Plans for Rice Lumber redevelopment questioned

By Carol Casey
Members of the Development Review Board (DRB) grilled Patrick O’Brien, the developer involved in the redesign and subdivision of the Rice Lumber property on Shelburne Road, at their meeting on May 16 during their consideration of his preliminary plan application. The staff had identified more than two dozen areas in which the plan was lacking sufficient information for approval. These included traffic circulation, pedestrian and bicyclist safety and access, parking, visual impact, landscaping, lighting, building materials, boundary lines between lots, building envelopes, and impact on wildlife habitats. O’Brien did distribute additional materials and visual aids at the meeting, but questions remained. Pam Brangan and Barbara Johnson, both members of the Natural Resources and Conservation Committee (NRCC), expressed concern that placing buildings close to the ridge line would interfere with wildlife habitats. At the suggestion of DRB Manager John Adams, O’Brien agreed to obtain and submit expert testimony on this topic. An open space agreement is also required as well as further review by the NRCC of proposals for the preservation of forested and natural areas as they evolve.
Fritz Horton, Chair of the Historic Preservation and Design Review Commission (HP&DRC), volunteered the services of the HP&DRC in making recommendations and offering feedback on the design of the proposed new buildings, including landscaping, lighting, visual impact, materials to be used, and related issues. O’Brien accepted the offer and plans to meet with the Commission on May 24. The DRB also specifically requested a “raze and remediate” plan that would include the schedule for the demolition of existing buildings and the construction of new buildings, as well as proposed interim landscaping. The application will be revised and updated to address the issues raised in the report on the preliminary plan application and in the discussion at the meeting and is likely to be on the agenda at the DRB’s next meeting.
The DRB approved a conditional use application for what will essentially be a rebuild of a single family residence owned by Donald and Cheryl Appe at 4279 Harbor Road. While a large portion of the existing home’s footprint will be used, most of the newly built residence will be further back from the lakeshore setback line than the present home.
The next meeting of the DRB will be held on Wednesday, June 6 at 7 pm in the Shelburne Municipal Center.

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