New Duplex Stalls at Planning with Sewage Concerns

A potential new set of duplexes by Café Teresa hit a snag during the Nov. 1 Planning Board meeting. The applicant, DHB Homes, applied for a condition use permit to proceed with design and planning for 12 unit multi-family home project. George Chadwick of Bedford Design went before the board to explain why his project met the conditions for the conditional use permit. He said that the buildings would fit in well with the pre-existing duplexes to the south and east, and the senior housing to the north of the site.

Chadwick talked about the benefits of the site, saying there would be little traffic impact, as most of the cars tracked during the traffic study turned right off of Horizon Road onto Route 102 East. He also said the town could get up to $142,472 of “expected revenue of a project of this size.” Since there are already duplexes in the area, the proposed site would maintain the “character of the district.” Chadwick also said the existing infrastructure is “adequately sized” to host a project of that size.

While that sounds enticing, there was one problem the board had- the sewer system. Assistant Public Works Director John Trottier P.E. said the development needs sewer because there is no current municipal sewer system in that area. The Sewer Division had concerns about the existing private sewer system and whether it would be able to support the new development.

“We’re questioning what’s happening with that pipe,” said Trottier. According to him, the pipe had subsided, meaning enough dirt weighed down on it and possibly caused it to bend, which could lead to an interruption of flow. He suggested the board wait to find out what is going on with the sewer system before allowing the development to build.

Chadwick said a study was done, but he does not know when the report would be available. He said he believes “the line is in good working condition.” He asked the board for the approval of the conditional use permit so he can go ahead with the design of the project while they wait for the results of the report come back.

Planning Board Alternative Peter Commerford was not convinced. “But it all hangs on that sewer line, basically. I think before we can vote on that, we need to know what happened to the sewer line.”

Chadwick informed the board that the “project could go septic” if the sewer line does not work out. The design of the development would be altered to reflect that change. However, Town Planner Colleen Mailloux said the development did not totally fulfill the conditions of the conditional use permit because of the sewer concerns.

The board agreed to continue discussing the project at its meeting on Dec. 13.

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