WELLESLEY PLANNING BOARD
REGULAR MEETING AND PUBLIC HEARING
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 13, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
GREAT HALL - TOWN HALL
Present: Mr. Frisardi, Ms. Donahue, Mr. Chan, Mr. Meade, Mr. Chazen ……………………………………………...……………….……Ms. Conlon, Mr. Brown.
Ann Wessel Murier, Andre Fatell, Sheila Boyle, David Conwey, Linda Buffum, Kien Ho, Joan Schubert, Bill Kent, Morse Klubock, Dick Campana, Rob Dickie, Tom Fanning, Holly Grace, Jennifer Conley, Dave Conway, Hans Larsen, Katherine Babson, Ken Baer, Ben Chirco.
1. Unaccepted Street Review - 22 Oakencroft Road - Mr. Chirco
Mr. Chan indicated that he is a nearby resident on this street and will not participate in the discussion or vote on this matter.
The Board acknowledged receipt of a cost estimate of work from the Engineering Division in the amount of $6,420. The Board asked Mr. Chirco whether he had seen the cost estimate and whether he had any comment. He did not. Subsequently the Board moved, seconded and voted 3-0-1 to find that this portion of Oakencroft Road will be an adequate way based on the work identified by the Engineering Division and established the bond at $6,420.
2. Wellesley Motor Inn Project - Inclusionary Zoning Request
The Board considered a request submitted by Wellesley Realty Associates/Dean Behrend to establish a required number of Assisted Units in conjunction with a mixed use project consisting of approximately 20,000 square feet of new retail and office space and conversion of an existing building to provide14 residential condominium units.
The Board received a staff report indicating the required number of units be set at 3.28 for the project. The applicant intends to provide all of the units on site.
After a brief discussion the Board moved, seconded and voted to establish the number of units at 4. A letter will be drafted to the Housing Development Corporation conveying this action.
The Minutes of January 23, 2007; January 25, 2007 and February 6, 2007 were approved as amended.
4. PSI-06-01 Wellesley Inn Public Hearing
576 Washington Street and 53 Grove Street
PSI Special Permit and Inclusionary Zoning Special Permit
Inclusionary Zoning Special Permit
Mr. Frisardi opened and introduced the two special permit hearings and provided background on the "restart" of the PSI hearing and the need for modification of the Inclusionary Zoning Special Permit. He indicated that the Inclusionary Zoning hearing would be considered first.
Mr. Dickie introduced himself and the other members of the Wellesley Inn Team, Holly Grace and Tom Fanning of Jones, Lange LaSalle; Peter Tamm of Goulston and Storrs; Jennifer Conley of Conley Associates; and Dave Conway of Nitche Engineering. He presented the recent history of the project. He explained that the number of market rate units was changed from 18 to 19 and the retail space was reduced from approximately 13,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.
Mr. Frisardi explained that although the number of market rate units is proposed to be increased the agreed upon number of affordable units being provided will remain unchanged. The six units offered by the applicant are still in excess of the number required.
Mr. Chazen asked about the timing of completion of the affordable units. The response was that they must be completed prior to occupancy of the Inn project itself.
Mr. Klubock asked if the cottage on the site would be torn down. The response was that it would be renovated for two of the affordable units.
There being no further comments on the Inclusionary Zoning portion of the project the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to close the Public Hearing. The Board subsequently moved, seconded and voted unanimously to approve the modification of the Inclusionary Zoning Special Permit to reflect the increase in the market rate units from 18 to 19 and the decrease in the retail component from approximately 13,000 square feet to 9,000 square feet.
PSI Special Permit
Mr. Frisardi opened this portion of the public hearing. He explained the purposes and procedures of PSI and explained the major elements of the "Memorandum of Agreement" dated February 12, 2007 between the applicant and the Town acting through the Board of Selectmen.
Mr. Chazen noted that the applicant has agreed to improve pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the project. He felt that the careful attention should be devoted to pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the garage exit on Grove Street.
It was noted that reports have been received from all of the PSI review departments, MLP, Fire, DPW and Selectmen.
Ms. Donahue noted that the project changes result in a less intensive use. She said that she believes that are three open issues: traffic and pedestrian safety, storm drainage, and elimination of the requirement for grease traps which were originally required for the restaurants which are no longer part of the project.
The Board is in receipt of a memo dated February 8, 2007 from the Town Engineer indicating no objection to the elimination of the grease traps based on the elimination of the restaurants.
Mr. Chazen said that he has no objection to the elimination of the grease traps.
Mr. Chan said that there are outstanding concerns regarding roof drainage, proximity of the underground drainage system to the underground garage, and the drainage for the front patio area (Washington Street side).
Mr. Brown said that he had spoken to Mr. Fader within the past two days and feels that these elements have been addressed by the applicant's engineer. He said that Mr. Fader he has no further concerns. Ms. Donahue felt that the written record needs to be complete.
Mr. Ho, BETA Associates, (Town's Traffic Engineering Consultant) was called upon to give an update on the traffic and pedestrian safety elements. He began by acknowledging the changes in the project proposal. He mentioned the number of off street parking spaces proposed. He said that project changes reduce the parking demand by 60 vehicles. The traffic generation is reduced commensurately. He said parking in the Square can be improved by changes in parking management. Tailby parking lot, which is primarily a train commuter lot, is underutilized and Cameron Street lot is at capacity with many train commuters choosing to use the lot because of pricing differentials. He said that more metered parking can be created along Grove Street. He mentioned the "Loop System" to be installed in conjunction with the Linden Square
development. He noted that this will improve traffic flow at the Grove Street intersection which will benefit the Wellesley Inn project. He mentioned sight line improvement needed at the garage entrance on Grove Street. This may involve removal of one or more parking spaces at this location. He recommended that an electronic warning device be installed to provide an advance visual notice of traffic exiting the garage for pedestrians at this location. He said that with the proposed PSI mitigation measures and the elements in the signed "Memorandum of Agreement" BETA is comfortable with the current project.
There was some discussion of truck deliveries to the project and whether these should be at the Grove Street or the Washington Street frontage. Trash pickup was also discussed. Mr. Dickie said this would be done on the Grove Street side. Large trucks will not be able to enter the garage. He said that containers will be wheeled to the garage entrance to be picked up. Responding to a question Mr. Fanning said that there will be a central holding area for the trash from the condominiums.
There was discussion of pedestrian safety and the recommendation for a "neck down" curb extension on the Washington Street frontage. The applicant has assented to funding this installation.
Mr. Chan asked about any change in traffic Level of Service. Mr. Ho confirmed that there will be no loss of Level of Service.
Ms. Donahue asked about the use of the "surplus" spaces in the garage. The response was that they will be for visitors of the condominium residents and there will be 1 or 2 spaces reserved for employees (maintenance/management) of the condominiums.
Mr. Meade asked about possible improvements to Spring Street. There was discussion of the upcoming project for the "Taylor Block." It was felt that improvements to Spring Street on the northerly (Taylor Block) side would not be warranted. The condition of the sidewalk on the southerly side of spring street was mentioned. Mr. Chan felt that this sidewalk should be improved. Mr. Tamm commented that the Memorandum of Agreement provides a sum of money to be used for items like this. Mr. Frisardi did not agree with this interpretation.
Ms. Boyle indicated that she lives at 594 Washington Street and is concerned about impact on her sewer service which overflows from time to time. It was noted that the Inn project will not discharge to the Washington Street sewer. She felt that the a loading zone for the businesses to be on Washington Street will not work. She does not want double parking. It was explained that the loading zone on Washington Street does not contemplate double parking.
Ms. Seegel indicated that she lives at 65 Grove Street (Wellesley Green). She expressed concern about the parking situation. She said that parking spaces set aside for visitors to Wellesley Green are taken by tradesmen (plumbers etc. working at Wellesley Green).
Mr. Kent indicated that he lives at 75 Grove Street (Wellesley Green). He asked the location of the new garage entrance. The response was that it would be very close to the location of the former garage but it would be wider, a two way access whereas the former was one way.
Mr. Chazen inquired as to whether there would be any food service on the Grove Street frontage. The response was that there may be a coffee shop. He felt it to be important to limit the size of this use.
Mr. Frisardi indicated the he wished to return to discussion of storm drainage.
Mr. Conway from Nitche Engineering gave an overview of the system. He indicated that historically the Wellesley Inn site has been almost fully impervious (94.2%). He said the project will triple the amount of landscaped area. He said that the initial comments on storm water drainage from the Engineering Division mentioned the runoff from the 592 Washington Street property. He indicated that this runoff has been taken into account in the most recent calculations. With respect to storm water quality he noted that there is no treatment now but post-construction will implement treatment via BMP's.
There being no further comments the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to close the public hearing.
After some discussion the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to grant the PSI special permit subject inclusion of the Memorandum of Agreement and the following conditions:
That the applicant shall negotiate with the Board of Selectmen to eliminate parking space(s) on Grove Street as needed and replace these with multi-use spaces on the Washington Street frontage with the intent to also provide a loading zone at certain hours;
That and food service use be limited to a maximum of 2,500 square feet of floor space and that it be restricted to primarily on-site consumption of food or beverages; and
That an electronic flashing "blank out" sign be installed at the garage entrance/exit. The hardware and location to be subject to approval by the Town Engineer and Town Traffic Engineering Consultant.
Ms. Donahue noted that every effort should be made to implement pedestrian improvements cited in the Memorandum of Agreement such as the "neck downs" at the Washington Street frontage subject to final design and approval by the Town Engineer and the Town's Traffic Engineering Consultant and that the Town should budget for sidewalk improvements and repairs. She noted that the decision should cite the reasons for the "restart" in that there were two Planning Board member resignations.
A redraft of the special permit decision will be prepared and circulated to the Board for editing and ultimately endorsement and filing with the Town Clerk.
Next Meeting: February 20, 2007
Meeting Adjourned: 10:45 p.m.