Proposed two-home development brings neighbors to DRB meeting

By Carol Casey

Several residents of Chesapeake Drive attended the Dec. 18 Development Review Board (DRB) meeting to express concerns about a proposed two-home development on Webster Road and Chesapeake Drive. Property owner David Billado filed a Sketch Plan Application to create a three-lot residential subdivision. One lot contains his single-family dwelling on Webster Road. One proposed lot would be adjacent to his home on the northwest; the other would be accessed via Chesapeake Drive. All discussion centered on the Chesapeake Drive lot. Geoff Strawbridge, an abutting neighbor, expressed concern about the environmental impact of building a home so close to the LaPlatte River and whether the site met the “buildable lot” criteria. Another neighbor, Rob Bellezza, reported that 14 children live on Chesapeake Drive and more traffic would have a negative impact on their safety. Diane Rooney, also an abutting owner, added that the lot currently serves as a noise buffer for Route 7 traffic and that buffer would be lost if a number of trees were cut down. Similar concerns were cited by other Chesapeake Drive residents. Gail Albert, chair of the Natural Resources Committee, recommended that the DRB make a site visit and that the Lake Chaplain Trust, the owners of the boat launch area adjacent to the proposed lot, be notified about the application. She also wanted assurances that endangered species, wetland areas, and habitats would be protected, and that sufficient erosion control measures would be adopted during the construction process. Bernie Barone, the likely builder, stated that they would both be single-story, single-family residences of approximately 1,800 to 2,000 square feet and will be in keeping with the neighborhood. The Chesapeake Drive home would be built on top of the hill and trees would be kept to maintain privacy. Billado plans to sell all three lots to Barone and move elsewhere. After discussion, the DRB voted to classify the property as a minor subdivision, and asked Billado to file an updated site plan that included a topographical map identifying steep slopes, wetlands, the buildable area, the building envelopes, and the location of the proposed curb cut on Chesapeake Drive. A site visit is likely to be scheduled after the site plan is filed and reviewed.

In other matters, the DRB:

  • Approved a façade sign for the Rustic Roots Café at 195 Falls Road.
  • Continued the application for modifying the existing Rustic Roots sign in front of the building until the property owner or applicant could be present to answer questions and perhaps submit an amended application.
  • Heard an appeal of a Notice of Violation issued to Andrew Richardson for constructing a garage at 107 Maple Leaf Lane without a zoning permit and within the 15-foot side yard setback. Mark Hall, an attorney for Richardson, argued Richardson relied in good faith on a tax map showing the property line and believed it to be accurate at the time the garage was expanded.  Shannon Blake, the neighbor whose property is encroached upon by the garage, had presented a certified survey map showing that Richardson had built too close to the actual property line.  Hall stated that the DRB has no authority to resolve boundary line disputes and that Richardson would be going to court to resolve the issue.
  • Discussed with David Marshall the pending Sketch Plan Application for the Waldorf School. The original Sketch Plan application was considered and continued by the DRB at its Dec. 4 meeting. The site was originally approved as a PUD to accommodate multiple buildings, but most of them were never built.  The school would now like to seek Site Plan approval for the existing buildings and for adding a kindergarten as an accessory structure.

The DRB continued the application so that the original plan could be withdrawn and a Site Plan Application reflecting the new plans could be filed for their consideration.

The next DRB meeting will be held Wednesday, Jan. 15 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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