Friday, April 18, 2008
Occupancy permits withheld for Hobblebush development
Planning Board Chair Michael Epstein reported on April 14 that the certificate of occupancy for two homes in the Hobblebush development off West Street are being withheld and escrow money will not be released due to deficiencies in road construction. The road appears to have been built to a plan dated July 2004 and not to the Planning Board–approved plan of December 2004. As a result, a number of conditions added to the plan were not executed. Epstein said “there were some significant changes, most dealing with drainage.”
The biggest discrepancy between the approved plan and the one used in building the road involves catch basins that should have been located within a stone trench, but instead are built into the road. Northland, the developer, may now be required to change the road to conform to the right plan.
Epstein noted the Planning Board could have been in an embarrassing position because the engineer hired by the town, Nitsch Engineering, also used the wrong plan in reviewing the “as built.” It was not clear who gave the firm the wrong plans, but it should have been noticed that they were not signed and the date did not conform to the date of the special permit. “I’m glad we decided not to release the security” before the error was discovered, said Epstein.
Epstein also noted that a certificate of occupancy for another home at Hobblebush had been issued in error by the building department without sign-off of the Planning Board. Dave Freedman suggested a letter be sent documenting the error, and it was noted that the new Building Commissioner, when hired, should be approached as to how to avoid a repeat. Because people have already moved into the house, no other action will be taken. Four lots have been sold at Hobblebush, but one will not be built on.
George Mansfield noted that another Northland development, Applegrove, which is across the street, also has catch basins in the road, and therefore appears to be out of conformance with its plan. Since no lots have been sold this has not yet come back before the Planning Board. The board will ask the developer to come in and discuss it. ∆
© 2008 The