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Planning Board Minutes 04/11/2012
Planning Board, Middleton, MA
April 11, 2012

The Middleton Planning Board met at a regularly scheduled meeting on April 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, Acting Clerk Leah Moreschi and members Robert Aldenberg, and David Leary.

Others present: Richard Bienvenue, Building Commissioner, Robert LaBossiere, DPW Director and Karen Matsubara, Recording Secretary

Chairperson Lindberg called the meeting to order at 7:33 PM in the meeting area outside the Media Center.  Board member Aldenberg was in a meeting of the Master Plan Committee being held in the Media Center.

Minutes-January 25, 2012 Planning Board meeting

MOTION: Made by David Leary to accept the minutes as written.  Motion seconded by Leah Moreschi.  Vote 3-1 in favor, motion carried.

Public Hearing-Definitive Subdivision-East Meadow Farm-122 East Street & Gould Road, Map 13, Lots 101 & 102 and a portion of Map 13, Lots 72 & 100-East Meadow LLC (continued from 3/14/12)
Chairperson Lindberg stated that a request for a continuance had been received from the petitioner.  Acting Clerk Leah Moreschi read the letter dated 4/10/2012 (letter on file).

MOTION: Made by David Leary to continue the public hearing for East Meadow Farm to the May 9, 2012 Planning Board meeting.  Motion seconded by Leah Moreschi.  Vote 3-0 in favor, motion carried.

Pheasant Ridge Subdivision-Covenant Signing
Chairperson Lindberg stated that she had reviewed the covenant.  It was confirmed that the existing two-family dwellings would be converted back to single-family dwellings to comply with the dimensional regulations.

MOTION: Made by Leah Moreschi to approve the signing of the covenant for Pheasant Ridge Road.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 3-0 in favor, motion carried.

The meeting was moved into the Media Center for the advertised public hearing and member Robert Aldenberg joined the meeting.

Chairperson Lindberg called the public hearing to order at 7:45 pm.

Acting Clerk Leah Moreschi read the legal notice and confirmed that the notices were sent via certified mail.

Article #7-Amend Zoning Bylaw-8.1 Flooodplain Overlay District
Ms. Lindberg explained that FEMA has redone the flood maps across the country and provided them to the Town for adoption to update the Zoning Bylaw.  If the Town did not adopt the updated maps the residents would not be eligible to purchase flood insurance through FEMA.

Paul Richardson asked what properties were on the maps.

Ms. Lindberg replied that the maps were available to the public at the Town Clerk’s office.  The Board has the panel numbers but did not know exactly which properties were involved.

Mr. Leary added that the Planning Board was only making a recommendation for the bylaw amendment and that it was up to Town Meeting to vote on the amendment.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that the Master Plan Committee had just met on this issue.  No one has overlaid the maps to determine what the exact changes are and he was not prepared to vote on the recommendation this evening.

Ms. Lindberg explained that FEMA started the process of redoing the maps three years ago.  The Town was provided with preliminary maps and given the opportunity to review them and make recommendations.  The time for review has passed; the maps now need to be adopted so that people that are in the floodplain can get flood insurance.

Town Administrator Ira Singer explained that the Master Plan Committee had little information regarding the new floodplain verses the old floodplain.  The Master Plan Committee was hoping that the Conservation Commission could give more factual information through the Conservation Agent Judith Schmitz to the Master Plan Committee, the Planning Board and to Town Meeting in terms of an overview of the difference between the old and new floodplains.  They may also be able to put the information onto the Town website.

Mr. LaBossiere commented that there was very little change in the flood maps.  He added that Pike Messenger had spoken with FEMA several times about enlarging the floodplain area to include Thunderbridge Lane but FEMA refused to include the area.

Ms. Lindberg stated that what really drove the change to the maps was the rise in sea level.  A lot of the coastal communities were seeing flood damage in the areas where it had never occurred before; the more inland towns are less affected and therefore do not have much change in their floodplains.

Mr. Singer cautioned that if the key elected officials don’t have a good sense on how the maps have changed prior to Town Meeting the residents may be reluctant to vote for the amendment.

Chairperson Lindberg stated that the Planning Board would hold another public hearing prior to Town Meeting to give a recommendation on Article #7.

Article #8-Amend Zoning Bylaw 9.5.1-Site Plan Review
Chairperson Lindberg read the article and explained that the proposed change would add language to the bylaw to require special permit, variance, and use variance petitions to the Board of Appeals to also obtain site plan approval.

Mr. Bienvenue explained that the intention was to require site plan approval for all commercial petitions.

Mr. Aldenberg commented that the bylaw had always required site plan approval and now petitioners are coming in seeking use variances without site plan approval.

Mr. Bienvenue stated that this addition of language was intended to prevent that from occurring.

Mr. Singer added that during the Master Plan Committee meeting they had discussed amending the article to add language allowing the Board of appeals the option of waiving the site plan approval.  The article can be amended on the floor at Town Meeting.

The recommendation for Article #8 was also tabled until the next Planning Board meeting to be scheduled prior to Town Meeting.

Article #28-Purchase 18.7 acre parcel located at 121 East Street, Map 14, Lot 28C to be used for agricultural, open space, passive and limited recreation purposes.
Mr. Singer explained that this article was reviewed for the Special Town Meeting last fall but was removed.  Since that time the Town has received a formal appraisal for the property.  The Land Acquisition Committee, a sub-committee of the Master Plan Committee, is going to recommend the amount of the appraisal price of $100,000.00 for the property.  Covenants will restrict the use of the land for passive recreation and active agricultural uses.

Ms. Lindberg stated that she has reviewed the proposal as a Selectman and a member of the Preservation Committee and has said all along that she was not in favor of purchasing property for $100,000 that cannot be used as anything other than a vista.  She felt that nothing would be built there regardless of whether or not it was owned by the Town.

Mr. Singer stated that there was a similar situation with Masi Meadows.  There was no covenant or requirement that the land be farmed and hayed and now it is overgrown.  With the East Street land the covenant will be built in so that it will be maintained if acquired by the Town.

MOTION Made by Robert Aldenberg to give a positive recommendation for Article #28.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 3-1 against, motion failed.  Article #28 was not recommended.

Article #29-Appoint a Rails to Trails Committee and authorize it to study the feasibility of creating a non-motorized pedestrian hiking trail within the former right-of-way of the Essex Railway.

MOTION: Made by David Leary to give a positive recommendation for Article #29.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.  Article #29 was recommended.

Article #30-Accept Warren Drive as a Town Street
Mr. LaBossiere explained that the two catch basins within the Smith Farm Estates subdivision had been lowered and the surrounding asphalt shaved down as was directed by the engineer of the direct abutter Arizzi to correct the run-off that had been bypassing the basins.  Mr. LaBossiere had also met with Mr. Evans and the developer to go over the drainage issue on Peabody Street which is unrelated to the subdivision.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to give a positive recommendation for Article #30.  Motion seconded by Leah Moreschi.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.  Article #30 was recommended.

Article #31-Accept Ross Lane as a Town Street
Chairperson Lindberg explained that the street is part of the same subdivision as Warren Drive and had the same issues with drainage which had prevented the street from being accepted previously.  DPW Superintendent LaBossiere has stated that the corrections have been made for the drainage.

MOTION: Made by David Leary to give a positive recommendation for Article #31.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.  Article #31 was recommended.

Article #37-Adopt the Land Acquisition Procedures as a General Bylaw as responsibilities of the Master Plan Committee.
Mr. Singer explained that this article is a housekeeping issue.  It is already a part of the code but not prominently placed where it could be found in the General code.  It has been in place for twelve (12) years but not codified.  There will be no changes to the wording.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to give a positive recommendation for Article #37.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.  Article #37 was recommended.

Chairperson Lindberg called for a motion to continue the public hearing for the zoning amendments.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to continue the public hearing to May 2, 2012 at 7:30 pm.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.

Other Business-
Mr. Aldenberg requested that Mr. Singer add the light at Boston Street to the discussion with the State, citing that it is very difficult for people heading west on Route 114 to turn onto Boston Street because there is not light delay.

Mr. Singer stated that he would discuss the request but explained that any change in the light sequence affects all the traffic in the area.

Discussion of Thunderbridge Lane paving (continued from March 14, 2012)
Mr. Trodella was unable to have the plan prepared in time for the meeting.

Chairperson Lindberg continued the Thunderbridge discussion to the next regularly scheduled Planning Board meeting on May 9, 2012.

MOTION: Made by Robert Aldenberg to adjourn.  Motion seconded by David Leary.  Meeting adjourned at 8:40 pm.