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|ZBA Gets Public Input on Delano Farms Plan|
|Written by Administrator|
|Wednesday, 11 April 2001 12:49|
A controversial proposal to build a 55-unit complex of mostly condominiums, including some affordable housing, will be back next month for another public hearing after a team of town officials and a Boston consulting group meet to review it.
About 75 people, many of them neighboring homeowners, showed up last Wednesday before the Zoning Board of Appeals to discuss the plans for development of 32.8 acres off of Cordwood Path.
Traffic was one of the main topics atÂ the hearing, which was held at the Duxbury Middle School.
Delanoâ€™s Farm â€“ a $15.7 million residential development -- would consist of 12 single- family homes and 43 townhouses, 14 of which would be offered as affordable housing to qualified buyers. The revised plan discussed at the March 28 hearing reduced the total units from 56 to 55, eliminating one of the 13 proposed single-family homes, to accommodate a new storm water management plan, according to Designer Dan Orwig of Orwig Associates.
Richard MacDonald, the director of inspectional services, told the board that the townâ€™s Development Review Team would be meeting with a Boston consulting group, BSC, to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the developmentâ€™s impact on the town.
MacDonald said the analysis would include an engineering review of the road into the new housing development â€“ off of Cordwood Path -- site conditions, the proposed sewage treatment plant for the homes, open space and the effect on the ground water quality. The team also would project how the addition of 55 homes at the site would affect traffic, utilities, water supply, fire protection and drainage.
The Development Review Team, consisting of department heads including the police and fire chiefs, expects the consulting firmâ€™s results by April 23, according to MacDonald. The team will then prepare recommendations to be aired at another public hearing set for May 23.
William Carlson, a principal of Carlson Consulting Associates, Traffic Engineers and Planners, was hired by developer Old Cord Realty Trust, to project how many cars the housing development would add to the Cordwood Path and Jeremiah Drive neighborhood. Carlson said it would not be enough to cause traffic congestion or make the roads unsafe.
Carlson said the new homes would add 25, one-way trips in the morning, 30 in the peak evening hours and a total of 326 trips a day. But even if that number doubled, traffic at the Temple Street intersection with Cordwood Path would still score the highest rating, reflecting little delay, he said.
Carlson did recommend stop signs at the Jeremiah Drive approach to Cordwood Path and at the intersection of Cordwood Path and Temple Street, regardless of whether the development is constructed.
Suzzanne Mahoney of Cordwood Path said several school buses are added to the traffic during peak morning hours. There are lots of school children to consider when introducing additional cars to the neighborhood, she said.
Gerald Bray, also of Cordwood Path, said,Â â€œWhen we have a snowstorm and we have a snow bank in a 20-foot wide road, children walking to the school bus have to walk within Cordwood Path.â€
Jon Witten, an attorney representing the Cordwood-Jeremiah Neighborhood Association, challenged the traffic study results noting Carlson was not a professional engineer. He also objected to the study using elderly housing as one criterion for the number of car trips generated by the development â€“ emphasizing no elderly housing is proposed there. Carlson said upgrading elderly housing numbers to the number of cars generated by town house owners would not increase the traffic flow enough to change the results.
Orwig and the developerâ€™s attorney, Peter Freeman, described some plan revisions for the board members. Orwig, the projectâ€™s landscape architect, said 14 new courtyards were designed as the setting for 28 town homes. He said the courtyards would shield the view of garage doors and parked cars.
â€œYou would come into a little courtyard and into each garage, so you are not looking at a line of garage doors,â€ Orwig said. The courtyards would feature cobblestone entrances and be landscaped with hedges, he added.
Sixteen of the units, including some single-family homes, would have walk out basement capability, he said. And, the single-family homes will have four different designs.
â€œIt is better to have a little bit of diversity,â€ according to Orwig. â€œWashington Street is beautiful because it has some diversity. We donâ€™t want this to look like some project.â€
In January, attorneys representing Old Cord Realty Trust filed a 40B Comprehensive Permit request with the ZBA. They proposed constructing the mix of standard and affordable, cluster three-bedroom condominium units.
There would be 14 affordable units, priced between $110,000 and $120,000, and the others would be sold at the market value of about $375,000.
An invitation to the public to visit the site and hear about the plans last Saturday was postponed for poor weather and muddy conditions, and rescheduled for May 19.
The South Shore Housing and Development Corp. endorses the residential development, citing a need for affordable homes in Duxbury. The organization has helped develop affordable housing throughout the South Shore and the cape through the comprehensive permit process.
The stateâ€™s Chapter 40B â€œanti snobâ€ zoning statute was designed to increase the number of affordable homes in towns, like Duxbury, that fall below the stateâ€™s recommended level of 10 percent. Duxbury rates about 3.5 percent .
Under Chapter 40B, if the town does not meet the 10 percent state threshold, developers can seek a comprehensive permit that allows them to bypass local ordinances. If the project sets aside a certain percentage of units for low and moderate income families, the law allows for waivers from local land use regulations often permitting builders to construct more homes on the property than the zoning would normally allow.
Witten told the ZBA they should request the application be withdrawn because the developers are â€œseeking scores of waivers from wetlands and zoning regulations with no justification.â€
â€œWe have no information on the wetlands impact or the impact of the wastewater treatment plant,â€ Witten said of his clients, who live adjacent to the site, the Cordwood-Jeremiah Neighborhood Assn.
The proposed development lies within the townâ€™s aquifer protection overlay zone of contribution. Opponents have also expressed concerns about runoff from the 55-home subdivision onto adjacent wetlands.
The proponents have submitted plans for a state of the art sewage treatment facility that would be operated on the site and service all the units.
Michael Okola, president of the neighborhood association, said the landowners had â€œthreatenedâ€ the abutters â€œif you donâ€™t help us with a plan for a subdivision, we will build a 40B... â€œ
Okala was referring to past unsuccessful bids by Old Cord Realty Trust â€“ including property owners Martin and Nora Delano and developer Robert White â€“ to construct a residential subdivision.
Developers ran into an obstacle at the access road of Old Cordwood Path, a dirt road, which neighbors say is a private road but developers argue has been in existence as a public way for more than 200 years. The issue is in land courts.Â The townâ€™s land use boards have said the access off of the Cordwood Path cul de sac violates existing zoning bylaws.
The proposed housing would be developed through the New England Fund Program of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston which provides 25 percent of the units (14) be sold to households whose annual incomes do not exceed 80 percent of the annual income for Plymouth County.