TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Planning Board met on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020 week for a virtual meeting via WebEx.
A bond release and as-built acceptance for Robbie Terris Way was continued to the board’s Nov. 16 meeting. The board recently expressed concerns about outstanding issues the proponent has with the town.
“The DPW needs more time to review the application,” said Town Planner Anna McGinty. “There’s still some outstanding items.”
The board reviewed a land disturbance permit extension request 300 Ames Pond Dr. The proponent’s representative Dick Cuoco explained that the COVID-19 pandemic had stalled operations. The board voted to approve a three-year extension of the permit.
The board reviewed a site plan special permit for a parcel at 913 East St. for Francesca Land, LLC. Consultant Jim Hanley explained that there are two existing buildings on the parcel, zoned heavy industrial; one is a 2,250 square foot garage that is non-conforming and too close to the parcel boundary.
The proponent is seeking to add a 7,000 square foot addition to the garage, and build four new bays in addition to one existing bay. Hanley explained that there are several minor utility and drainage improvements to be made, and reviewed comments from the DPW and the Town Planner.
“We don’t take any issue or exception with any of this stuff,” he said. “We’re going to work through the process over the next week or so, set a revised plan, clean it up and get it done.”
The property falls within 100 feet of a wetland zone across the railroad track, so the proponent will consult with the DPW and conservation commission.
Due to the volume of traffic on East Street, the board asked that the entire garage be painted a dark color. The board also requested a landscaping plan.
Member Jay Delaney noted that the parcel used to be a gas station and asked if the land had been cleared; Hanley said that all tanks have been removed and the land has been inspected. The board emphasized the need for landscaping and voted to continue the issue.
The board returned to an ongoing discussion about a definitive subdivision/open space residential design application for 181 Pine St. The board recently expressed concerns about the geometry of the roadway of the proposed project. The four lot subdivision is being developed by Jim Andella.
“We have a situation on Pine Street,” said Andella’s attorney David Plunkett. “There’s an encroachment onto the applicant’s property” by the layout of the town’s roadway.
The developer presented a new layout of the property to address the issue, which would provide an easement for the town. The board expressed their satisfaction with the new plan, but did not vote on the issue to allow for the Town Engineer to comment.
The board also reviewed affordable housing requirements for the property. McGinty explained that for any open space residential design special permit development of five lots or more, the bylaw stipulates that 10 percent of total dwelling units must be designated affordable, rounding up to the next whole number.
The Pine Street development rounds to one lot designated affordable, or the developer can pay a fee instead if the board permits.
Plunkett argued that because the property consists of an existing unit and an additional buildable lot, the design only presents a net increase of four lots and does not trigger the affordable housing component.
“[An affordable unit] basically destroys the potential of this layout,” he said.
McGinty said the bylaw clearly states the affordability component is based on total dwelling units, including existing units.
“It’s not open to interpretation by each applicant,” she said. “It’s not really something for the board to interpret.”
“We’ll have further discussions, because this will be crucial to whether this is viable or not,” said Plunkett.
The board voted to waive filing fees on the new design and continued the issue to the next meeting.
Member Vinny Fratalia reminded board members to consider proposing streets for sidewalk development. Chairman Bob Fowler floated the idea of joining some spots along Main Street.
The next meeting of the Planning Board is scheduled for Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.
Residents wishing to comment may use the call-in number during the meeting, found on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33 and on the town’s YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/TewksburyTV.