Planning Board Minutes 12/15/2010
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
December 15, 2010
Present: John Stirling – Chairman, Mimi Demers - Secretary, Bill Straub – Vice Chairman, Terrence Parker, and Kate Pelletier, Planning Coordinator.
Absent: Joel Moulton and Warren Spencer.
CALL TO ORDER
Chair John Stirling called the Planning Board meeting to order at 7:02 P.M.
October 29, 2010 – Planning Board site walk: Motion by Mr. Straub, second by Mr. Parker to approve meeting minutes as written, passed 2-0 (Ms. Demers abstained due to absence from the site walk).
December 1, 2010- Planning Board regular meeting: Motion by Mr. Straub, second by Ms. Demers to approve meeting minutes as amended, passed unanimously.
No comments from the public.
Public hearing – Amendments to Chapter 140 of the Town of South Berwick Code of Ordinances applying the Maine Uniform Building & Energy Code.
Mr. Stirling explained that this amendment was mandated by the State of Maine and the municipalities have to change the code to reflect the new unified building and energy code.
Public hearing opened.
No comments from the public.
Public hearing closed.
Mr. Stirling asked if the Board had any comments or questions.
Mr. Straub asked if the Board had to vote on this amendment. Ms. Pelletier stated that she didn’t think so. With consensus from the Board the ordinance can be forwarded to the Council for a vote.
The Board agreed by consensus to forward the ordinance, as written, to the Council.
MJS #10-01 – Application for a 6-lot commercial subdivision to be located on Route 236. Applicant/owner is H.L. Patten Construction, Inc. (mailing address: PO Box 450, Kittery, ME 03904). Property can be identified as Map 1, Lot 33 and is located in the Industrial zoning district.
Tom Harmon of Civil Consultants represented the applicant. He explained that this was the same project that was approved previously by the Board and that nothing substantive had changed. The application is about to be approved for site location permit from DEP and that Inland Fisheries and Wildlife (IF&W) had identified some problems concerning the black racer snake. He stated that tunnels were installed on the site for the snakes in the location of the CMP right of way. Stone walls will also be installed to prevent them from crossing Route 236. IF&W also required a 100’ natural buffer to the CMP power line, which included a portion of the gas line, which has been cleared. He explained that the site had been completely graded and provided stormwater drainage for it. The plans show the basins that are going to be incorporated and the impervious area on each lot has been maximized so that the stormwater treatment is done for each lot. He stated that the treatment basins will not be built until the lots are constructed. In the meantime, the lots will be graded, recovered and seeded until such time someone wants to develop the lot. The individual lots may not be developed to the full impervious area shown on the plan depending on the future use, but they will be ready if that’s what the lot owners want. He stated that the basins will not all be built. They will however install the basins to take care of the road and Mr. Patten’s building. Mr. Patten’s building was approved for a permit by rule from the DEP. He explained that in that permit by rule application was approved using pervious pavement in order to keep it under the threshold of needing a stormwater permit, which takes four to five months. When he applied for the site location permit he changed it from pervious to impervious pavement, which will be treated by the stormwater basins. Keeping the impervious area under an acre prevents needing a full stormwater permit. The most pressing issue is the waivers needed for the roadway. He stated that he believed the requirements for commercial/industrial roads were overkill and unnecessary for the development of this lot. The property is quite steep, going up to 10% grade. The topography of the site makes it nearly impossible to meet the maximum 5% grade. Significant cuts were utilized and the site was traversed to accomplish the 10% grade. He stated that he is also requesting a waiver to the minimum right of way width from 80’ to 50’ and 60’ depending on the area. Any traffic in the area is going to be moving slowly. Another waiver is requested to the sidewalk requirement since no sidewalks are proposed on Route 236 and to the minimum pavement width requirements from 44’ to 24’ to lessen the environment and financial impact. 24’ of pavement allows for 3’ shoulders and transit of commercial vehicles through the site. He stated that his waiver requests are included in writing in the application package. He explained that there would be onsite wells with individual pumps at each site, tying into the forced main that runs from the high school to the gravity sewer on Academy Street. He stated that he approached the water district to ask if they were interested in participating. They stated they were interested but it was not economically possible right now. He stated that he was not anticipating anything in the area requiring a large amount of water or an impact on the sewer system.
Mr. Stirling asked if the State traffic permits were still adequate. Mr. Harmon stated that was correct.
Mr. Parker asked which stormwater basins would be built. Mr. Harmon stated that #21 and #24 on the plan would be constructed. The basins above that are going to be constructed as settlement basins without filters. There will also be another one on the bottom right hand side to treat Patten’s facility and the roadway. He stated that the geotechnical people at DEP want liners on each basin, which will require excavating bedrock. An extra filter will be installed on the bottom with an under-drain system to pick up any groundwater that was there.
Mr. Straub asked if Mr. Harmon knew what the groundwater level would be. Mr. Harmon stated that he didn’t know but when Mr. Patten blasted out the back face against the back of the site there was no groundwater coming out of it. Mr. Straub asked if there was any seepage on that back face. Mr. Patten stated there was not and that when they hydro’d the well they had to go down with casing a lot further.
Mr. Stirling asked if the road would be paved right away. Mr. Harmon stated that the SBA loan on Mr. Patten’s building requires the road to be paved.
Mr. Parker asked if the grading plan reflected the grading that’s out there now. Mr. Harmon stated that it’s very close.
Mr. Straub asked if it was the intention of the applicant for the road to be public. Mr. Harmon stated it was. Mr. Straub suggested requesting a letter from Fire and Public Works before the Board decides whether or not to grant the requested waivers.
Mr. Harmon asked if the town would take care of getting those letters from Public Works and Fire. Ms. Pelletier stated that she would forward the application to the Fire Chief and that the Public Works director had already began reviewing the plan.
Mr. Straub stated that a waiver to the road length needed to be requested also, which he didn’t see in the application. He asked what the rationale for a 1200’ road was. Mr. Harmon stated that they wouldn’t be able to do what they need to do with a 600’ road. Mr. Straub asked that he put the reasons in writing.
Mr. Straub asked who owned the sewer line down to the pump station at Marshwood. Mr. Harmon stated that it could be private if the road doesn’t get turned over to the town. If it does become a public road it would need to go to the sewer district. Mr. Straub requested something in writing from the sewer district as well.
Mr. Straub stated that this was a highly unusual subdivision because the roadway is down so low at the top and in order to get the road in a tremendous amount of rock excavation is required. Mr. Harmon stated that it’s balanced and that they cut on the top and filled on the bottom. Mr. Straub asked for a cross section of that. He stated that it did not appear even close to balancing. He stated that he was of the opinion that not only was this a subdivision but that it would also require site review for extraction. There are 1:1 slopes that are 60’ long, which make it look like a quarry. The site plan requirements are that the applicant show what’s going to be excavated, how it’s going to be excavated and carried offsite, etc. Mr. Harmon stated that he would take a look at it.
Mr. Straub asked what the surface will be built up with. Mr. Harmon stated that each lot would be loamed and seeded until such time someone wants to buy it at which time they will gravel the areas they want. Mr. Straub stated that he didn’t see how the Board could not require the site review requirements for extraction here. He stated that the next issue was drainage and that he wanted to know about the sequencing and construction of the drainage and that he would like it reviewed by an independent party. Mr. Harmon stated that DEP was already reviewing this and that a third party review would be overkill. Mr. Straub stated that this is very complicated and affects sensitive watersheds that are small and end up in the Piscataqua River. He stated that he would like to see the drainage report and then the Board can decide whether or not they want a third party review.
Ms. Pelletier stated that Section 140-49 states that earthmoving activities allowed without site plan approval include the removal or filling of material incidental to construction, alteration or repair of a building or accessory structure or in the grading and landscaping incidental to such construction, alteration or repair. She also stated that it is the job of the Code Enforcement Officer to determine the use being reviewed. Mr. Straub stated that he didn’t think this was incidental to construction at all and that if there are hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of material that has to leave the site then it’s not incidental to construction. He stated that if Joe Rousselle didn’t think this qualified as extraction then they needed to have a discussion with him. He stated that he was sure there was commercial value to the rock being excavated. Mr. Patten stated that he wished there was, but it absolutely was not.
Mr. Straub asked if there was any consideration through the DEP process or otherwise of the effect of this on hydrology and wetlands of what’s upstream. Mr. Harmon stated that it’s all part of the DEP review. Mr. Straub asked if the dewatering and its effect on resources uphill had been considered. Mr. Harmon stated that it didn’t appear there was any dewatering going on here. Mr. Straub asked if there were borings or wells that went down 60’. Mr. Harmon stated there was a well 600’ deep. Mr. Straub asked if the 60’ cut would dewater the land above. Mr. Harmon stated that a hydro-geological analysis had not been done.
Ms. Demers asked what dewatering was. Mr. Straub stated that when an earth or rock cut is made and the water table is encountered on the way down there is potential to drain the soils uphill of that. If the face encounters the water table then it will allow the water below to drain out thus affecting water resources uphill.
Mr. Straub asked when the DEP permit would be ready. Mr. Harmon stated that it won’t be at least until the first or second week of January.
The Board scheduled the site walk for Wednesday, December 22nd at 7:30 AM.
Ms. Demers stated that she was unclear about what’s already been done on the site. Mr. Harmon showed Ms. Demers what had already been developed. Mr. Patten added that everything that’s been done so far was permissible and that the Code Enforcement Officer and every State agency has been involved in the process.
Ms. Demers stated that she had some concerns about the noise, etc. associated with the blasting and excavating of the site and how the Board would apply those standards. Mr. Harmon stated that there was never any doubt that the site would be excavated to this extent and that materials excavated would be sold and hauled offsite, but stated that he would address these issues in the next submission. He stated that he would do his best to come back with updated plans for the January 5th or 19th meeting.
Review amendments and discuss Council comments amendments to Chapters 140 and 121 concerning private roads –Draft #3
Mr. Straub explained that the Planning Board met with the Council and the Council had a completely different solution to the private road issue than the Planning Board and that was a commitment to accept a road with 75% build out. He stated that they also wanted Jon St. Pierre to review the ordinance too. Ms. Demers stated that they wanted to be required to accept the road with a 75% build out.
Mr. Straub stated that the Council also wanted to leave in the existing private road standards, take out the driveway standards, and require a 75% build out. Ms. Pelletier stated that she would rewrite the ordinance to reflect the Council suggestions.
Mr. Straub stated that there was still an issue with this though and that was if a person constructing a subdivision builds six out of ten lots then they are technically in violation of the ordinance. He stated that the ordinance would have to include some language to exempt a subdivision in-progress. The Board agreed.
Review amendments to and discuss Council comments on Chapters 140 (Zoning) and 121 (Subdivision of Land) to increase the number of plans required for site plan and subdivision submissions.
Mr. Straub stated that the Council was agreeable to this change.
Review amendments to and schedule public hearing for Chapter 140 (Zoning) to require a progress schedule of construction for all major site plan applications. – Draft #3.
Mr. Straub stated that the Council was in agreement with this change as well but had several small amendments including adding that a schedule of construction and demolition be added.
Ms. Pelletier stated that they also requested requiring an existing conditions plans for site plans as well.
Review Council comments on the adjustment of zoning district boundaries in the area of Drury Lane and Academy Street, as well as a portion of Agamenticus Road.
Mr. Stirling stated that the Council made one small change to the zoning district boundaries but were otherwise agreeable to the change. He stated that the map would need to be updated and resubmitted to the them. Ms. Pelletier stated that she would take care of that.
Discuss Council comments on low impact development standards.
Mr. Stirling stated that the Council also gave the green light on moving forward with the Low Impact Development standards too though they seemed somewhat noncommittal.
Mr. Straub suggested packaging up all of the other changes first before starting on this. The Board agreed.
Ms. Pelletier suggested starting off with a basic ordinance which lets people understand and digest a new idea like this slowly. She stated that some towns give a list of low impact ideas and require that two or three or four of the items be incorporated into the design. She also stated that the public education piece of the Stormwater Phase II program might be a good platform to discuss this new idea. She explained that Eliot, Kittery, South Berwick and Berwick work together on this aspect of the permit and hold annual stakeholder meetings where people from targeted neighborhoods are invited to hear about various ways to prevent stormwater pollution, etc.
Motion by Ms. Demers, second by Mr. Straub to adjourn the regular meeting. The meeting was adjourned without objection at 8:30 PM.
Attested by:________________________________ Date:_____