WELLESLEY PLANNING BOARD
MONDAY, DECEMBER 17, 2007, 7:30 p.m.
GREAT HALL - TOWN HALL
Present: Mr. Frisardi, Ms. Donahue, Mr. Chan, Mr. McCauley, Ms. Lehmann …… …… …… ………………………………………..………………………………….Mrs. Jop, Mr. Brown.
Angela Ruppe, Sanjeev Singh, R. A. Sohani, C. Joseph Grignaffini, Raymond J. DiLucci, Donald Lang, Ken Baer, Peter Fallon, Janie Batista, Bob Sechrest, Robert J. Buckley, Patricia S. Napier, Barry Mullaney, David Zaltas, Stanley Brooks, Johann van der Wal.
1. Continued Public Hearing
5 Washington Street - Request for Special Permit under the Lower Falls Village Commercial District - Ray DiLucci
This project represents a modification of the project approved by the Planning Board on December 11, 2001.The original project involved rehabilitation of the single-story building and addition of a second floor. The modification eliminates the proposed second floor. The remaining project is a rehabilitation of the interior and exterior of the building with provision of a handicap ramp and accessible toilets at the rear of the building.
Mr. Frisardi opened the hearing and invited Mr. DiLucci to present his project. Mr. Lange described the details of the project using plans mounted on foam core board and on display.
In discussion it was noted that the existing Floor Area Ratio (FAR) is 0.435 and that the proposed is 0.495.
Mr. Frisardi explained that the Lower Falls Village Commercial District allows an increase in FAR above the standard 0.30 up to 1.0 provided the Planning Board approves a special permit meeting the standards contained in the Zoning Bylaw.
Mr. Lang explained the off street parking plan indicating there will be 15 spaces and a van accessible space. He mentioned the expected uses to be contained in the building including a restaurant. Ms. Donahue asked how many seats. Mr. DiLucci said 100.
There was some discussion of the restaurant use and parking needs particularly around lunchtime. Mr. DiLucci said that much of the lunch time business is walk in from the area office buildings. He added that he expects to be able to lease parking from the 27 Mica Lane property.
There was discussion of compact car spaces being provided and the fact that the Town has eliminated compact car spaces because they are not realistic with today's larger vehicles. Mr. Frisardi suggested that the applicant consider eliminating the compact spaces even if one space would be lost. Mr. Lang felt that a truck loading bay at the rear could be modified or eliminated so that number of spaces could remain the same and all spaced could be standard size.
Mr. McCauley questioned the location of the proposed bike rack at the front of the building. He felt it might block the sidewalk and suggested it be located at the rear of the building. Mr. Lang felt it would not hinder the sidewalk. Other Board members felt it will have more visibility and use at the front.
There was discussion of the existing restroom facilities in the building. Mr. Lang noted that they all need to be upgraded, located on the first floor and accessible. Board members expressed concern about the amount of parking being made available.
Comments were invited from those in attendance. There were none.
The Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to close the public hearing.
Mr. Chan asked whether the restrooms could be added without expansion of the footprint. Mr. Lang said they could but that would affect the financial feasibility of the project. Mr. Chan said that he has reservations about approving the project. Mr. McCauley said that he shares Mr. Chan's concern. Ms. Donahue agreed. Ms. Lehmann agreed also but added that the façade renovation is a major improvement in the area.
Mr. Frisardi said that the zoning changes in Lower Falls were intended to encourage this type of building improvement.
After some further discussion the Board encouraged Mr. DiLucci to try to reduce traffic and parking demand by lease of spaces off site for use by employees and other traditional traffic demand management (TDM) techniques.
The Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to conditionally approve this special permit as applied for regarding 3-13 Washington Street in the Lower Falls Village Commercial District. This special permit will allow an increase in Floor Area Ratio from 0.435 to 0.495.
A decision will be drafted and circulated to the Planning Board members for signatures.
2. Polaris Subdivision - Request to Extend Covenant
The Board received a request from the developer, Sanjeev Singh, to extend the Covenant from December 31, 2007 until December 12, 2008. After a very brief discussion the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to extend the covenant until December 12, 2008.
3. Partridge Road - Unaccepted Street
The Board met with Mr. Van der Wal and his attorney Mr. Brooks concerning a request for a reduction in the bond and a request for an extension of the completion date. The request for the bond reduction is based on water and hydrant work already completed by the Town. The Board received a report from the engineering division noting that the cost estimate for work remaining to be done $46,082.05.
Mr. Brooks indicated that his client had attempted to have the street accepted by the Town but the street acceptance policy adopted by the Selectmen precluded that possibility. The policy for most dead end streets provides that the Town will not share the cost with the abutters.
After a brief discussion the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to reduce the bond to $46,000 and to extend the completion date from December 31, 2007 until December 31, 2008.
4. Plans Thought Not to Require Subdivision Approval
a. PBC-07-07 #848R and 866R Washington Street
The Board met with Robert Buckley from Beals and Thomas Associates to review this plan which represents a re-division of lots with no new building lots to be created. Board members had questions concerning lot configuration. Mr. Frisardi emphasized the narrow nature of an "Approval Not Required" certification and that if the Board took no action within 21 days the plan would automatically become effective by a Town Clerk certification.
After some further discussion the Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to endorse the plan as not requiring approval under the Subdivision Control Law.
b. PBC-07-08 #205 Cliff Road
The Board met with Patricia Napier representing the owner to review this plan which divides the property at #205 Cliff Road into two building lots each of which conforms to frontage and zoning requirements.
The Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to endorse the plan as not requiring approval under the Subdivision Control Law.
5. Continued Public Hearing on the Draft Large House Review (LHR) Regulations
Mr. Frisardi opened the hearing and took comments and questions from the floor.
Mr. Grignaffini asked whether abutters have a right of appeal. The response from the Board was in the affirmative and that that particular provision is written into the law.
Ms. Battista said, based on her recollection from Town Meeting, she wondered whether the Board was diverging from the adopted law and whether the regulations would need to be brought back to Town Meeting. Mr. Frisardi said that there could be no divergence from the adopted language and that the development of regulations is authorized by the Town Meeting vote its purpose being to establish the details of the LHR administration.
Ms. Battista said that it seems that the role of the Design Review Board has changed from that represented at Town Meeting. The Board indicated that this is not the case.
Mr. Fallon asked about the requirement for architect and landscape architect prepared plans. The Board noted that this is an item that could be waived under certain circumstances.
Mr. Sechrest asked if landscaping is to be reviewed. The response was that it will be. He suggested that the potential for finishing an attic be considered. He felt that there is not enough attention being devoted to drainage issues. The Board noted that the Town Engineer will review drainage. He felt that the corner clearance (sight distance) provision should be a review element.
Mr. McCauley expressed concern regarding the proposed 17' height threshold for two-story interior space. He felt it is too lenient and will undercut the intent of LHR in reducing bulk. After some discussion it was agreed that this language would be reexamined.
Mr. McCauley questioned that need for a Registry of Deeds filing. Mr. Frisardi explained why this is necessary.
Mr. Chan said the Regulations should state that the decision of the Planning Board be in writing.
Mr. Frisardi felt that since more discussion is needed and that the hour is late the Board should meet again. The Board moved, seconded and voted unanimously to continue the hearing until Thursday, December 27, 2007. The intention will be to review the final draft from Goody Clancy which will include the comments and suggestions to date, continue the hearing and adopt the LHR Regulations on the 27th.
Next Meeting: Monday, December 27, 2007
Meeting Adjourned: 11:00 p.m.
Richard H. Brown, Planning Director