Friday, November 13, 2009
Planning Board unhappy with easement encroachment, Benfield 40B application
Curt Farnsworth, partner of Cnc Builders of Northborough, appeared at the November 9 Planning Board meeting to discuss encroachment of a septic system retaining wall onto a pedestrian easement on Lot 15 at the Greystone Crossing development. Farnsworth said that the responsible engineer, George Dimakarakos (Stamski & McNary), could not attend because of a schedule conflict.
Farnsworth presented a letter from his attorney, Rackemann, Sawyer and Brewster giving the opinion: “The retaining wall will not prevent use of the Pedestrian Easement by those with rights therein.” The board had a different opinion but chose not to press the point. As board member Marc Lamere, who is liaison to the Trails Committee, observed, the easement is not critical for the trail that had been laid out. (See “Shorts from the Conservation Commission, September 24,” Mosquito, October 2, 2009.)
Chair David Freedman said that the encroachment does not mean that the town gives up the easement. He said that the board looks forward to the next appearance of George Dimakarakos, so that there can be a discussion of “policy questions.”
Benfield Farms – 40B
Board Administrator George Mansfield observed that the 40B application, submitted by developer Neighborhood of Affordable Housing contained, “typos, words missing, partial words and significant blanks.” Freedman added that the request for waivers amounts to a “blanket waiver request” and that where there are specific waivers requested there is seldom a statement of the reason for the request. He said, “This is not consistent with statute.” Further, some of the waivers requested cannot be granted because the items involved are under state control.
Looking into some of the specifics provided in the application and design documentation, the board cautioned that their comments in no way constitute a complete review. Several comments were: The proposed 24-foot wide roadway leading from the 20-foot wide South Street will adversely impact the visual “streetscape.” Some of the indicated handicapped parking spaces are not near a building entrance. The pull-off area for fire trucks at the fire cistern is not within the development but is right on South Street.
The board consensus was that these and other issues recommend a strenuous peer review by an independent engineering firm in support of the Zoning Board of Appeals review. Freedman added that although the application purports to be a complete application, no drainage or storm water calculations had been included. ∆
© 2009 The