Workforce Housing Project Obtains Multiple Waivers

Wallace Farm, the Perkins Road project that will bring 240 rental units in 10 buildings – 50 percent of them as workforce rentals – received an adjustment to the property line to honor requests from the public at previous meetings to move a building toward the back of the property, away from Perkins Road. The project is not low-income housing.

The Planning Board accepted a request for a sight line waiver for acceptance purposes only, as staff had recommended.

John Trottier, Assistant Director of Public Works and Engineering, said the sightline plans will still be required for the existing driveways.

“With the waiver granted, staff would recommend acceptance of the plan,” Trottier said. The board voted unanimously to accept the plan as complete.

When the board accepted the plan as complete, Attorney Jay Leonard could proceed with his request on behalf of developer Tom Monihan for the change in lot line.

The developer also requested 11 additional waivers.

Leonard noted the project has two lots, which together equal 43 acres. “The proposal is to reconfigure the lot line in order to accommodate the site plan development proposal and to accommodate one that will be coming down in the future,” Leonard said.

Leonard said the site plan under consideration at the May 7 meeting was for the workforce housing project. A future plan is for elderly housing.

Leonard said that about a year and a half ago they went before the board with the conceptual design and there was interest in having the buildings set further back away from Perkins Road.

“The primary purpose of the plan before you is to accommodate that goal,” Leonard said.

The lot line presented is a serpentine line that starts out a third of the way south of the north property line and travels east to a point halfway into the property, then turns right and heads south for approximately another third of the way, then jogs east again to the eastern edge of the property.

Board member Jim Butler said a house on the property was to be vacated by the Wallace family and may have some historical articles, with salvage opportunities possible. Monihan said the town was welcome to look into it and retrieve anything historical before the building was razed. He agreed to have an historical marker placed at the site.

“It’s all yours,” Monihan said.

Board member Lynn Wiles asked if there was a conceptual layout on how the development would look with the new lot line, and Town Planner Cynthia May referred him to the site plan.

“The concern I have is that it looks like in the second half of the development, the line pushes those buildings to the front of Perkins Road,” he said.

He said he would like to look at those plans before he votes.

“We don’t have the conceptual plans for lot one. We acknowledge your concern but lot one is less dense than lot three. We haven’t really decided if it will be multi-family at this stage,” Leonard said.

Monihan said that they have made a commitment to have units set back so it’ll be less dense and the setbacks would be very similar.

Resident Mike Speltz said his concern was that buildings would be too close to Interstate 93.

The board voted unanimously to grant the lot line adjustment.

Trottier said the developer had three unmet checklist items: absence of utility clearance letters, no off-site improvement plans, and no updated traffic report.

Because of those items’ absence, Trottier said staff did not recommend acceptance of the plan as complete

Leonard said the site would be serviced by public water and sewer and will have electricity and gas.

“I believe we have letters on the electricity. These are the kinds of things you know you’re going to get and it kind of got lost in the shuffle,” he said.

The board approved the acceptance unanimously.

Leonard then asked for 12 waivers, with the first a waiver from impact fees. May said, however, that impact fees were not being collected so there was no need for a waiver.

The remaining 11 waivers were: a 24-foot road versus a 28-foot road, vertical curb on one side of the road where the sidewalk will be and a sloped curb on the other; a 25 mile-per-hour speed limit on the road; a four-way 83-degree intersection at Vista Ridge instead of 90 degrees; a horizontal curve at the intersection; sight distance of 365 feet at the intersection with Perkins Road and 280 feet on the internal road; slopes on the sides of the road at 5.5 degrees on the road at the middle of the property and 8 degrees to the south; phasing with temporary cul-de-sacs during construction; embankments near the buffer and wetland area where a steeper slope is needed; and 1 inch to equal 100 feet on the plan instead of equaling 40 feet.

Butler asked if fire equipment would be able to access the cul-de-sacs and Leonard said they would.

May said staff was in support of the waiver requests with the exception of the one regarding phasing.

“Once you get to the last phase, they are already going to be building the road, and staff feels to have the buildings be occupied, that road should be completed,” May said.

The board voted unanimously to approve all waivers except the one seeking phasing.

The board also discussed traffic at the intersection of Perkins Road and Route 28, where the plan does not allow a left turn.

Traffic engineer Rob Woodland said putting in a no left turn raised traffic island would prevent accidents that occur when motorists try to turn left out of Perkins Road across several lanes of traffic.

“This area has had 26 accidents in the last three-year period,” Woodland said.

The plan is to have motorists use Vista Ridge to turn left at a signalized intersection and have all traffic leaving Perkins Road be right turn only.

Trottier said Stantec, one of the town’s third party reviewers, was “on board with it.”

Andre Betit, Senior Transportation/Traffic Engineer, was in the audience and Butler asked him his opinion. Betit said he was in agreement with the no left turn at the intersection of Perkins Road and Route 28.

Board member John Laferriere said it was a great design but he had concerns about pedestrians crossing in front of vehicles.

Woodland said that they would look at the pedestrian issue again.

Trottier suggested the matter be continued to the June 11 meeting and the board voted unanimously for the continuance.

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