Proposed Webster Road subdivision questioned

By Carol Casey

The sketch plan for a proposed eight lot residential subdivision south of 1140 Webster Rd. was an issue of contention at the Development Review Board’s (DRB) meeting on June 20. Both Dominic Grasso and Pamela Leob, owners of adjacent properties appeared in person, posing questions about the subdivision’s impact on water quality due to likely increased use of fertilizers and pesticides, noise apt to be generated in the subdivision, and the lay out and density of the planned homes. These concerns were echoed in written comments submitted by James and Gloria Slauterbeck, the owners of adjacent property on Old Stage Lane. DRB Chair David Conard raised the issues of lack of connectivity since the subdivision is a cul-de-sac and the absence of pedestrian walkways in the sketch plan. He also questioned why the entrance to the subdivision was not sited directly opposite Boulder Hill Drive. Planning Commission member Kate Lalley noted that this area had been designated as a growth area in the town plan and that this level of density was permitted. However, she too expressed concern about the lack of connectivity, and called for creative design in determining the building envelopes and architectural plans for the proposed homes. The subdivision’s impact on Munroe Brook which runs through the southern part of the development and any planned public access to this area was questioned as well. In the end, the DRB scheduled a site visit to the property for July 18 at 6 pm and continued consideration of the sketch plan to their next meeting.

Immediately prior to this meeting, DRB members took a personal look at the two proposed alternative building envelopes on Jerry Fisher’s lot on Northern Heights Drive to ascertain whether a variance for the required front yard setback would be justified, and determine which building envelope would have the least negative impact. Chair Conard reported that the town’s attorney had found the “reasonable use” standard did, in fact, mean the ability to build a single family dwelling on a lot, and that the septic system currently in place would be considered a secondary use. After due consideration, the DRB approved use of the northernmost building envelope with the conditions that the planned driveway be repositioned to the southwest side of the building, exiting in the general direction of the boundary line between the Kingsland and Bartiou properties across the street, and that more evergreen trees be planted to fill the gap along the edge of Northern Heights Drive in front of the Bartiou property. The DRB also approved a boundary line adjustment between two vacant lots owned by Fisher on Northern Heights Drive, due to a discrepancy between the plat on file and a recent survey of the land. This will be the subject of a public hearing on July 18.

The DRB also approved sign designs for “Food for Thought,” the new bakery and cafe scheduled to open shortly next to The Bearded Frog at the Shelburne Inn.

The next meeting of the Development Review Board will be held on Wednesday, July 17 at 7 pm in the Municipal Center.

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