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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 05/09/2013
Zoning Board of Appeals
Middleton, MA
May 9, 2013

The Middleton Zoning Board of Appeals met at a specially scheduled meeting
on May 9, 2013 at the Fuller Meadow School,
143 South Main Street, Middleton, Massachusetts at 7:00 PM.

The following board members were in attendance:
Chairperson, Barbara Piselli, Clerk, Anne Cote, and members, Craig Hartwell James Fox, Jeff Garber and Robert Aldenberg

Others present:
Richard Bienvenue, Building Commissioner and Karen Matsubara, Recording Secretary

Chairperson Barbara Piselli called the meeting to order at 7:11 p.m.

244 Maple Street, Map 19, Lot 147-Torre Street Realty LLC-Site Plan Approval (continue from 4/25/13)
Chairperson Piselli announced the voting members for the petition would be Robert Aldenberg, Craig Hartwell, Anne Cote, Jeff Garber and Barbara Piselli with James Fox as the alternate.

She also confirmed that she, Anne Cote and James Fox had reviewed the recording and minutes of the last hearing per the Mullin Rule and have submitted signed affidavits.  Chairperson Piselli confirmed that Terese Lundberg was present at the hearing and would be making a statement to the Board in lieu of reading the correspondence submitted to the Board prior to the hearing.

Clerk Anne Cote read correspondence from the Middleton Conservation Commission.  (Letter on file.)

Attorney Jill Mann appeared on behalf of the petitioners.  She explained that the petition had been presented to the Board last month and that, as requested, a supplemental traffic study was done and a report indicating that the traffic increase from the expansion of the Essex Aggie will not impact the safety with the addition of the daycare was provided.  With regard to the concern over the commercial nature of the structure, Attorney Mann presented examples of other daycare centers in other Towns that have a commercial style building.  The drainage system was reviewed by the DPW Superintendent who felt that the proposal would improve the onsite drainage.

Pat MacLeod of 15 East Street expressed concern over water affecting her property and the future use of the property if the proposed business fails.

Joe Nicotera, representing LaFauci Realty Group, the owner of the lot on the corner of Maple and East Streets, stated that it is the intention of the owner to build a dental practice on the site next year and there are concerns over additional traffic flow.

Helen Gage of 13 East Street stated that her property has been flooded by everything in the area and did not feel that the water on the subject property would be taken care of.  She also expressed concern over the future use of the property.

Walter MacLeod of 15 East Street stated that he also had concerns over the water.  He gave an example of the traffic he encountered a few days prior when he walked to the Hawthorne Post Office; the traffic was backed up from the intersection of East Street all the way to the jail and in the other direction all the way to the square at 4:30 in the afternoon.  He did not feel that the community could handle the increased traffic.

Dennis O’Brien of 9 Gregory Street stated his concern over the change from residential to commercial.  He also expressed concern over increased traffic.

Chairperson Piselli explained that the zoning of the lot is not changing; daycare centers are allowed in residential districts.  In the event that the daycare closes, other commercial uses would not be allowed.

Cheryl Dyment of 9 Gregory Street stated that her biggest concern was the increase in traffic.  Her road is being used as a cut-through at the intersection now.  She also questioned the need for a second daycare in the area.

Terese Lundberg, property owner of 287 & 289 Maple Street, expressed her concerns which included traffic, safety issues for emergency vehicles, excessive curb cuts for the area, and the impact on the residential neighborhood.  She felt the intent of the zoning act for daycare centers did not envision corporate daycares, but rather small home daycares.  Ms. Lundberg also commented that there is available commercial property for sale and for lease on North and South Main Streets.

Gino Leone of 250R Maple Street explained that he is a direct abutter to the property.  He is opposed to the daycare.  He has concerns over trees being cut down and issues with water; currently he has 4”-5” of water in his basement.

John Quadros of 274 Maple Street also expressed concern over traffic and was in agreement with other comments about the intent of the zoning act and available commercial properties.

Pat MacLeod of 15 East Street readdressed the commercial aspect of the property.  A couple of years ago there was an attempt to rezone the area to commercial; she felt that allowing this commercial building to be constructed will be going down a “slippery slope.”

Craig Hartwell and Richard Bienvenue both explained that in order for the property to be rezoned it would have to be passed at Town Meeting.

Jeff Garber commented that a use variance could be granted for the property and wouldn’t have to go to Town Meeting.

Betsey Hardwick of 250 Maple Street stated that the traffic is a main concern.  There are no turning lanes in the area for the established businesses.  She explained that when she tries to pull into her driveway she often backs up traffic through the intersection down to Farmer Brown’s.  The driveway stakes are not placed properly; they were told that the distance would be 50’ from center of drive to center of drive.  The daycare driveway should be 6’ closer to the intersection.  Some of the nuisances in the area now include emptying of dumpsters, deliveries and late night noise from the patrons of China Villa.  Concerns relating to the daycare include arrival & departure of staff before and after stated hours of operation, the possibility of Saturday operations, cleaning staff, septic pumping, and the effects on property values.  Photographic evidence from April 30, May 1 & 2 between the hours of 3:30 and 4:00 pm of traffic backups was presented to the Board.

Mr. Aldenberg stated that under Section 3.2 of the zoning bylaw, lines 4 & 5 under accessory uses and structures, it specifically states that “Family day care, large and small” are allowed as accessory uses in the residential district; there is no primary residential use proposed for the lot.  He felt that this provision of the bylaw should supersede the State statute.

Attorney Mann disagreed with Mr. Aldenberg’s interpretation.

Chairperson Piselli asked Attorney Mann to speak directly to the concerns expressed by the abutters.

Attorney Mann reviewed the storm water management plan for the property; the water is being taken forward toward Maple Street.  The back portion of the lot will remain in its natural state and no trees will be taken down at the rear of the property.

Mr. Hartwell asked if there was anything that could be done to improve the water affecting the abutting properties.

Site Engineer Chris Sparages reviewed the storm water management in further detail.  Some of the watershed that went backwards will now go toward Maple Street.  In addition, there is a swale to prevent water from going onto Mrs. Gage’s property.  In response to a question from Mr. Hartwell, Mr. Sparages agreed that the swale/berm could be extended to provide additional protection for the East Street properties.  Mr. Sparages explained the on-site changes in elevation.

Ms. Hardwick expressed concern over the raised elevation at the front next to her gravel driveway.  The driveway washes out now; she fears that with the increased elevation the water flow will increase onto her driveway.

Mr. Sparages pointed out the swale and small grass strip at the right side of the parking lot to direct run-off from the adjacent property.  There are also a number of plantings to alleviate run-off.

Ms. Hardwick questioned the requirement of the grass strip being 10’ wide.

Attorney Mann stated that appropriate and adequate screening is provided.

Anne Cote commented that the clapboard siding option would be preferable and will make the building look less institutional.  She asked to see a colored rendering of the facility in clapboard.

Althea Lundberg of 287 Maple Street spoke to the water issues in the area and commented that the land across the street is a swamp with conservation land behind.

Mr. MacLeod felt that the filling of the isolated wetland would have an adverse effect on his property relating to water.

Ms. Piselli stated her concern about the change in elevation impacting the Hardwick’s property.

Mr. Sparages explained that Mr. Zeraschi has offered to build a retaining wall along the property line so that no water will flow onto the Hardwick’s driveway.

The Hardwicks felt this would create a barrier to the natural flow of the water that comes down the hill and crosses their driveway.

Attorney Mann addressed the traffic concerns.  She explained that the traffic engineer had analyzed the impact of the Essex Aggie expansion and found that there would be no substantial or negative impact on the traffic.

Ms. Piselli asked if there was a set pick up time that parents will be charged for every minute that they are late picking up their children.

The owner of the Goddard School replied that they have never charged a parent for being late.

Mr. Sobel, traffic engineer, reviewed his findings in further detail.  In regard to restricting the exit to being right turn only, Mr. Sobel did not feel that left turns would pose any safety issues and the traffic light cycles allow for gaps in the traffic to be able to exit safely.  The driveway location is proposed to be in the safest location due to its distance from the intersection.

In response to Mr. Hartwell’s suggestion of another option to alleviate the runoff onto the Hardwick’s property, Mr. Sparages proposed installing a pipe to allow the runoff from the driveway to be directed into the drainage system on 244 Maple Street.

Ms. Piselli was concerned with issues raised by the abutters and suggested that Attorney Mann hold a meeting with the abutters to discuss and possibly mediate their concerns prior to the next hearing.

Chairperson Piselli called a five minute recess; back on record at 9:18 pm.

Attorney Mann stated that she would have Mr. LaBossiere review the plans to ensure that no problems with water would be created on the abutting property and agreed to set up a meeting with the abutters.

MOTION: Made by Jeff Garber for the Board to conduct a full site walk.  Motion seconded by Anne Cote.  Vote 3-2 in favor, motion carried.  Site walk set for May 19, 2013 @ 10:00 am.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to continue the hearing to the next scheduled meeting to be held on May 30, 2013 at 7:00 pm.  Motion seconded by Barbara Piselli.  Vote 4-0 in favor, motion carried.

Minutes-March 28, 2013
MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to accept the minutes of March 28, 2013 as written.  Motion seconded by Robert Aldenberg.  Vote unanimously in favor, motion carried.

MOTION: Made by Craig Hartwell to adjourn.  Meeting adjourned at 9:33 pm.