Friday, July 17, 2009
Assurance Technology Corporation nears site plan approval
After review by the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Health and the Fire Department over the course of the past two years, the site plan for minor alterations to the Assurance Technology Corporation structure at 84 South Street could possibly gain approval by the end of the summer. Chip Orcutt, property manager, appeared on behalf of the South Street Realty Trust and H. Larue Renfroe, company president of the aerospace company at the site, to present the plan to the Board of Selectman (BOS) on July 14. After the Planning Board calls a public hearing to review the plan and variances, the Selectmen hope to finalize the process.
“You’re a good neighbor and a good tax payer,” said BOS Chair Timothy Hult after reviewing the plan and proposed variances. He voiced his support for a speedy completion of plan review.
Assurance Technology purchased the property in 1979 and operates under a special permit, reviewable every five years. The South Street facility serves as headquarters for the corporation and houses senior management, project management and accounting personnel. Other offices include a Chelmsford manufacturing facility and offices in Virginia, Florida, and Alabama.
The planned alterations involve removal of an existing structure that currently connects the two buildings on South Street calculated at 743 square feet, and installation of a smaller link with the addition of a lunch room for the 88 employees working there. The net square footage added would come to less than 300 square feet. At present the small employee lunchroom only fits eight people. As a result many people go out to eat lunch. Orcutt believes that a larger space would prompt more employees to stay in at lunch, thereby reducing street traffic. The BOS reviewed the requested variances, which included the following items and rationale:
• Plan sizes. The site plan drawings under consideration do not meet the precise and required scale and architect drawing requirements; however, to redo them would require an additional expense of about $5,000, according to Orcutt.
• Site plan submission requirements. The limited plan scope and intent should not require response to many of these items which the ZBA concurs are not requisite.
• Title V septic system certificate. The applicant requests waiver of the requirement, as they are currently working with the Board of Health on septic system repairs. The property will meet Title V certification requirements once septic system modifications are complete, but waiting for it may delay the building addition further.
• Project review fee. Given the small scope of the project, Orcutt requested waiver of this $2,000 expense.
• Lighting plan. The proposal will match the existing lighting conditions at the overall site.
• Pedestrian and traffic improvements. Orcutt believes the addition of a lunch room will encourage people to stay in for lunch and thereby reduce traffic.
• Management plan. The site does not house hazardous materials and therefore does not require a management plan.
Hult led the discussion on the variances. He noted that the applicant had already paid a $1,000 application filing fee and that he concurred that the $2,000 project review fee might be considered “excessive” given the scope of work, but he would leave final determination to the Planning Board.
Orcutt addressed whether the possible disruption of wetlands was worthy of consideration by the Conservation Commission. Orcutt responded, “We’re 140 feet from the nearest area that we will disturb, but well outside the 100-foot buffer zone.” When asked about the historical aspect of the building by Selectman Doug Stevenson, Orcutt noted that all exterior work would match the rest of the building in appearance, while interior work would be brought up to modern-day code. ∆
© 2009 The