Planning Committee Summary: Plans Discussed for Historic Home at 83 East Main; Frankland Road solar decommissioning plan approved

The house at 83 Main Street dates from 1875. FILE PHOTO/JERRY SPAR

The planning panel opened a new public hearing on an open space mixed-use development (OSMUD) at 83 East Main Street at its meeting Monday night, raising concerns about how the three proposed age-restricted housing units will fit into the historic single-family home that will be recreated on the site and fit into the character of the quarter.

About half of the two-hour meeting was devoted to Chubb Road LLC’s land proposal. The site, which is part of the Village Center zoning district, is a small triangular lot at the corner of East Main Street and Legacy Farms Roads North (just west of Weston Nurseries).

Developer Roy MacDowell represented Legacy Farms in presenting the site plan. He referred to the historic landmark as “the old white house with the aqua colored shutters.” With the building and its foundation in a state of disrepair, he and the Historical Commission debated that the developer should demolish the building and erect a replica “exactly as it is or originally was” on the exterior portion of the lot . The Historical Commission wanted it to be built on the exact spot where the current house is located.

MacDowell added that about a week ago, the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) granted special permission to build the new home on the same site, despite a pre-existing condition that allowed the home to have an inadequate frontage.

In addition to the replica house, the proposal included three age-restricted condominiums for people aged 55 and over at the back of the property. Each would have a two-car garage that would store rubbish in addition to vehicles.

Privacy trees would line the rear perimeter of the site. The condos would be pearl gray with white trim, which would match other buildings in the area.

However, MacDowell said Phil Paradis, the city’s adviser from BETA Group, had “a long list” of concerns, some of which would be addressed in the updated plans presented during the hearing. The new plans indicated that fires can access the site and there will be sprinklers in the units.

“I think we’ve got all the points covered,” MacDowell said.

However, Paradis did not agree that BETA’s concerns were addressed. As he began to outline his issues with the plans, particularly stormwater management and lighting, planning committee chairman Gary Trendel interrupted him because it seemed the number of issues required “homework for the proposer.”

Trendel proposed a site tour to get a better idea of ​​the project and the board members agreed to attend on August 20th.

“It will help to visualize how this fits into the larger landscape,” he said.

Board members raised concerns about parking, particularly for visitors. While there are two spaces in each garage, McDowell said two cars could park in each driveway.

“It just doesn’t seem right,” said board member Rob Benson of the plan

Trendel added, “I’m having trouble seeing how some sort of random three-family structure fits in.”

MacDowell explained that the zoning allows for both residential and commercial or office development. But housing made the most sense.

The board voted to continue the hearing until the August 27 meeting, when the development team will provide updated plans and renderings.

Frankland Road solar decommissioning plan approved

The board unanimously approved a plan by Agilitas Energy for the decommissioning plan for the solar facility recently acquired from Seaboard Solar.

Principal planner John Gelcich explained that Seaboard had previously submitted a decommissioning plan before selling the property. That plan was put on hold due to the transaction. Agilitas presented a revised decommissioning bond schedule that the board had to consider in order for the city to be the bond beneficiary.

Agilitas’ Mustafa Sezgin explained that the bond’s value was changed from approximately US$104,000 to US$227,425, which includes a 10 percent performance fee. The term of the bond is 25 years. The estimated cost of decommissioning the project is $476,177.45. There’s also a 3 percent inflation adjustment, which is standard.

Board member Fran DeYoung asked who would pay if the property were sold. Gelcich stated that the city would be the beneficiary of the bond. The success fee is included in the event that the city would need to hire a third party to remove the solar system.

The board also unanimously approved two related project cost adjustments for the landscaping and stormwater management plans. Landscaping estimate was $149,980 including plants, maintenance and water. The work should be completed in three months.

The stormwater management deposit would be $16,875 for maintenance. Construction infrastructure costs would be $967,000.

Eversource LNG update OK

The board unanimously approved minor changes it deemed insignificant to a stormwater management plan for Eversource’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) facility at 52 Wilson Street. Tim Grace represented the advocate of a “slight change” to the previously proposed landscaping. Landscaping would be moved about 20 feet from the fence “primarily for security and access reasons.”

“With landscaping so close to the fence, there’s always a concern that someone might climb onto that landscaping and use it to gain access to the facility,” Grace said.

Some previously proposed landscaping on the street side of the fence is already protected by the Tree of Life and was deemed unnecessary. On the other hand, it is suggested to advance landscaping to allow clay and sowing. Trees would replace the current shrubbery. This would benefit the project from a stormwater management perspective, Grace noted. The work will mainly be carried out behind the weighing house.

Paul resigns from his position

Longtime planning committee member Dave Paul has resigned from the board as he is moving out of town, Trendel announced.

“He’s one of our longest-serving board members,” Trendel said. “I always appreciate his honesty and integrity. I am grateful that we have had his commitment for so long.”

This will create a vacancy on the board, which was posted on the city’s website on Tuesday.

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