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Planning Board Minutes 01/11/2012
Planning Board, Middleton, MA
January 11, 2012

The Middleton Planning Board met at a regularly scheduled meeting on January 11, 2012
at the Fuller Meadow School,143 South Main Street, Middleton, Massachusetts at 7:30 PM.

The following board members were in attendance: Chairperson Christine Lindberg, Clerk Beverly Popielski, and members Robert Aldenberg, David Leary Leah Moreschi.

Others present: Karen Matsubara, Recording Secretary

Chairperson Lindberg called the meeting to order at 7:31 PM.

Minutes-November 9, 2011 & December 14, 2011

MOTION: Made by Beverly Popielski to approve the minutes of November 9, 2011 as written.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Leah Moreschi to approve the minutes of December 14, 2011 as written.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.  Beverly Popielski abstained from the vote as she was not present at the meeting.

ZBA Recommendation-Use Variance & Site Plan Approval-70 Maple Street, Map 25, Lot 202-Marie, Oreste & Joel Magliozzi
Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the applicants.  Oreste and Marie Magliozzi have owned the home at 70 Maple Street for approximately 35 years.  Their son Joel owns two other funeral homes in Andover & Medford; photos of those homes are included in filing package.  A recommendation is being sought for a use variance to convert the existing home into a funeral home located in an R1-a residential zoning district.  The home is directly adjacent to the Congregational Church and diagonally across from the Oakdale Cemetery.  The petition was presented to the ICDRC.  The ICDRC asked that the petitioner get approval on the use variance first, and then go back to ICDRC & Planning Board for site plan approval recommendations.

Chair Lindberg stated that the Zoning Enforcement Officer and Town Counsel had recommended that the use variance & site plan approval be heard together.

Attorney Mann did not feel that Town Counsel had issued a proper opinion because in the use variance you don’t have the right to go before the ICDRC for the site plan until the use is approved.

Mr. Aldenberg expressed concern that the opinions of the Zoning Officer and Town Counsel were being disregarded.

Attorney Mann argued that it was unusual for a use variance and site plan to be heard together.  The petition was filed for both use variance and site plan approval.  A new plan has been done incorporating changes requested at an abutters meeting.  Those changes include a U-shaped drive which was also the preferred design of the police department.  The only change at the front of the property will be the addition of two planting beds.
A row of evergreens and some maples are proposed along the side.  The goal is to maintain the residential look of the property.  All parking will be located behind the home.  A portico will be added to the side entrance.  There will be a bypass lane to go around the portico to the parking lot in the rear.  Attorney Mann reviewed the interior of the home.  The first floor will contain a visiting and sitting room; the second floor will be for the funeral directors living area.  There will be 50 parking spaces and a fence will be added at the rear of the property.  Currently funeral homes are only allowed in the M1 & B zoning districts.  A carved wooden sign with granite posts is proposed.  Lights with shields are proposed for the parking area.

Beverly Popielski asked if the state had approved the funeral home.

Attorney Mann explained that an approved location is required prior to approval through the state.

Robert Aldenberg commented that years ago there was a funeral home located on North Main Street.  He has dealt with funeral directors from other communities and they hold Joel Magliozzi in high regard; he is a top notch director.  Mr. Aldenberg feels that the location is perfect for a funeral home and was in favor of giving the petition a positive recommendation.

Leah Moreschi felt it would be an asset to the Town.

Chris Lindberg expressed concern over use variances in general because the Town is zoned for specific uses in specific areas of Town.  In this case she felt that the property was good for the use proposed because of its proximity to the cemetery and the church as well as the set up of the property, and was in favor of the proposal.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that the Zoning Bylaws give the Zoning Board the ability to grant use variances.  The bylaw has been there for a number of years and use variances have been granted on a limited basis.

Attorney Mann added that precedential value is not set with the granting of use variances.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to give a positive recommendation to the petition for a use variance for the property located at 70 Maple Street, Map 25, Lot 202.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 4-1 in favor, motion carried.  Beverly Popielski voted against.

The petitioner will return to the Board for a site plan recommendation after approval of the use variance.

Definitive Subdivision Approval & Review of Waivers-77 South Main Street-Pheasant Ridge Subdivision, Map 25, Lots 57, 58, 58B & 58C-Yvonne McAuley
The Planning Board Secretary informed the Board that the subdivision mylars were still being prepared and would be delivered to the Planning Board office when ready.

Chairperson Lindberg reviewed the project.  The subdivision was presented to the Planning Board in 2009 and was not approved because of the location of the proposed subdivision roadway and its proximity to the entrance to Orchard Circle.  The plans are not being changed, the Board has been ordered by Land Court to sign the plan.

David Leary stated that they were subject to a 21 day appeal period.

Chairperson Lindberg replied that Town Counsel advised her that the plan was to be signed by order of the court.  Town Counsel also advised that it did not have to be put on the agenda but for full disclosure she felt the Board should acknowledge what happened, and what was said in the court order from the judge.  The developer has to comply with the waivers which were voted on that are part of the record and will be part of the plans.  Once the Board is able to determine that the mylar is the same plan that was presented to the Board it will be signed.  Town Counsel also suggested that the Board adopt changes to the Rules & Regulations Section 9H to include private roads that service multi-family or multi-unit private developments so that this situation will not occur again in the future.  The changes are not required to go to Town Meeting for approval.  The changes can be discussed at the next Planning Board hearing.

Public Hearing (contined)-Definitive Subdivision-70R East Street, Map 14, Lots 12 & 13-Olde Boxford Estates LLC
Attorney McCann appeared on behalf of the petitioner.  Erik Heyland of Engineering Alliance was also present at the meeting.  At the December meeting a review of the changes that had been made to the plan was presented.  At that time a letter was submitted to the Board from DK Engineering dated December 14, 2011 indicating that all of his issues had been addressed.  A letter from DPW Superintendent LaBossiere dated December 14, 2011 is also on file indicating his satisfaction from the Town’s prospective with regard to the subdivision.  The plan has been reviewed in great detail and all issues have been discussed except for one that had come up at the last meeting.  Pike Messenger along with several members of the Stream Team had discussed the open space area designated on the plan as lot 16.  The developer had intended to maintain the lot as open space but the ownership was going to be retained in a homeowners association as opposed to public ownership.  The Stream Team preferred that the open space lot be held by a public entity.  The project went to the Conservation Commission on January 3, 2012.  Since the last meeting the open space lot has been enlarged to 121, 903 sq.ft.  The addition was partly due to the Stream Team’s request and by adding additional area they were able to capture virtually all of the slope area.  An Order of Conditions was issued for the project.  Lot 16 will be conveyed to the Town under the care and control of the Conservation Commission.

In response to Ms. Popielski’s concern over the loss of taxes because of the ownership of lot 16, Chairperson Lindberg stated that when you compare the amount of taxes generated for that lot under private ownership or public ownership, the public benefit far outweighs the taxes that would be assessed.  Chairperson Lindberg thought the only other issue was the amount for the sidewalk fund.

Attorney McCann replied that Mr. LaBossiere had made a recommendation to the Board that he would set the figure based upon the cost per linear feet.  In response to a question regarding the connection to the adjoining property, Attorney McCann stated that the right-of-way area would be part of the subdivision roadway that would be granted to the Town.  The Town would get the fee once the roadway is accepted.

Chairperson Lindberg expressed concern that the abutting property could be developed first and would not have access to the connection if was not built out.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that the connection would be part of the subdivision plan approved and signed by the Planning Board and when the other subdivision is approved they have a connection on their plan as well; they will have to connect as part of the approved subdivisions, they don’t have a choice.

Attorney McCann suggested that in the interim period between the signing of the plan and acceptance of the roadway an easement can be granted to the Town over the right-of-way.  Once the road is accepted the easement will be extinguished.

Mr. Aldenberg pointed out that there was someone in the audience that wished to be heard.

Catherine Maidment of 64 East Street asked that the Board reconsider the connection to the 7 acre parcel.  She explained that the parcel is in a trust overseen by herself and her brother.  The property is landlocked and does not have any frontage on East Street as was presented to the Board.  It is a vacant parcel.  Her home is located on the front one acre parcel which has frontage on East Street.  There are two different parcels.

Chairperson Lindberg stated that the Board was told otherwise.  It was represented that the parcel had a home on it and frontage on East Street.

Mr. Aldenberg reiterated that he had talked about this since day one and does not understand why this adjoining parcel cannot be accommodated with a connection.

Attorney McCann stated that during the preliminary subdivision hearings there was nothing raised about connections to any of the abutting parcels.  They then proceeded to the definitive where the connections were requested and a connection was made to the JCC property.  Now they have been through three or four discussions in the definitive stage and they have proceeded with not providing access to the other abutting seven acre property.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that because of this connection issue, his vote will not be for approval of the subdivision.

Chairperson Lindberg asked if there was anything that precluded the Maidments from joining the two parcels in the future.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that several years ago a plan was submitted for the property to develop four or five lots which was denied by the Planning Board because of the location of the home on the front parcel.

Attorney McCann retorted that not wanting to join the parcels is not an impediment, it is not like there is some sort of topographical element to prevent joining them.

Mr. Aldenberg felt that the connection to the seven acre parcel could be made from the proposed subdivision without losing any parcels.

Ms. Popielski pointed out that there could be a problem with wetlands in the area between lots 10 and 11.

Attorney McCann stated that she had not looked at the title for parcels 9 & 9A and asked how they were created.  She commented that at one of the first meetings there was a gentleman present that identified himself as the owner of the seven acre parcel but did not bring up anything about the property being separate lots.

Ms. Popielski commented that she was surprised that the access to the seven acre parcel had not been provided; she wasn’t at the last meeting and did not know what had changed.

Mr. Aldenberg added that when this process first started he had made it very clear that all the subdivisions that are being proposed for this area were going to be connected to each other.  There is a potential for the development of close to 100 houses in this area along East Street.

Attorney McCann agreed that Mr. Aldenberg had said that since day one and that a connection had been provided for the JCC property which caused the roadway width to be enlarged to accommodate a larger flow of traffic.  At the last meeting it was agreed that the connection would not be made to the seven acre parcel.

Chairperson Lindberg replied that the Board had made that decision based on the representation that the seven acre parcel was one parcel that was built upon and had frontage on East Street.

Attorney McCann again asked how the lots were created and if the owner had created their own landlocked situation pointing out that when you see 9 & 9A on an assessor’s map it usually means that they were one parcel at one time.

Mr. Aldenberg suggested that the petitioner go back to see if the connection issue could be worked out.

Attorney McCann stated that the hearing had gotten beyond frustrating, having gone through a preliminary where connections were not requested and the other meetings where the JCC property connection was agreed upon.  At this point it makes sense to continue the hearing.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to continue the hearing to a specially scheduled meeting on January 25, 2012.  Motion seconded by Beverly Popielski.  Vote 5-0 in favor, motion carried.

Other Business-
Robert Aldenberg announced that he would not be seeking re-election for the Planning Board.  His term expires this spring.

MOTION: Made by David Leary to adjourn.  Vote all in favor, meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm.