Snow Fields is Back to the Drawing Board

On June 18, the Mattapoisett Planning Board and engineer David Davignon debated, discussed, dissected, and, in the end, sent the proposed Snow Field Road two-lot subdivision back to the drawing board.

The issue for Davignon, representing Dennis Arsenault, was the current inertia of the project. He needs a plan that, in theory, is acceptable to the Planning Board before the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection appeal lodged by abutters can proceed.

Davignon said that, without some sort of guidance from the Planning Board on one of several design concepts he has presented over several hearings, The DEP would not proceed.

The applicant has to demonstrate a willingness to develop plans that decrease the impact on wetlands. With the ball now clearly in their court, the Planning Board struggled, but eventually achieved enough thought cohesion to give Davignon what he needed to move forward.

Another significant issue for the applicant: waivers.

The board reviewed the waivers Davignon deemed necessary — eliminating sidewalks, slopes, cul-de-sacs either removed or added depending on Fire Department review, and the addition of a bump-out along one side of the lengthy proposed common driveway to allow a car to pass.

Chairman Tom Tucker made it clear to the group of abutters in attendance that the board was not approving the project.

“Just because we are talking about this doesn’t mean its being approved,” said Tucker. He explained that there would be many more hearings and documentation, including a peer review report, before the Planning Board would be at a point to take a vote. The focus on this night was to give Davignon guidance so he could develop another plan for DEP and Planning Board review.

Resident Brad Hathaway once again spoke out about the pending State Ethics Commission ruling regarding allegations against Mike King, chairman of the Conservation Commission, regarding this project.

“Why are we talking about this when we don’t know what’s going on with the Ethics Commission?” Hathaway continued, “Why don’t we wait … It isn’t fair to the town and the people in the town,” he asserted. Hathaway then launched into his concerns about another project the Planning Board discussed informally at the previous meeting for property located on Chapel Road. Tucker explained town counsel’s opinion that the Planning Board had the latitude to review the project as either a Form A division of lots, or a special residential district (SRD).

Hathaway refrained from further comment.

The hearing was continued until July 2.

Also coming before the board was Scott Snow to informally discuss a subdivision and driveway project off Prospect Road. Snow wanted the Planning Board to not only provide him with guidance regarding the possibility of conserving two stately oak trees threatened if driveway or roadway plans had to meet standard widths, he wanted the board members to help create a design.

“I’m seeking the board’s help … [with] maybe a waiver to keep the roadway at 11.6 inches, possibly with a voluntary protective covenant to maintain the roadway,” Snow wondered aloud.

Tucker explained that whether the project included a private common driveway or a private roadway, the 11.6-inch width wouldn’t be acceptable.

Tucker suggested Snow engage an engineer to help think through design options.

Snow asked, “You can’t tell us?” he continued, “I’d like the Planning Board to help plan.” Tucker responded, “The only advice I can give you is to get an engineer, a good plan — we’ll vote on it, deny it, then you can go to the [Zoning] Board of Appeals.”

Snow retorted, “I think the board should know enough to tell us what to do.”

Board members Janice Robbins and Tucker both told Snow that “we are not engineers” and he would be better served by trained professionals rather than by the board’s attempts.

“We’ve given you our best advice,” said Tucker. The board members did, however, give every consideration to the conceptual subdivision before again asserting that engaging an engineer would be Snow’s best solution.

Earlier in the meeting, engineer Brian Grady discussed the homeowners’ covenant and surety agreement for the Appaloosa Lane subdivision. After reviewing necessary edits and changes to the covenant and review of the amount of the surety offered — $5,000 — it was suggested that Highway Superintendent Barry Denham review the financials of the surety that will be put in place for the roadway completion. The hearing was continued until July 2.

The next meeting of the Mattapoisett Planning Board is scheduled for July 2 at 7:00 pm in the town hall conference room.

Mattapoisett Planning Board

By Marilou Newell


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