 Oakridge Drive, Londonderry, confirmed with Mr. Zohdi where Baldwin Hill and the cul-de-sac was on the plan. He then asked if there would be any problems with him going through to his property. Mr. Zohdi showed him the area in question and said there wouldn’t be any problem in the future with him cutting through.
Mr. Lynch asked if the monies collected as the exaction would remain in his area or be used in other parts of the Town. Mr. Danevich informed that the monies would stay in his neighborhood.
Ms. Lynn Jedraszek, 56 Valley Hill Road, wanted to know if the drainage would have to be in place before the construction. Mr. Danevich said it is fairly common and he expects the erosion control recommendation to come from CLD. Mr. Zohdi explained that the drainage systems start from the lowest point and move up. Ms. Jedraszek informed that there has been some soil running down. She then asked if there would still be natural waterway drainage. Mr. Zohdi answered yes.
Mr. Culbert made a motion to accept the plan for consideration. Mr. Scanzani seconded for discussion.
Mr. Culbert said he wants the erosion control in place before construction begins. He asked if the drainage at the intersection of Valley Hill and Jonathan would be made better. Mr. Zohdi said that area wouldn’t have any drainage.
Mr. Messina reminded Mr. Zohdi to submit three proposed names for the roads.
MOTION: (Culbert/Scanzani) To accept the plan for consideration.
VOTE: (7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.
Mr. Danevich gave Mr. Zohdi guidelines and reminded him of the scheduled site walk.
Mr. Culbert asked if there were any waivers. Mr. Zohdi said yes and would like to reserve the right to work with Mr. Messina, CLD and the Board for changes (i.e. grade of the road).
Mr. Culbert made a motion to accept the waiver for consideration. Ms. Ouellette seconded for discussion.
Ms. Ouellette pointed out the length of the cul-de-sacs. Mr. Zohdi explained that one is temporary and the others are all road connections.
MOTION: (Culbert/Ouellette) To accept the waiver for consideration.
VOTE: (7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.
ML 10-315 PPS Realty/Route 38 - Site Plan Review for proposed expansion of office building with associated parking into the adjoining lot for Approval.
Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates appeared before the board to present the proposed office building expansion. He began by explaining that the first phase was a separate lot, previously approved by the Board, and now, his client has purchased an additional lot. He said the leach field has been redesigned and will now be in front of the property, under the parking lot and has already been approved by the State and Town. He said they’ve obtained State highway access for two points. He informed they would have additional parking in the front. He also explained that the building would not change, they are simply adding onto it with the same type of building.
Mr. Danevich asked what has been done with the drainage culvert. Mr. Zohdi said they would be replacing the catch basin and adding a culvert, but need permission from the Board before beginning. Mr. Danevich asked about extending the landscaping further along to the new parcel. Mr. Zohdi said the same shrubbery approved for the first phase would be used along the extension. Mr. Danevich then asked if the stonewall would remain in place. Mr. Zohdi answered yes.
Mr. DeLuca asked if the cupola would be replaced because it doesn’t show on the picture presented. Mr. Zohdi said it would be on the building.
Ms. Ouellette asked who would occupy the additional space. Mr. Zohdi said he has provided a list of tenants and informed it was office space.
Mr. Mike Provencal, 72 Bridge Street, said he is very pleased with the workmanship. He said prior to tonight he was concerned about the stonewall, but not anymore. He ended by saying that he would rather see 36 businesses than a 36-lot subdivision.
MOTION: (Scanzani/Casey) To approve the parking waiver as submitted.
VOTE: (7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.
MOTION: (Scanzani/Casey) To approve the plan subject to final sign off by CLD.
VOTE: (7 - 0 - 0) The motion carries.
ML 11-28-2 & 3 Donald & Joan Fauvel/Spring Street - Proposed 3-Lot Subdivision for Approval
Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates, appeared before the Board to present the proposed subdivision. He said he would not speak on behalf of the abutter, but believes that his client and the abutter have come to an agreement regarding the driveway. He went on to say that his client will pave his 15’ driveway for both lots. He informed that the shape of the lots are now square.
Mr. Messina reiterated that whatever has been decided between Mr. Zohdi’s client and the abutter should remain a civil matter and not involve the Board.
Mr. Danevich asked how the iron rods would be set in the middle of the WCD. Mr. Zohdi said a control point would be set and informed that it is easy to do.
Ms. Ouellette asked if the Board’s file needed something in writing between Mr. Zohdi’s client and the abutter regarding the resolution of the driveway issue. Mr. Messina answered no, because the plan contains a compliant driveway located entirely on the parcel.
There was no public input.
MOTION: (Scanzani/Culbert) To approve the plan as presented.
VOTE: (6 - 0 - 0) The motion carries. Ms. Casey stepped down.
ML 9-63 Mary Farm Trust/Woodlawn Circle - Proposed 11-Lot Subdivision for Approval
Mr. Peter Zohdi, Herbert Associates, appeared before the Board to present the proposed subdivision. He informed that he has met with CLD and have complied with all of their requirements. He said they have already met with Conservation, who suggested the addition of no-cut zones at the back of the property. He said they had other concerns, but Mr. Gove can answers those concerns.
Mr. James Gove, Gove Environmental Services appeared before the Board to explain the Environmental Impact Assessment. He let it be known that the assessment was put together by Katie Surawick, one of their subcontractors. He then gave a brief explanation of the findings. He began by discussing the large wetland to the North of the site and informed there is a perennial stream, which flows into Golden Brook. He went on to discuss the recommendations. He said there is a ridgeline with steep slopes at the North of site, which is a wildlife corridor. He said the other wildlife corridor is the stream itself as well as the edge, which is poorly drained soil. Mr. Gove discussed certain notations made which were a number of rock outcroppings, which contain a fair amount of wildlife habitat. He said the way to try and limit the disruption to the forest track would be to have a no-cut zone, a 50’ buffer.
Mr. Culbert asked about the nest and den sites as well as moving the large boulder to encourage wildlife. Mr. Gove said its either a very large boulder the size of a house, or it’s bedrock. He said that either way, it has a sheer face and is very large.
Ms. Casey asked if Mr. Gove is recommending a buffer larger 50’. Mr. Gove said he didn’t want to force the houses any further into the ridgeline. He then discussed having a selective cut area to balance out the 50’ buffer zone.
Ms. Joan Sullivan, 58 Hobbs Road, said she has reviewed the stream and in 1980 it was considered a zone A, 100 year flood plane. She said that Ivars Pond is at the highest level she’s ever seen. She said it doesn’t appear to be running, there is something blocking the flow and algae has collected. She suggest that the Board review it. Ms. Sullivan asked what escavation has been taking place. Mr. Zohdi informed they’ve done test pits. He said some of the tests pits were for soil, and some were for individual septic systems. He noted they are working with two soil scientists and three wetland scientists.
Ms. Sullivan asked to review the percolation tests and dates. Mr. Zohdi informed they have been submitted to the Board. Ms. Sullivan reviewed the information that was submitted and said she already had those copies. Mr. Danevich clarified that site specific for the entire parcel has not been requested. He said the Board is only reviewing the subdivision of land. Ms. Sullivan said she was under the impression that site specifics have been requested. Mr. Messina said they are site specific plans, but have not been approved at this time. Ms. Sullivan wanted to clarify if the percolation test has been performed. Mr. Zohdi said that it has been done, and the Health Agent would review.
Mr. John Grenda, Woodlawn Circle, stated that per his calculation, at least six of the leach fields appear to fall within the 125’ setback. Mr. Zohdi noted all the individual septic design will be 150’ from the centerline of the perennial stream.
Mr. Zohdi addressed Ms. Sullivan’s concern of the flood zone. He explained that the topography is tied to the flood zone and the individual foundation permits must be certified either within, or out of the flood zone. Mr. Scanzani explained that the septic areas appear larger on the plan because they need to show the existing septic, as well as an alternative area in case the existing fails.
Mr. Grenda’s understanding is that the 125’ is not from the centerline, but from one bank or the other. Mr. Zohdi said that the ZBA has given their opinion, but it has yet to be decided by the courts. Mr. McNamara clarified the ZBA’s discussion from the last meeting, and said that the rule, as it was written, clearly states that a leach bed has to be 125’ from the edge of the wetland. Mr. Scanzani said in the past they have always gone by the edge of certain vegetation as well as the determination of the soil scientist. Mr. Zohdi said that from group 6 soil they stay 100’ and from group 5 soil they stay 75’.
Mr. Grenda wanted an explanation of the computations for lot 9-63, which appear to be 1/3 or more wetland. His understanding is that the minimum lot size shouldn’t include wetland or 100 year flood acreage. Mr. Zohdi said the lot line has been changed due to not having enough acreage, and the plan has been submitted. Mr. Grenda also said there is a requirement to list the total square feet of non-wetland soil. Mr. Zohdi said that the total useable area is one acre. Mr. Grenda asked for further clarification of the calculation for ML 9-63-7 due to the wetland areas. He said the total square feet of non-wetland soil as well as the lot calculations should be listed on the plat per the regulations. Mr. Zohdi believes that as long as he has one acre of useable land, and if he complies with the DES, he is safe. Mr. Scanzani spoke up to say that each plan, based on the regulations, must have 35,000 feet of contiguous dry land. He said all plans have an engineer’s stamp on them and that’s the reason for having engineers. Mr. Zohdi informed that CLD has already reviewed the lot sizing. Mr. Grenda reiterated that it is a requirement to have the calculations listed. Mr. Zohdi explained that the calculations are digitized by the computer. Mr. Culbert asked if the information is available. Mr. Zohdi said the plan has the information listed that each lot has one acre of dry land. Ms. Casey added that the Board members are not engineers, but when the engineer has stamped the plan, he stands behind it. She said that if there was a problem, the Board would take it up with the engineer. Mr. Grenda asked when the Board would find out if there was a problem. Mr. Scanzani said they would find out when the soil scientist did a delineation, and when CLD reviews. Mr. Grenda wanted to know how CLD verifies the figures on the convoluted pieces of land. He believes that if the calculations were listed, it would be clear to everyone that ML 9-63 doesn’t meet the minimum requirement. Mr. Danevich added to the discussion by saying that the calculations were done by a professional firm who has certified the information, and staked their reputation on the facts. He said the Board is obligated to hear the advice of the professional firms to move forward. Mr. Zohdi said they would provide all the information for the Board to review. Mr. Messina explained how CLD determines the calculations and if the calculations submitted don’t come close to theirs, they would call for more information.
Ms. Theresa Rivard, 31 Woodlawn Drive, said that the length of the cul-de-sac, per regulation, should be 560’ but in fact it is 1000’. She wanted to know if it required a waiver. Mr. Danevich answered yes. Ms. Rivard said the brook isn’t flowing the way it normally does due to a concrete wall that was added. She wanted to know what would happen if the property was sold and the wall was eventually taken out. Mr. Zohdi said FEMA reviewed the area, specifically Golden Brook and stated the elevation is 136’. Ms. Rivard believes it’s against the law to block off a brook and would like the Town to review. Mr. Culbert said it would be against the law to remove the wall now. Mr. Scanzani said FEMA has the authority to assess and remove, but it is off site and isn’t involved with this particular plan. Mr. Messina said the 100-year flood plane is at 136’ and the lowest house is at 146’. He said there isn’t any area that would come close to flooding and noted there is already a no-build zone, which takes into consideration the flood area.
Mr. Grenda asked the status of the land in back vs. the Town land. Mr. Messina said CLD hasn’t completed the boundary survey, but the preliminary indication is the Town parcel is smaller than previously believed.
Ms. Rivard clarified that the vote would be for the subdivision and wanted to know when she will see exact sizes. Mr. Zohdi explained what compliances need to be received before the foundation goes in. Mr. Danevich informed that if approved, this would be the last time the plan will be before the Board as long as all the conditions are met. Ms. Rivard asked if a developer had been selected. Mr. Zohdi answered no.
Ms. Casey asked if the right away was where the original easement was placed. Mr. Zohdi said it was a little wider. Ms. Casey asked if it was on the boundary of the first lot. Mr. Zohdi said yes, it hasn’t been changed. She then asked if the building inspector has reviewed the plan. Mr. Zohdi said he will at the time of site specific. She then renewed her concern of going beyond the 560’ for the cul-de-sac.
MOTION: (Scanzani/Culbert) To approve the waiver as previously accepted for the length of the cul-de-sac.
VOTE: (5 - 1 - 1) The motion carries. Ms. Casey voted No. Mr. McNamara abstained.
MOTION: (Scanzani/Culbert) To approve the plan, subject to:
1) Property line verification by CLD of the Town parcel, to be submitted within 30 days.
2) Final plan review by CLD.
3) Signs required for perpetual no-cut zone for ML 963-8, 9 & 10.
4) Plan needs to show individual septic systems at 125’ from the edge of streams.
5) Plan is to note the usable area and non-usable area for each lot.
ROLL CALL: Ms. Casey-Yes; Mr. Culbert-Yes; Mr. DeLuca-Yes; Ms. Ouellette-Yes; Mr. Scanzani-Yes; Mr. Danevich-Yes
(6 - 0 - 1) The motion carries. Mr. McNamara abstained.
Mr. Scanzani asked that title blocks be added to all the pages. Mr. Zohdi said he would correct.
Ms. Casey left the meeting.
ML 10-310 Arthur & Margaret Cereillo/Retail Building/Route 38 - Conceptual Design
Mr. Zohdi appeared before the Board to discuss the conceptual design. He explained that his clients would like to have a retail business. He said he needed to know the parking requirements.
Mr. Danevich asked what type of retail business they were proposing. Mr. Zohdi said it would be wholesale homegoods and said it isn’t a flea market.
Mr. Culbert asked if the parking area would be calculated as it was for Victory Supermarket. Mr. Zohdi said it would be more.
Mr. DeLuca asked if the parking would be in the back. Mr. Culbert then asked if they would consider parking in the back. Mr. Zohdi said for that type of business it is better to park in front, they could add shrubbery, then two rows of parking in the front. Mr. Danevich said a larger green space buffer between Route 38 and parking would probably be acceptable.
Mr. McNamara asked if the building would be one story. Mr. Zohdi answered yes.
Mr. Danevich reminded Mr. Zohdi of the sensitivity with Route 38, and anything to make it more attractive would be appreciated.
Mr. DeLuca said he doesn’t have a problem with making the parking area along the side the building, so that patrons can see vehicles.
Mr. Zohdi thanked the Board for the feedback.
ML 7-114 Honey Dew Donuts/Route 38 - Conceptual Design
Mr. Zohdi appeared before the Board to discuss the conceptual design. He said the owner is proposing to put two gas islands. He said they would comply with all regulations. He informed that everything on the existing site would remain except for a few parking spaces.
Mr. Danevich noted the complexity of the proposed due to the 100-year flood plane as well as a 30’ gas easement with an aluminum gas pipe.
Mr. Scanzani doesn’t believe the proposed is a good idea due to the location.
Mr. Culbert said if the owner wants to add the gas pumps, he should go ahead.
Mr. DeLuca said it may not be the best thing to add and asked if they have thought of adding retail instead. Mr. Zohdi said there isn’t room.
Mr. Scanzani asked if there were any regulations that would prevent a gas station being added.
Mr. McNamara said he shares Mr. Scanzani’s concerns.
Ms. Ouellette doesn’t believe it is the best business to add to the location due to the proximity of the wetland.
Mr. Scanzani brought up the fact that adding a gas station over a wetland has been a problem. He also noted that the Board recently asked a plan to remove a gas island prior to approval.
Mr. Danevich said he doesn’t object to the owner’s desire to make better use of their property. He said however, that appropriate use of a gas station next to a flood plane, on top of an aqua fur, next to a gas line was not the best combination and doesn’t meet the long term goal for Route 38.
PLANNING DIRECTOR UPDATE
Mr. Messina said the approved 5-lot subdivision on Bush Hill Road has been challenged due to the 125’ septic set back. He said a request has been submitted that the Board rehear the case, however there is no requirement to do so. He believes it should be resolved by the courts. He informed that the CLD checklist is now in electronic form and the pre-construction checklist has been updated.
Mr. Culbert informed that marketing plans would be discussed at the next Open Space meeting scheduled for Thursday. Ms. Ouellette said the more pictures, the better. Mr. Culbert said that Mr. Zohdi has offered to present.
Mr. Scanzani discussed the article in the Lawrence Eagle Tribune regarding the proposed wetland setbacks in Londonderry. He said their requirements were far less restrictive. He informed that the Town people were against the increase in the wetlands and threatened to sue. Mr. Scanzani believes that all wetlands need to be protected.
There was a short discussion regarding what constitutes a wetland. Also the fact that within six months, standing water begins to take on the characteristics of a wetland.
Mr. Scanzani shared information he received from a local insurance company, which suggested that people review their homeowner’s policy and zoning laws. Mr. Messina said that based on the ZBA’s ruling, the verbiage in the original zoning ordinance named certain ponds, brooks and streams, but the current ordinance doesn’t. Mr. Messina said the zoning ordinance is the enabling law and that the changes in the subdivision regulations would be the implementation.
Mr. Scanzani said that the municipal building committee is still in the discussion stages of defining the exact purpose of what they are looking at, it would be another two or three meetings before conclusion.
Mr. Danevich said there is no update for the cul-de-sac issue.
Mr. Danevich then discussed the upcoming meetings and dates.
A motion was made and seconded to adjourn the meeting.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:04 pm.
Charity A. L. Willis